Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes has recently been re-released by Sourcebooks.

Back Cover Blurb:

The moving, tragic story of Charles I, the last absolute monarch of England, during his imprisonment in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. Richly drawn and inspired by the New York Times bestselling author's own experience living on the Isle of Wight, this dramatic retelling brings to life the cavalier king whom Cromwell deposed. But even more fascinating than the account of royal hopes and misfortunes is the tale of a charming servant girl who is as romantic and tender in love as she is bold and resourceful in plotting the king's escape.

Mary of Carisbrooke is the story of Mary, a fictional young servant girl who is the daughter of the sergeant in charge of the military garrison at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight during King Charles I’s imprisonment there in 1647. It is an endearing tale of a friendship that blooms between her and the king as she aids him in failed escape attempts. 

King Charles I

The history of the kind and gentle King Charles I, deposed by Cromwell, and ultimately executed always draw me - the loveable king falling victim to the harsh political climate. Through the eyes of seventeen year old Mary, the novel beautifully depicts what life must have been like for him in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight during such dangerous times.

View from above of Carisbrooke Castle

Landscape view of Carisbrooke Castle

This is a wonderfully written piece of historical fiction depicting England’s Civil War where the engaging lost against Oliver Cromwell for control of England and the crown. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s portrayal of both Mary and King Charles as she aids him by delivering and passing letters to Royalists and family. 

Numerous personages of the time came into the story, and although it became sometimes confusing trying to remember all the names of the characters and their roles, the essence of the story did shine through. 

All in all, this was a wonderful story, which I highly recommend. A tale full of intrigue and danger that kept my interest from first page to last.  Highly recommended.


Shelley said...

Thanks for this review and your expertise in English history, which is not my strong point!

In my defense, I did just watch (slightly later time period) the BBC Poldark series, and enjoyed it.

streona said...

I personally find Charles I one of the most irritating people in history. In the end the only asset he had left was his word- which turned out to be worthless. He was described by Professor Keith Morgan as a "runt and a weakling". He talked his way into his ultimate fate.

Did you know the man who executed him went into hiding at the Restoration and lived as woman until a group of strolling minstrels hunted him down & assassinated him? - Now there's a story for you...

streona said...

Charles I must be one of the mot irritating arrogant men in English history who talked his way onto the block, but only after thousands of etter men had died because of him. Prof. Keth Morgan calls him a "runt and a weakling".

Did you know that his executioner (George Joyce) went into hiding & lived as a woman until he was assassinated by a group of strolling musicians? Now there's a story waiting to be told...