Another entry in Carolyn Meyer’s “Young Royals” series, “Mary, Bloody Mary” shows the life of Mary Tudor through her own eyes, beginning when her father starts proceedings to divorce Mary’s mother, Catherine of Aragon, and ends with the execution of Anne Boleyn.
Mary’s life between these events is full of turmoil and misery. She was demoted from princess to basically a servant, and all from her own stubbornness in refusing to acknowledge her father’s marriage to her mother as invalid and accept herself as a bastard.
Unlike Elizabeth during her trying times in “Beware, Princess Elizabeth,” Mary is almost completely alone, dependent on herself and the letters from her mother, encouraging her not to give in to accepting having her title stripped from her.
During this time, Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn, who gives birth to the future Elizabeth I, then divorces Boleyn and has her killed. Mary becomes her half-sister’s caretaker and protector afterward, but the future of their rivalry is foreshadowed.
Mary’s story is full of pain, and it’s heartbreaking to read about losing her mother, as well as her father’s love. She was also treated so cruelly by her step-mother, yet Mary had a loving and almost motherly relationship with Elizabeth, which is hard to read knowing what is to come. “Mary, Bloody Mary” is a truly heart-wrenching story that is even difficult to read at times. Mary’s pain, anger, and loss are described so artfully and humanly that I feel her emotions with her every time I read this remarkable book.