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Book Reviews: Elizabeth & Mary + Heir To The Shadows

Elizabeth & Mary by Jane Dunn
This was a good dual biography of the cousins, rivals and queens for whom co-existence was impossible and whose intertwined lives only fed lethal resentment. Elizabeth I was cautious and insecure while her megalomaniac nihilist cousin Mary Queen of Scots was wilful, inept and loved to play the sainted victim. Their lives were bound together by blood, birth and ambition. Mary was insistent on her ‘right’ to Elizabeth’s throne which permanently poisoned all relations they had. Mary’s mad resolve and highly manipulative behaviour toward this end brought her fiery life to an end.

Elizabeth regarded marriage with a near psycho-pathological malady and regarded Mary’s various marriage irregularities and guileless narcissism with disingenuous resolve. In the end Elizabeth’s isolated whining stinginess won out over Mary’s near-diagnosable need to make bad choices. Despite centuries of romantic notions about Mary Queen of Scots, it is obvious her nonchalantly manipulative behaviour made her an object of suspicion from childhood and a study in failure.

Best Lines:
“Her swaggering, homicidal favourite.”

“Will never cease until such time as she has wrecked all the honest men of this realm.”

“Pestiferous faction.”

“By battle let us try it.”

“As if appropriating her throne and threatening her life was on a par with stealing the furnishings.”

“Compromise and obligation were alien concepts to a princess raised in the French court of Henri II.”

“Never one to pull his punches or choose a discreet word when a dozen rabble-rousing ones would do.”

“Chronically dour and cautious.”

“Impervious self-righteousness.”

“She ought to beware how she dallies with God.”

“Importune me no more.”

“There were increasing rumours of a great Spanish fleet in the making.”

Heir To The Shadows: Book 2 Of The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop
This bloated 1999 novel bores. Lucivar is incrementally stupid. Daemon goes mad because his family members are horrible awful people. Who are Kara and Roxie? Jaenelle grows to adulthood and does nothing. Why do mystical millennia old creatures speak like Valley Girls from the 80s? Why does Saetan keep calling Jaenelle the daughter of his soul? Why is everyone always crying, yapping or acting like they have neuro-degeneration? Unicorns get angry. Jaenelle finally decides to get off her ass and step up just as the novel ends. This is a ridiculous novel about evil floaty fashion bimbos, gross titillations, humid horror and harkens back to some idyllic pre-industrial past that never was. This has no folkloric feel just malignant action, impropriety and an ephemeral lack of conviction, conflict and animus. This reads like it was written by a dubious talent and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.

Best Line:
“To each will come what he gave.”
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review, reign, the tudors

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