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Extended Audio Sample Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens, by Jane Dunn Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,682 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jane Dunn Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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” (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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Erica | 2/8/2014

    " Fascinating biography on the parallel lives of two queens whose lives were intricately intertwined yet they never once met face to face. Fascinating point of view in terms of two powerful women who were opposites in many ways yet both very strong in their own right. Definitely recommend for Tudor history buffs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jen | 2/6/2014

    " Fun, but if you know much about this subject, you won't learn anything new. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mackenzie | 2/2/2014

    " It was a selective biography of both women so you won't get a full picture of either of them. Much of the book was redundant in it's comparisons. It would be better to read seperate biographies of them if you want to get a full picture of these women. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ting | 1/27/2014

    " A wonderful dual biography of two intriguing women and monarchs. I have always been fascinated by both these charismatic and very different figures in history, their lives intertwined by their adjoining kingdoms, blood (they were cousins), and their common role as female monarchs. I have never thought much of Mary of Scots who seemed to let events, people, and her emotions run her but through this biography I can sympathise. She was raised to be a reigning Queen but a Queen who would be secondary to the ruling hand of a husband during a time when female monarchs were not highly esteemed or instilled confidence. Elizabeth I still stands out as a premier Prince, male or female, of her time. She was endowed with a human touch with her people and yet still maintained a regal presence. And although, she surrounded herself with a trusted group of counselors in the end, even with her frustrating vacillating she ruled and she ruled alone "with the heart and stomach of a king and a king of England" to become one of the greatest monarchs Europe had ever seen. I highly recommend this book and the insight it gives to two intriguing figures in history. "

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