This book was such a disappointment. I loved Loupas' book, The Red Lily Crown. I loved how she told tales of the de Medici family and brought Renaissance Italy with all its intrigue to life. Someone who did what she did with the de Medici's should have easily handled Mary, Queen of Scots, and all the drama of her Scottish entourage. One would think.
This book was a disaster from the start. Rinette's wedding is forcibly disrupted by a group of Scottish brutes who want to force her marriage to someone else. This starts a theme that will carry throughout the entire novel. ALL Scottish men are brutes. They are savage, bodice-ripping, dagger-carrying, brawling-in-the-streets brutes. The French aren't any nicer but they dress better so the author is a little more forgiving of their actions.
And then there is the one and only Mary, Queen of Scots. She was worse than the brutes. For starters, Loupas' MQoS made Charles VI of France look sane. I recognize that there were actual, legit issues with MQoS. Most biographers suggest she suffered from the same disease attributed to King George III's bouts of madness. Sorry but if Mary is really as awful as Loupas makes her out to be, her bastard half brother actually makes her disappear and puts the crown on his own head. He doesn't waste years fighting with her before fleeing the country. So maybe it's all a little more complicated than that. But is it really? Loupas would have you believe that it's really not. After all, Scotland is overrun with violent, wild men who can't stand being told what to do by any woman no matter what her title is.
Somewhere in all of this, there's a casket (foreshadow alert) containing letters and a mysterious prophecy written by the one and only Nostradamus. These items were property of Mary's mother, Marie of Guise. Rinette is entrusted with this casket and told to deliver it into Mary's hands upon Marie's death. Instead of just handing the casket to Mary as soon has she is off her French boat, Rinette decides she's going to hold on to it. She thinks she's going to bargain with someone she hasn't talked to or seen since they were eight years old. Before she had been Queen of France and Queen of Scotland. Spoiler alert- It doesn't work out very well for Rinette.
Last issue with this book -
I'm so over authors who spend all kinds of time telling me about their heroines who are strong, brave, and independent women who don't need a man only to have the story ending with a woman who needs a man because she spent the whole book making bad choices. That was a terrible run on sentence. It's exactly how the thought came out of my brain. I'm not apologizing. Just acknowledging. Anyway, if she's (Rinette or Mary. Take your pick.) so smart, why does she continue to make so many bad choices? Both things can't be true. Beyonce has told us as much several time.
Loupas has one other published work I have on my TBR. It takes the reader back to Italy. I'll probably pick it up only because I loved her last venture into Italy. Maybe it's just Scotland with all of its brutes that's the problem.
If I were able to get to the library right now, this book would have gone back unfinished. As it is, I cannot get to the library so I might as well read all of the books I have.
Dates read 4/5/2020 - 4/13/2020