Bloody Mary by Carolly Erickson

November 8, 2011
By , littleton, CO
Mary started as a delicate little girl who overcame many hurdles and became Ruler of England. Carolly Erickson brilliantly illustrates Mary’s life in Bloody Mary.

The life of Mary, daughter to King Henry and Katherine of Argon, was filled with backstabbing, power hungry people and danger around every corner. Throughout her “charmed” childhood Mary was taught to be a “slave” to men. Her tutor, Vives, taught her that all women are inferior to men and that women are “inherently the devils instrument, and not Christ’s”. Mary also saw her dad mistreating her mom while they were going through a “divorce”. When Mary became Ruler she was trying to fix England’s debt, while fighting off many illnesses.

Bloody Mary is a very factual book written about the life of Mary. Although the book tells a lot about Mary’s life fairly, the title does not. I think the title shows the authors opinion and doesn’t reflect positively on Mary. Although the book was filled with mostly facts, there are some opinions scattered here and there in the book. A quote showing the authors opinion, “For Mary the tortuous years of royal divorce were a time of shocks, disillusionment and anguish”. The author didn’t know exactly what Mary was thinking or feelings at the time, didn’t have proof and wasn’t there. Another example, “Charles, who was anything but continent and was by this time, considering marrying someone else…” This shows the authors opinions on Charles, because he only saw Mary as a diplomatic alliance and not as a bride.

Carolly Erickson is known for her nonfiction books about famous historical figures. I think she did a very good job on Bloody Mary. Carolly Erickson tells Mary’s story in third person. The book is sorted into parts and chapters. There are five parts, one for each period of Mary’s life. The chapters begin with a little poem, written in Old English. These poems relate to the chapters written about that time in Mary’s life. The book was very detailed and sometimes droned on and on about facts. It gave descriptions about the wars that went on, but mostly focused on the social aspect of royal life, specifically Mary’s.

“The Lady Mary is proclaimed Queen!” Through all the adversity Mary was exposed to, she still became the First Female Ruler of England”





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