Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens

Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens - Jane Dunn I read this book in three days! It was hard to put down once I got started and became hooked. Jane Dunn goes beneath the initial layers of these women to reveal just what made these girls tick, what they were really made of and what kept them going. Both were deeply religious, and one grew up with every benefit befitting her station, while Elizabeth was the underdog at first. Mary was used to using her charm to get what she wanted and when her short reign as Queen of France was over, she was ready and hungry for bigger and better things to come. When Elizabeth came to the throne, she knew the entire world was watching her, just waiting for her to make one mistake, in order to prove that men were really the only ones fit for running a kingdom. Elizabeth however, confounded them all. She ruled with a fair hand, and although she had to make decisions that were not only unpopular with her subjects but uneasy for herself to make. She wrestled quite often over the smallest decisions she had to make, wanting to make sure that it was in everyones best interest as much as she could. Elizabeth truly loved her subjects as just more than those who put money in her coffers. She really wanted the best for them, while Mary wanted everything handed to her, no matter who had to suffer for it. Mary was a spoiled human being, who while granted good graces and charm, somehow never managed to learn from the mistakes that she made. It would have been interesting to see what sort of queen she would have made if she had become more cautious of those around her, and surrounded herself with those who had the best interest of her kingdom at heart, and not their own subservient wants.

A great read and an unbiased view of these two dynamic ladies, one of whom proved the entire world wrong in that women were not fit to lead. I highly recommend reading this book!