Thursday, 13 March 2014

Scholastic Royal diaries series: Mary, Queen of Scots- Queen without a country by Kathryn Lasky - Review by Carlyn

The Scholastic Royal Diaries series is a book series that I absolutely love. It is a fictional diaries of real princesses and noble ladies from the history. Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) became a queen of Scotland when she was a week old. Her father King James V passed away and she was his only child. Mary was betrothed at four to Francis, the son King Henry 2. The diary begins when Mary is eleven where she is living in the French court.
Mary and her future husband Francis source

I feel that the book doesn’t have a strong story arc because of its diary format. It’s more about Mary’s everyday life.  Mary spends her days being educated on the classics, as well as hawking, hunting and riding. She also plays with the French princesses and her fiancĂ© Francis. Mary is not the only Scot in France; she has four Scottish ladies in waiting all named Mary. The Four Marys were from noble families chosen from a young age to serve Queen Mary.
Mary and her ladies in waiting in the tv show Reign. Source 

Kathryn Lasky depicts Mary as a mature child, who fully understands her role as queen. Mary is counselled on matters of state by her mother, who advises her on what to say, how to say it and what she should do through her letters to Mary. Mary is fully aware of the importance to treating politics seriously because she wants her counsellors to recognise her authority despite her young age.  I admired Mary’s leadership skills and her wanting to be a good leader. Whenever she was scared or nervous, her sense of duty made her rise to the occasion.
Thirteen year old Mary source

There are other notable people mentioned in the book such as Nostradamus and Catherine de Medici. Nostradamus was a seer who predicted many things that some people still take seriously today. In the book, Mary is annoyed by Catherine de Medici, the Queen of France. Catherine de Medici is depicted as ugly and cranky person. Mary resents Catherine for her sour attitude but feels that guilty about her unkind thoughts. She spends most of the book thinking about how she can treat the queen better.

There is one part of the book which may be inappropriate for younger readers. There’s a lecherous old man with grabby hands. The girls put a stop to it though and I guess it can encourage young people to have courage and speak up about molesters. Overall, I enjoyed reading about Mary, Queen of Scots. She had an interesting life; she grows up to become queen of two countries, marries twice, gets imprisoned and ..... well it doesn't end well for her. ...

As always I like to mention the other adaptions about Mary, Queen of Scots. I like experiencing different media and their take on subjects so that’s why I always like to mention them. There’s a new tv series which is loosely based on Mary called Reign. I heard that it’s scandalously entertaining and one of the actresses likens it to historical fan fiction.

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