Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Book Review: This Sainted Queen (Revisiting History)

The most contentious period of British History has always been that of the Protestant Reformation, imposed by sword and gibbet upon the ancient Catholic country by the Tudors, aided by abuses of Parliament and the history books of their followers. Among the worst of the earlier histories were the notorious quasi-propaganda narratives of John Foxe, Gilbert Burnet and David Hume. Of their collective accounts of Mary Tudor, William Cobbett remarked that ‘Her reign our deceivers have taught us to call the reign of ‘Bloody Queen Mary” while they have taught us to call that of her sister “Good Queen Bess.”’

In 2008, Bella d’Abrera began a modern objective restoration of the true historical balance of that period. Her first volume, The King with a Pope in His Belly dealt with Henry VIII himself. That work was followed in 2010 with Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers, which concerned itself with the death of Henry, the brief reign of his son Edward VI, and the triumphant ascent to the throne of Mary Tudor in 1553

This third volume, This Sainted Queen (Revisiting History), continues by providing an unvarnished account of the enormously difficult task faced by Mary as she found herself obliged as the rightful Queen of England and Ireland, to restore the ancient faith and the social and governmental institutions that had slowly developed over a millennium and a half, in what was always Catholic England. It was now Mary’s turn to shine, and in this volume, the author has attempted to return to the highest standards of an objective historiographical method by striking the right balance in reporting equally both the villains and the saints of the tale. Indeed, the overwhelming evidence she cites against Cranmer et al, for example, is essential in redressing the balance of Reformation history for so long stacked in his and their favor.

I have been honored to receive an advanced copy of the book and can personally vouch for the great amount of scholarship in this work.  It is - while retaining a great degree of historical accuracy and scholarship - a wonderful and pleasant read. I'm happy to wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone wanting the true story of Queen Mary.

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