Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mary Queen of Scots: Queen without a Country

Mary Queen of Scots: Queen without a Country

Kathryn Lasky
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic, 2002   ISBN: 978-0439194044

Made the queen of her country at just nine months of age, Mary Queen of Scots, now eleven years old, is living in the court of her future husband, with the French royal family. She tries very hard not to think too much about her future marriage as she prefers to see her betrothed, Francis, as a friend and not as a husband. Still, Mary cannot deny the role that she is playing in international politics, the alliance that her marriage will create between Scotland and France.

Though Mary has her "four Marys" to keep her company - all of whom came with her to France from Scotland - Mary the Queen still misses her mother terribly, wishing often that she could have someone to talk to and confide in. There is much to talk about for the internal politics and intrigues which run riot in the French court are often a reason for concern. Mary is not always sure who is to be trusted and at times feels like a "cuckoo bird in a very strange nest."

Through the words in her diary - her "paper heart" who alone can hear all her fears, concerns, and hopes - we come to understand how hard life is for this young girl who feels so alone at times. We can rejoice when she overthrows her enemies, and delight in the streak of rebelliousness which runs through her. Mary?s words reveal the false ?face? of the French court and exposes the foolish rules that she is expected to live by and accept. We come to know the principal characters who made an impression on the young queen and, finally, come to realize how little control this young woman has over her own life and destiny.

Kathryn Lasky once again has created a book which beautifully captures the personality of a very special historical figure, and which also paints an exceptional portrait of the times in which she lived

This is one of the excellent books in the "Royal Diaries" series.