Elizabeth and Mary

  • by Jane Dunn
  • Narrated by Donada Peters
  • 19 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This is the first dual biography of two of the world's most remarkable women, Elizabeth I of England and Mary Queen of Scots, by one of Britain's "best biographers" (The Sunday Times).In a rich and riveting narrative, Jane Dunn reveals the extraordinary rivalry between the regal cousins. It is the story of two queens ruling on one island, each with a claim to the throne of England, each embodying dramatically opposing qualities of character, ideals of womanliness (and views of sexuality), and divinely ordained kingship.
As regnant queens in an overwhelmingly masculine world, they were deplored for their femaleness, compared unfavorably with each other, and courted by the same men. By placing their dynamic and ever-changing relationship at the center of the book, Dunn illuminates their differences. Elizabeth, inheriting a weak, divided country coveted by all the Catholic monarchs of Europe, is revolutionary in her insistence on ruling alone and inspired in her use of celibacy as a political tool, yet also possessed of a deeply feeling nature. Mary is not the romantic victim of history but a courageous adventurer with a reckless heart and a magnetic influence over men and women alike. Vengeful against her enemies and the more ruthless of the two queens, she is untroubled by plotting Elizabeth's murder. Elizabeth, however, is driven to anguish at finally having to sanction Mary's death for treason. Working almost exclusively from contemporary letters and writings, Dunn explores their symbiotic, though never face-to-face, relationship and the power struggle that raged between them.
A story of sex, power, and politics, of a rivalry unparalleled in the pages of English history, of two charismatic women, told in a masterful double biography.


What the Critics Say

"Her description of the political and cultural milieus of Britain is striking and credible....Dunn's vision of a 'dangerous age' is compelling." (Booklist)
"It nicely captures the intertwined lives of these two women." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fun to listen to

The best thing about this book is the intense level of detail -- read, gossip -- that the author imparts about an unbelievably fascinating time with people whose every decision could have life or death consequences. It's a good book, not great, but very very enjoyable -- proving once again what a great story this is! She has a novel(?) and interesting theory that Mary was manic depressive, and an interesting but not necessarily novel theory that Elizabeth was shy of marriage because she had no models of a good marriage in her childhood or adolescence (what an understatement!).

Definitely a good listen.

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- MP

Fantastic book

A book comparing Elizabeth&Mary instead of only one queen in the spotlight! Amazing history, WELL written and perfectly read! Two thumbs up!
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- Catharina

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-29-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape