Book Review

Mary, Queen of Scots Home Page

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the works available but merely a selection to suit every kind of reader, and focusing on different aspects of Mary's life. Click on the covers or links to purchase these items and get more information.
Queen of Scots "Queen of Scots" by Rosalind K Marshall

Published by HMSO

This academic version of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots is written by a member of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. This concise and extremely readable work provides the reader with a full account of the events which shaped the life of the Scottish monarch together with numerous illustrations. 207 pages

Mary of Guise "Mary of Guise" by Rosalind K Marshall

Published by William Collins Sons & Co Ltd

Another work by Ms Marshall which relates the tribulations of Mary's mother, Marie de Guise. Often hiding in the shadows of her daughter, her story is an essential read to understand the realm which Mary, Queen of Scots inherited, and throws light on Mary's own character. 266 pages

Dr Marshall has recently published a revised version of this book. Click here to read a full review.

John Knox "John Knox" by Rosalind K Marshall

Published by Birlinn Limited

Understanding Mary is also knowing her enemies, and this latest work by Rosalind Marshall is a perfect introduction to the man who led such a campaign of hatred against both Mary of Guise and her daughter Mary, Queen of Scots, as well as all Catholics. This book gives an objective and entertaining account of an otherwise very unattractive character. 218 pages

On the Trail of Mary, Queen of Scots "On the Trail of Mary Queen of Scots" by J. Keith Cheetham

Published by Luath Press

The most useful travelling book you will ever need when retracing Mary's steps in Scotland, England and France. Featuring handy location maps and comprehensive listings of all the sites visited by Mary, this book leads the researcher or traveller through the main events in Mary's turbulent life, highlighting the roles played by major castles as well as less well-known sites, some of them no longer in existence or now privately owned. 179 pages

"Darnley, A Life of Henry Stuart Lord Darnley Consort of Mary Queen of Scots" by Caroline Bingham

Published by Phoenix Giant

One of the rare books available on Darnley, this work offers a quite objective account of the infamous second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, with some interesting obscure facts. 210 pages

Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles "Mary, Queen of Scotland and The Isles" by Margaret George

Published by Pan Books

A very entertaining and informative novel for whoever enjoys reading and wishes to know Mary’s story in some depth. Margaret George weaves a string of historical facts into a moving and spell binding narrative. 869 pages

Bittersweet Within My Heart "Bittersweet Within My Heart" The Collected Poems of Mary, Queen of Scots by Robin Bell

Published by Pavilion Books Limited

A collection of poems written by Mary in their original French format together with an English translation on the opposite page. The poems are set into their background by interesting notes added by the translator and editor. An indispensable collectable.

A Wee Guide to Mary, Queen of Scots "A Wee Guide to Mary, Queen of Scots" by Joyce Miller

Published by Goblinshead

A very useful pocket-size travel companion in the Wee Guide series. Containing family trees, illustrations and maps, Mary's story is told concisely yet in sufficient details. The reader will have a very good idea of the events surrounding her life with a minimum of effort. Also lists all the places where Mary was in France, Scotland and England with details of opening hours, telephone numbers etc. 88 pages.

A Wee Guide to the Castles and Mansions of 	Scotland "A Wee Guide to the Castles and Mansions of Scotland" by Martin Coventry

Published by Goblinshead

While not technically a book on Mary, Queen of Scots, this pocket size work from the Wee Guide collection is a wonderful companion to the lover of ancient Scottish architecture. It lists 147 castles and mansions throughout Scotland with a short description and history, as well as facilities and opening hours. Most of the sites associated with Mary are included, as well as other places of interest. 90 pages.

Royal Road to Fotheringhay "Royal Road to Fotheringhay" by Jean Plaidy

Published by Pan Books Ltd

An entertaining account of Mary's life up to the beginning of her imprisonment in Lochleven Castle suitable for a younger audience. A different approach to some aspects of her relationships is taken by the author. Sequel by the same author is "The Captive Queen of Scots" 416 pages.

The Fair Devil of Scotland "Mary Queen of Scots, The Fair Devil of Scotland" by Jean Plaidy

Published by Star Book

For those who want all the facts without getting bogged down in detail. Concise, complete and reads like a novel. Suitable for all ages. 228 pages.

Masque for a Queen "Masque for a Queen" by Moira Miller

Published by Methuen Children's Books Ltd

This short book covers the year during which Mary was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle. Although destined to be read by a younger audience, it is a quick and interesting read for anyone who intends to visit this impressive site. 126 pages.

Mary Queen of Scots "Mary Queen of Scots" by Antonia Fraser

Published by Arrow Books Limited

This book is an all-time winner. For those who are not well acquainted with the story of Mary, this excellent biography will offer the most objective and well-documented account of it. And for those who are already experts in the field, Antonia Fraser's work will reveal a wealth of detail transforming Mary from a distant historic figure to a fellow human being. Read this if it's the last book on the subject you will ever read! 667 pages.

The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots "The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots" by Margaret Swain

Published by Ruth Bean

A book for all those interested in textiles and clothing of the time. The author details the different materials that were used in dress-making, embroidery and decorating of the various castles Mary would have stayed in. Several illustrations of Mary's famous embroideries. 128 pages.

Two Queens in One Isle "Two Queens in One Isle" by Alison Plowden

Published by Sutton Publishing Limited

The author sails the tumultuous waters of Mary and Elizabeth's relationship and concisely and very readably highlights the main events which shaped it. Interesting new approach. 221 pages.

Mary Queen of Scots, Romance and Nation "Mary Queen of Scots, Romance and Nation" by Jayne Elizabeth Lewis

Published by Routledge

Something different for whoever is more interested in the legend of Mary Queen of Scots than the historical facts. The author analyses Mary's character as portrayed through the ages, from the Elizabethan to the Post-Modern periods. Would be quite fascinating if it was not for the fact that the heavily flowery and academic language used does not make this book an easy read. 232 pages.

The Kings and Queens of Scotland "The Kings and Queens of Scotland" by Nicholas Best

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

A very handy mini royal encyclopedia which introduces the reader to each Scottish/British monarch in just a few lines and beautiful illustrations. Find out the main events and characteristics of the people who ruled this nation from Duncan I in 1034 to Elizabeth II of today. 88 pages.

Mary Queen of Scots " Mary Queen of Scots" by Susan Watkins, photographs by Mark Fiennes

Published by Thames & Hudson

This is a brand new book which will delight the reader by the beauty of its illustrations. In particular, there is lavish representation of French châteaux which are usually by-passed in other works. 224 pages.

In My End is My Beginning: A Life of Mary Queen of 		Scots "In My End is My Beginning - A Life of Mary Queen of Scots" by James Mackay

Published by Mainstream Publishing

Another recently published book and one of my favourites. It is clear and concise but not to the detriment of detail. The tribulations of Mary Queen of Scots are exposed in a sharp and thorough style, visualising issues from a fresh and different angle. A first-class read. 320 pages.

Scotland under Mary Stuart - an account of everyday 	life "Scotland under Mary Stuart - an account of everyday life" by Madeleine Bingham

Published by George Allen & Unwin Ltd

A great book to get acquainted with the 16th century in Scotland. Conveniently split into chapters dealing with each aspect of life and society, this book will set the scene before you read about Mary, Queen of Scots or help to clarify a few points. Without background knowledge of the troubled times of that century, it is impossible to form a clear understanding of Mary's plight. Highly recommended. 258 pages.

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