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Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses…
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Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown (original 2002; édition 2003)

par Maureen Waller (Auteur)

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249586,200 (3.69)3
"This work recreates the late Stuart era, in a narrative that highlights the influence of three women in one of the most momentous events in our history: a palace coup that changed the face of the monarchy and signalled the end of a dynasty. In 1688, seven prominent men invited William of Orange - James' nephew and son-in-law - to intervene in English affairs. But it was the women, Queen Mary Beatrice and her stepdaughters Mary and Anne who played a key role in this drama. Jealous and resentful, Anne had written malicious letters to her sister Mary, implying that the Queen's pregnancy was a hoax, a Catholic plot to deny Mary her rightful inheritance."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (plus d'informations)
Membre:graphianixie
Titre:Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown
Auteurs:Maureen Waller (Auteur)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2003), Edition: First Edition, 480 pages
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Mots-clés:History, English, box 50

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Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown par Maureen Waller (2002)

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5 sur 5
The history of the last three Stuarts to rule England: James II, Mary (of William&Mary) and Anne. Quick history run down: Charles I was executed by his people. His eldest son, Charles II, was invited back to rule after living in exile. Charles II died without legitimate issue, so his younger brother James II inherited. Unfortunately, James II had publicly converted to Catholicism during a time that England was so viciously anti-Catholic (just as the Catholic countries were viciously anti-Protestant) that Catholics were banned from serving in the military or holding office, and were still attacked in the streets. His choice of religion, his lack of political accumen or ability to compromise, and his complete lack of personal charm made him an unpopular king. When his new Catholic wife, Mary Beatrice of Modena, gave birth to a healthy baby boy (who would presumably be raised Catholic, meaning that the next King of England would *also* be Catholic), it served as the catalyst for Parliament to invite his oldest daughter to rule in his stead. Mary, who had married William (elected Prince of Orange), insisted that they rule jointly. William headed to England with an army, and James II fled. Mary and William assumed the throne, rocked the war of the Spanish Succession and a few other wars that all blend together, and in the end secured the right to trade slaves through Spanish territories, which basically made England's fortunes in the next century. Mary, then William died, and so Mary's younger sister Anne assumed the throne. Anne had [seventeen pregnancies, but none of her children survived, and so after her death the Stuart line of rulers was broken. Although their younger half-brother James III (the Pretender) was alive and constantly trying to become King of England, he never succeeded, and the throne went to the Hanovers in the form of George I.

The deck was stacked against this book from the start. The first problem is the title and central conceit: that Mary and Anne were "ungrateful" and "stole" their father's crown. Anyone who knows anything about James II knows he lost that crown all by himself. No one wanted that clumsy, narrow-minded bigot on the throne a second longer, and after reading about the numerous instances he could have saved his claim but didn't, either out of cowardice or misreading of the situation or just stupidity, I couldn't blame them. (Lisollet, my favorite historical figure of the time, said "The more I see of this King, the more excuses I find for the Prince of Orange, and the more admirable I think he is." Of his exile, Madame de Sevigne said it even more succinctly: "When one listens to him, one realises why he is here.") And as someone who grew up in a democratic nation, I find it very hard to believe anyone "deserves" a throne just by virtue of birth. From my perspective, James II had a more than fair chance of ruling, but he screwed it up repeatedly and so was justly removed. Waller talks about James II like his rights were violated, but if anyone's rights were violated, it was the countless peasants and slaves without a vote or voice at all. Waller stops trying to portray Mary and Anne in the worst possible light once James II is dead, and the book is better for the lightening of the authorial judgment. Her other mis-step is to switch between time points, so that first James is exiled in France, and then abruptly (without any transition) we're back in time watching William III grow up. Confusing!

That said, Waller lards the book with the full texts of letters and copious quotes, so one truly gets a feel for their voices. And she has a good grasp of the history of the time, which is pretty complicated (due to being more globally-reaching than previous eras). I would have liked more citations and less insertion by the author of the motivations or feelings of the historical figures, but in the end I did feel like I learned a bit from this book. And it's written with a clear, lucid style which is all too rare. ( )
2 voter wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I'm puzzled, LT had real difficulty finding this, yet there are 1985 readers, and a connecrtion from Essex! Now I need to make up some tags.
  JohnLindsay | Mar 14, 2014 |
I enjoyed this lively history of two English Queens. ( )
  bhowell | Dec 2, 2012 |
It would be SO much easier to follow if the chapters were in chronological order, especially as so many of the characters share the names Charles, James, William, Anne and Mary! ( )
  KayCliff | Aug 30, 2011 |
Although I am interested in the history of the English monarch, I found this book to be very dry and a bit boring. it is divided into multiple parts. At first it gives a series of biographies for each of the important actors of the time, Queen Mary Beatrice, Princess Anne, Princess Mary, King James II, and Prince William of Orange. These biographies cover the same time period and often overlap. I think it could have been much better written or organized. While both sisters were vilified, Anne came across as the master manipulator. The author showed her obvious dislike for Anne through her descriptions of her physical appearance and behavior. Further, she described Mary's reign in detail while ignoring Anne's. In addition, I expected to read more information about King James' son. The book did not describe his attempts to retake the crown or how Mary and Anne thwarted such attempts. Overall, I found this book to be disappointing. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Aug 25, 2011 |
5 sur 5
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The Arms of Kent Inn, Faversham, Kent
December 1688

 
The seamen peered through the gloom at the tall, gaunt figure sitting motionless by the fire.
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"This work recreates the late Stuart era, in a narrative that highlights the influence of three women in one of the most momentous events in our history: a palace coup that changed the face of the monarchy and signalled the end of a dynasty. In 1688, seven prominent men invited William of Orange - James' nephew and son-in-law - to intervene in English affairs. But it was the women, Queen Mary Beatrice and her stepdaughters Mary and Anne who played a key role in this drama. Jealous and resentful, Anne had written malicious letters to her sister Mary, implying that the Queen's pregnancy was a hoax, a Catholic plot to deny Mary her rightful inheritance."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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