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Written by Lucy Worsley
In her third historical novel for children, Lucy Worsley explores the young life of Mary Tudor.
Initially, Mary lives the life of a princess, close to her mother Catherine of Aragon, and much beloved by her father Henry VIII. But then her mother falls from favour and Henry courts Anne Boleyn, resulting in Catherine and Mary's dismissal from court. Once Henry and Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, is born, Mary's life becomes extremely difficult. She refuses to acknowledge her step-sister and is punished with cruelty and near starvation.
However, after Anne Boleyn's execution, the sisters return to court, Mary is accepted once again, and her place in the succession is confirmed. History has not been kind to Mary Tudor and it's refreshing to see Lucy Worsley present her more sympathetically, in this compelling story. The text reads easily with simple sentence structure but some more challenging vocabulary in places – a great combination for developing readers.
The complicated historical facts around Henry's successive divorces are not laboured, and instead we get a more personal story of a strong and thoughtful princess coping in very difficult times. This is a great read and a very human overview of a fascinating period of history.