Friday, February 11, 2011
The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots by Carolly Erickson
Author: Carolly Erickson
Recommended To: People who think Historical Fiction means short on the history.
Carolly Erickson isn't going to win any awards for her historical fiction. These are really basic books and it almost feels like she read the Wikipedia page on Mary and then creates some drama and fiction around the basic history. She even admits at the end that she blatently made up certain events, including travel that Mary did within England.
Ok, I get that the point of historical fiction is to have some fiction. But, Erickson is light on the substance and heavy on Mary's love life. This book was more of a light-hearted romance than a well written historical fiction novel.
Erickson isn't a bad writer - she just shouldn't bill herself as a historical fiction writer. Her books are somewhat entertaining and are good for the train. I've noticed recently that a lot of the books I read are "train books," and that maybe some of my readers don't take the El every single day for 2 hours. But, mostly "train books" are those that you pop in your bag, get salad dressing from your lunch on, and don't require a ton of thought after a long day.
This is my third Erickson and I thought her other two books were more entertaining than this one. It dragged in parts and I simply wasn't interested in reading Mary's story from her selfish perspective. Mary Queen of Scots in this novel has little depth and breadth and if you are looking for a book with a lot of accurate information on this time period and Mary's life, then this is not the book for you.
Philippa Gregory has a pretty good account of Mary's life in her book The Other Queen because she tells the story from the perspective of Bess and George Talbot who were forced to house Mary when she was captured and held in England.