Plain, dutiful and a passionate Catholic, Mary Tudor was overwhelmed by joy when she became England's first ruling queen. After the misery of her childhood, when her father had rejected her mother, Catherine of Aragon and effectively disowned his daughter, Mary felt at last that she was achieving her destiny. And when she marries Philip of Spain, her happiness is complete.
But Mary's delight quickly sours as she realises that her husband does not love her and in fact finds her devotion to him irritating. Desperate for a baby, she becomes caught up by the belief that she must appease her God by bringing England back to her faith. Her people are horrified at the severity of the measures she takes and begin to turn against their queen who is lonely, frightened – and desperate for love.
Xavier, a member of Philip of Spain's entourage, is a reluctant witness to the unfolding tragedy and as the once–fêted queen tightens her cruel hold on the nation, Xavier becomes closer to Mary and his life – and new–found love – will be caught up in the chaos.
A good read, but different from what I expected.
The cover and the back cover blurb of this book lead you to think that this book is primarily centered on Queen Mary I. I was suprised to find that that wasn't the case, but enjoyed the book regardless. This book is more about the feelings of Londoners at the time of Mary's marriage to the Spanish Prince Phillip. Foreigners, and particularly the Spanish, were disliked at the time, mostly due to the religious changes in the reign of Henry VIII and Edward VI. So here we have a member of the Spanish travelling party, stuck in London for longer than expected, and missing home. A home life which he has time to reflect on. It was a good look at the uncertanties felt by many English during the reign of Mary.