Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review - The Raven's Heart: A Story of a Quest, a Castle and Mary Queen of Scots be Jessica Blackadder

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The Raven's Heart: A Story of a Quest, a Castle and Mary Queen of Scots 
Title: The Raven's Heart
Author: Jessica Blackadder
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 464
Published: April 1st 2011 by HarperCollins  
ISBN: 9780732291884
Source: Sent for arranged tour

Description: Scotland, 1561, and a ship comes across the North Sea carrying home Mary, the young, charismatic Queen of Scots, returning after thirteen years in the French court to wrest back control of her throne.  The Blackadder family has long awaited for the Queen's return to bring them justice. Alison Blackadder, disguised as a boy from childhood to protect her from the murderous clan that stole their lands, must learn to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, building a web of dependence and reward.  Just as the Queen can trust nobody, Alison discovers lies, danger, and treachery at every turn.   This sweeping, imaginative, and original tale of political intrigue, misplaced loyalty, secret passion, and implacable revenge is based on real characters and events from the reign of Mary Queen of Scots.

 I Give This ...

It didn't take me long to agree to this tour.  You see, I'm familiar with Mary, Queen of Scots.  But only in conjunction with Elizabeth I, and we know how that ends.  I've been interested in find out as much as I can about the Queen.  This one seems to pain her in a very different light.
I had a hard time with Alison.  I understood being raised as a boy her entire life to protect her and then being asked to switch gears was probably hard on her.  But, I'm curious how her lifestyle effected the choices she made in life.  The psychologist in me questions the idea of nature versus nurture immensely in this story.  Which bring me to a very important aspect.  This story leans heavily on lesbian themes.  I have nothing against it, but I don't want to read about really.  So that really put me off the book.  I almost put it aside, but I can't digging because I was curious.

But, I became invested in the idea of Alison getting her castle back.  What would she do to keep Mary and her word?  And was Mary as aware of Alison's feelings as we the readers are?  I wasn't sure, because Alison was in such denial over her own feelings.  I felt she was going to extreme measures to make sure her feelings weren't obvious to everyone.  Almost to the point that she was reckless with who she was fraternizing with.  

I learned a great deal about Mary in this book.  I would love to supplement those things with other books, I just need to pick that right one.  I was intrigued that she so depended on Queen Elizabeth.  As a Queen in her own right, I have no idea why she needed another Queen's approval on who she would marry.  In felt like she wanted all the glory that went along with being Queen but none of the work.  It seems like she didn't have much control over her own country and thus her own destiny.

Once I got past the lesbian theme, I was ok with this book.  It wasn't the best historical fiction, but I think my opinion might have been slightly skewed by my own feelings.  I'm still very interested in Mary though!

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