Book Review: Queen of Martyrs by Samantha Wilcoxson

Jane Seymour (24)

Author Samantha Wilcoxson recently released the third and final installment of her Plantagenet Embers series with “Queen of Martyrs – The Story of Mary I” and it is a marvelous representation of the lady that will go down in history (whether unfairly) as “Bloody Mary”.


Here is a brief synopsis of the book from its Amazon page:

God save the Queen! God save our good Queen Mary!’

When these words rang out over England, Mary Tudor thought her troubles were over. She could put her painful past – the loss of her mother and mistreatment at the hands of her father – behind her.

With her accession to the throne, Mary set out to restore Catholicism in England and find the love of a husband that she had long desired. But the tragedies in Mary’s life were far from over. How did a gentle, pious woman become known as ‘Bloody Mary’?

The thing I enjoyed the most from this book was that Wilcoxson made Mary a real person through her story telling. This book doesn’t focus on Mary being a victim as we are so accustomed to reading. It shows a strength and naivety in Mary that makes her as human as you and I.

From young on Mary had an extreme desire to be loved and to be close with her family.

While her brother Edward was king of England Mary felt like a young mother to her even younger brother. She felt a need to protect Edward from those around him. Unfortunately, Mary’s visits with her brother eventually became few and far between when those closest to him discovered that the young king respected the opinion of his Catholic sister.

Not long before the death of Edward Mary paid visit to her cousin Lady Jane Grey – the former ward of Thomas Seymour and his wife dowager queen, Katherine Parr. Both Mary and Jane had spent time in the home of Katherine at Chelsea and had shared memories of a great lady who treated them fairly. Mary felt that Katherine had treated her so well that when she discovered that Katherine’s funeral was done in the new faith she felt betrayed by her step-mother. However, visiting with Jane allowed Mary to share memories her happy memories of Katherine with her.

Sadly, unbeknownst to Mary, Edward has declared Lady Jane Grey as his heir. This surprise was told to Mary by Jane’s mother ?(and Mary’s cousin), Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk.

The story continues showing Mary as a merciful queen. Not only did she attempt to spare Jane twice but she also publicly ?pardoned hundreds of men who rose up against her in Wyatt’s Rebellion. ?Regrettably, Jane’s father fought against the queen which cost him, his daughter and son in law their lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about Mary Tudor and the workings of the Tudor court. I cannot say enough nice things about this book.

Five out of Five Stars!


About the Author:

Samantha Wilcoxson is an American writer with British roots. When she is not reading or travelling, she enjoys spending time at the lake with her husband and three teenagers.

The Plantagenet Embers series debuted with ‘Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen: The Story of Elizabeth of York’. It has been selected as an Editors’ Choice by the Historical Novel Society and long-listed for the 2016 HNS Indie Award.

‘Faithful Traitor: The Story of Margaret Pole’ is the second novel in the trilogy, continuing the story of the Plantagenet remnant in Tudor times. This novel has received 5-stars from Readers’ Favorite and a Discovering Diamond award.

The recently released final installment in Plantagenet Embers, Queen of Martyrs, features Queen Mary I and her story of the counter-reformation in England.








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3 Comments Leave a comment

    • Who are you to say what people should write or believe? You would probably condemn Mary Tudor for doing just that but your comment that being pro Mary should end and soon shows you think the same way and are intolerant. I have no problem with people being in favour of Elizabeth, but telling an author not to promote Mary is wrong. Elizabeth has had good press and Mary unfair press and it’s about time this was balanced with better insights and understanding based on real research, not propaganda, which this book does. There are a few good biographies of Mary written lately, by Anna Whitlock and Linda Porter and I would recommend them.

      • Banditqueen, good points. I am pro Elizabeth myself but I am tired of the trend of acting like mary was evil. She was a very kind woman and even though she burnt people was still a good person. I think the current pro mary, anti Elizabeth trend is just trying to correct 500 years of unfair propaganda.

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