In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, #6)

ISBN: 0609810197
ISBN 13: 9780609810194
By: Jean Plaidy

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About this book

As Henry VIII's only child, the future seemed golden for Princess Mary. She was the daughter of Henry's first queen, Katharine of Aragon, and was heir presumptive to the throne of England. Red-haired like her father, she was also intelligent and deeply religious like her staunchly Catholic mother. But her father's ill-fated love for Anne Boleyn would shatter Mary's life forever. The father who had once adored her was now intent on having a male heir at all costs. He divorced her mother and, at the age of twelve, Mary was banished from her father' s presence, stripped of her royal title, and replaced by his other children--first Elizabeth, then Edward. Worst of all, she never saw her beloved mother again; Katharine was exiled too, and died soon after. Lonely and miserable, Mary turned for comfort to the religion that had sustained her mother. In a stroke of fate, however, Henry's much-longed-for son died in his teens, leaving Mary the legitimate heir to the throne. It was, she felt, a sign from God--proof that England should return to the Catholic Church. Swayed by fanatical advisors and her own religious fervor, Mary made horrific examples of those who failed to embrace the Church, earning her the immortal nickname " Bloody Mary." She was married only once, to her Spanish cousin Philip II--a loveless and childless marriage that brought her to the edge of madness. With In the Shadow of the Crown, Jean Plaidy brings to life the dark story of a queen whose road to the throne was paved with sorrow.

Reader's Thoughts


I just couldnt get into this book. I tried and tried, but I couldnt make it past about page 150.


This is a story of Mary, Henry VIII’s daughter with Katherine of Aragon. As a child, Mary has it all. She’s the king’s only child and it’s understood she’ll be inheriting the throne. But, the king divorces the queen, marries Anne Boleyn, and has another daughter, Elizabeth. Mary is declared illegitimate and she is constantly fighting for her place in court (and her place in line for the throne). By the time Henry VIII dies, he has a son, Edward. Edward dies young, and after a fight, Mary becomes queen. Mary is a staunch Catholic and realigns England with the Catholic Church. Protestants are put to death during her reign, earning her the nickname “Bloody Mary.” Mary marries Phillip of Spain, but the marriage is distant and Phillip is constantly out of the country. Mary is desperate for a child and becomes so obsessed that she deludes herself into believing that she is pregnant.Reading this book, what I felt most for Mary was pity. She has a rough time as a young woman, basically being discarded (along with her mom) by her father. As a queen, it seems that she had the best of intentions and was doing what she believed. And as a woman, she desperately wanted (probably because of her being “dumped” by her dad) love and affection and a family.

Missy Zell

About Bloody Mary, Henry 8th’s first daughter who killed many reformist protestant people who would not conform to the traditional catholic religion and give the power back to the pope.

Erica Lyn

Mary Tudor is my favorite character of the Tudor period; I have long been fascinated with her, and tried to understand her thoughts as to what she did in her reign and why. Jean Plaidy is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. Putting the two together should have been a dream, right?Honestly, not so much.As much as I love the author and the subject matter of this book, it was pretty much a chore to get through. I can't quite figure out why, but it took me forever to read, and I just had to push myself through it, rather than be engaged enough to find myself unable to put it down. Definitely not one of her better works, which saddens me.


You only hear the negative side of "bloody Mary" But this book explains her life and you can understand all of her.


It really brought history to life for me. Very interesting and educational!

Sara W

Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII (Bloody Mary)


The tudor spell! <3


I really enjoyed this book until it actually started talking about the life of the supposedly main character of the book, Mary Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragona. From a good historical novel it turned into a sappy Harlequin. I was skipping page after page trying to find some interesting fact through all the long complaints on the loveless life of the poor queen!! Anyway, although it took forever to finish, I think Jane Plaidy is really good at making people like me digest historical facts, so I'm still giving it four stars in spite of the endless 'cry me a river' scenes. And finally, if nothing else, it is now clear to me who the famous/infamous Bloody Mary was!

Gordon Ehler

I would have loved to have met and talked with Eleanor Hibbert, the real name of the author of this book and so, so many others. She was a master in period details and research, and this book is a gem. Mary, the first borne daugther of Henry VIII is the subject of In the Shadow of the Crown, and the author brings her roller-coaster life into focus. Probably not for those desing a superficial ride, this book goes much deeper into Mary's personality, attributes and flaws.


This book was okay. It got a bit repetitive at its end.

Laura Finger

Poor maligned Queen Mary. The tragic daughter of a tragic mother and an egomaniac father. Plaidy has a gift for humanizing British rulers, especially the ones that popular history would like to shove into the shadows.This is a great portrait of a woman who was used by her father and was forced to play a deadly game of surviving Tudor politics. I really enjoyed reading it, and Plaidy is in her element in this one.


I have read a lot of books about Mary Tudor and this book was one of the few books that truly portrayed Mary's entire life as it may have actually been without exaggerating her life extensively. Mary Tudor was the apple of King Henry VIII's eye, and the darling of England as a child. However, that all changed when Anne Boleyn showed up. An intelligent child, so unaware of the turmoil around her since her birth, and so desperate for love. And because of the love that she was deprived of so constantly (the forced separation between her and Queen Katharine and everyone she is close with), she turned to religion. Through her religious beliefs and lack of love, she so willingly and freely falls in love with the idea of love and religion through Phillip of Spain, who ultimately breaks her heart and brings her country to ruin. Poor Mary, she could have been such a passionate and loving person if it weren't for the tragedies in her life. Both her and Elizabeth Tudor grew up in similar environment yet both grasped and handled their hardships differently. Mary did not deserve the title "Bloody Mary", after all she had good intentions when she first began her reign. While she clearly was a religious Catholic fanatic, she certainly wasn't a tyrant or unreasonable ruler in any sense, not compared to King Henry VIII or King John.


How can someone take one of the most interesting periods of history and make it this boring??I was hoping to get a intriguing, interesting, fiery(no pun intended!) story of the infamous "Bloody Mary." Instead I found a passive whiney brat.And the writing was lacking. It was like hearing a boring story from your 103 year old great-aunt many years after the fact instead of an in-the-moment exciting account. Do yourself a favor, skip over this.


All of Plaidy's books are great!

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