The Memoirs of Mary, Queen of Scots ~ Carolly Erickson

In this dramatic, compelling fictional memoir Carolly Erickson lets the courageous, spirited Mary Queen of Scots tell her own story—and the result is a novel readers will long remember.

Born Queen of Scotland, married as a young girl to the invalid young King of France, Mary took the reins of the unruly kingdom of Scotland as a young widow and fought to keep her throne. A second marriage to her handsome but dissolute cousin Lord Darnley ended in murder and scandal, while a third marriage to the dashing, commanding Lord Bothwell, the love of her life, gave her joy but widened the scandal and surrounded her with enduring ill repute.

Unable to rise above the violence and disorder that swirled around her, Mary plucked up her courage and escaped to England—only to find herself a prisoner of her ruthless, merciless cousin Queen Elizabeth. Here, in her own riveting account, is the enchanting woman whose name still evokes excitement and compassion—and whose death under the headsman’s axe still draws forth our sorrow.

In The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots, Carolly Erickson provides another in her series of mesmerizing historical entertainments, and takes readers deep into the life and heart of the sixteenth century’s most fascinating woman.


Ok, so I know that Carolly Erickson classifies her novels as “historical entertainment” instead of “historical fiction” which is probably a good thing since she likes to invent things that never happened or existed and change timelines and make up storylines – and I am normally pretty ok with that except that sometimes she goes too far and things become unbelievable. My major qualm with this novel is the portrayal of Lord Bothwell as Mary’s true, lifelong love as well as Mary’s portrayal as weak and a love-sick puppy dog. Seriously!? This woman went through hell throughout her life and would have had to be strong … I don’t think that she would have had the time or the energy to be dwelling on her love life. Also, the invention of Mary and Jamie’s secret daughter and Mary’s escape to Rome – those were just a little far-fetched for me, although it is interesting think that Mary might have escaped from her house arrest. I find that Erickson’s novels often focus on the “what ifs” in history – something that can be slightly annoying for me.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the novel, but then the silliness started – the illegitimate secret daughter, secret meetings with Elizabeth and the escape to Rome, but it was still a decent read – not Erickson’s best but by far not her worse either, it was rather . . . average.

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