The Princess of Scotland (Six Tudor Queens #5.5), by Alison Weir

Eight stars

Alison Weir’s collection of short stories that layer themselves between the Six Wives of Henry VIII series have proven to be quite entertaining and highly educational. The short pieces bind together the biographies of the six queens, with some great focus on minor characters whose lives are most likely forgotten in the larger narrative. This piece features Henry VIII’s niece, Margaret Douglas, and some of her passionate encounters when she lived at court. Having had quite the interesting upbringing, Margaret has seen life on both the English and Scottish sides of the border. Her mother, married off at a young age, has kept her ties with the English, but still has a passion for the Scottish way of life, where her son sits upon the Scottish throne. When Margaret meets Lord Thomas Howard, she is smitten and cannot hide her feelings. However, with Thomas’ connection to Anne Boleyn, he is sent away to the Tower. Margaret’s connection to him sees her sent there as well, possibly not protected from the ultimate punishment. However, in a moment of kindness, Henry VIII excuses her from her ‘crimes’ and she is free to live in an abbey. However, Thomas does not have the same luck and dies of an illness, which leaves Margaret heartbroken. After a few queens spend a short time on the throne next to Henry VIII, Margaret is back at court and serving Katheryn Howard. She catches the eye of a gentleman in the King’s household and cannot help herself. Even though she has been scolded and told that she could face quite the punishment, Margaret Douglas cannot deny her base emotions. Weir fans are in for another treat with this piece, which mixes some essential backstory with the wonder of a young woman in love! Recommended to series fans who need something to tide them over, as well as Tudor fans of all types.

Weir’s mastery of all things Tudor continues to impress me as I read anything she writes. No matter who serves as the protagonist, Weir is able to spin a tale that is both addictive and a must-read. Much of the background for her work reveals a substantial collection of lesser-known characters whose lives make for some great fiction writing. Weir’s writing can best be called dazzling and entertaining, as the reader regularly seems satisfied while wanting more with each story. Weir seems full of ideas to add to her growing list of publications and keeps the reader wanting to learn. A great piece to pass the time over a lingering cup of something, or on a rainy afternoon. I am excited to get my hands on more of these short stories, which will help pass the time until I can read the rest of the Six Wives series.

Kudos, Madam Weir, for another winner. You never seem to run out of things to say and I cannot thank you enough for sharing them so readily!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: