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Mary of Carisbrooke: The Girl Who Would Not Betray Her King [Paperback]

Margaret Campbell Barnes

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Book Description

March 1 2011
Margaret Campbell Barnes has been one of the most reliable of England's historical novelists.' - Chicago Tribune

' A Girl, A King, and the castle that changed them both Forever... '

Charles I, king of England, thought that Carisbrooke Castle would be safe, an Isle of Wight refuge far from the madding crowd of Cromwell. But Charles ran straight into the arms of betrayal, his retreat morphing to prison and his allies few and far between.

Mary, a quiet servant girl in awe of her king and country, vaults into intrigue and danger as she helps to plot the king's escape.

A moving story of royal hopes and misfortunes, Mary of Carisbrooke is at its heart the tale of a charming girl who is as romantic and alluring as she is smart and bold. Loyal to herself and to the Crown, Mary's brush with history reveals just how quickly fate can shift the paths ofpower.

Praise for Margaret Campbell Barnes
'Barnes vividly depicts Anne's hopes and fears in an age where royal marriages were brokered like a cattle fair, and beheading could befall even a Queen.' - Publishers Weekly on Brief Gaudy Hour

'Rich in detail and flows beautifully, letting readers escape into Anne's court and country life. It is a must read for those who love exploring the dynamic relationships of Henry VIII and his wives.' - Historical Novels Review on My Lady of Cleves

Frequently Bought Together

Mary of Carisbrooke: The Girl Who Would Not Betray Her King + Brief Gaudy Hour: A Novel of Anne Boleyn + Within the Hollow Crown: A Valiant King's Struggle to Save His Country, His Dynasty, and His Love
Price For All Three: CDN$ 38.35

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (March 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402255950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402255953
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #407,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A beautifully written tale blending sweetness and sadness.

About the Author

New York Times bestseller Margaret Campbell Barnes, now deceased, wrote several historical novels, including Brief Gaudy Hour, My Lady of Cleves, King's Fool, The Tudor Rose, Within the Hollow Crown, With All My Heart, Isabel the Fair, The King's Bed, Lady on the Coin, and Mary of Carisbrooke. Her novels have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE END OF THE LINE FOR KING CHARLES I OF ENGLAND.... Feb. 19 2006
By Lawyeraau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a well-written work of historical fiction that is woven around Mary Floyd, a young woman who really lived during the Cromwellian civil war in England in which an embattled King Charles I, the last absolute monarch of England, fought Oliver Cromwell for control of England and for his crown. Mary Floyd lived in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, where her father, Silas Floyd, was sergeant of the garrison of soldiers stationed at the castle, and his sister and Mary's aunt, Drucilla Wheeler, was its housekeeper.

Mary's life was to change considerably when the much beleaguered King Charles I sought succor and refuge at Carisbrooke Castle. Fleeing from his enemies, the Roundheads, as Oliver Cromwell's followers were known, King Charles I hoped that from the relative safety of the castle, he might be able to bargain with Cromwell. Moreover, the islanders were, for the most part, fiercely loyal to the King. Unfortunately, at Carisbrooke Castle the King would ultimately find betrayal. Still, Mary would prove to be a most loyal servant of the King, smuggling letters to and from the King, at great danger to herself.

This is Mary's story, and it is through her eyes that the reader sees the historical events of the time unfold. Cast amidst political intrigues and danger surrounding the last absolute monarch of England, her beautifully crafted story is one that should capture the imagination of all those with an interest in the Stuart dynasty. Rich in period detail and replete with the historical personages that would leave their mark for generations to come, this is a vibrant and well-told story.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mary of Carisbrooke Aug. 19 2011
By MSEreads - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A beautifully written tale blending sweetness and sadness.

Mary is a quiet girl of 17 with a sunny disposition and a helpful nature. Her father is the Sergeant of the Guard at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. Mary helps her Aunt Druscilla who is the housekeeper of the small household. Although they have to deal with the soldiers who came recently from London, the political struggles between the Cromwellian Parliament and King Charles I mean little to Mary and the other Islanders.

Mary's quite life changes when the King, with several faithful retainers, escapes from Hampton Court, and seeks refuge at Carisbrooke Castle. Although the King and his supporters thought he was being granted sanctuary, the Governor is a staunch "servant of Parliament" who promptly sends word to Parliament for instructions on how to handle the King's `visit.'

The story portrays Mary's dedication, gentleness, caring nature and quiet courage. She serves the King with dignity not only as a laundress but also by becoming involved with the intrigue of passing secret letters, planning and helping with escape attempts. Unfortunately, poor planning, problems and betrayal beset the escape efforts and one by one the King's friends are removed from him. Mary becomes a source of comfort listening to his distress and trying to encourage him.

All of the King's men, old and young, find Mary's innocence and steadfastness to be charming. Mary blossoms into womanhood responding to the warm friendship of Harry Firebrace, the Groom of the Bedchamber. One of the other servants of the King, Richard Osborne, who has a bit of a reputation, tries to warn Mary to protect her heart. Meanwhile Mary is threatened by the unwanted attentions of the leering Captain Rolph who is fiercely ambitious and opposed to the King.

The author does a wonderful job setting the tone as I felt a sense of sadness and tragedy even though I did not know how the King's story would end. The characters are developed with unique depths that make them very real, whether likeable or detestable. Some of the characters are caught in the political machinations and their ambivalence is conveyed as they are caught between official duty and private feelings.

The book started a bit slowly but I think that is part of the somber ambiance. It soon picked up and the intrigue, dangers, and personal relationships kept me engaged and wanting to know what happened to the King and to Mary. There are plenty of rich details creating a vivid picture of the Isle and Castle. These enhance the smooth flow of the story. If you enjoy historical fiction don't miss this tender story.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read April 27 2011
By LAS Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If a king were in danger, what would you do to help him? Mary of Carisbrooke, a book by Margaret Campbell Barnes, addresses this question, and in quite an entertaining way. This book is a wonderful historical fiction with a touch of romance.

Mary is a quiet girl working in a castle when her king, Charles I of England, is brought there and imprisoned. Her character is memorable, fully fleshed out with a history, hopes, dreams, love and disappointment. She is so innocent but yet courageous, admirable for the actions she takes in the name of doing what she thinks is right. Some tragic things happen to Mary, and I kept turning pages to find out how she would get through them. Her first love comes into the picture and is developed with a surprising twist. Something unexpected happens.

The writing flows with elegance as the story unfolds. The setting of a mysterious castle is the perfect place for the themes of misfortune, courage, and hope to come about. Some things are universal, some human characters seen throughout the ages, and the author shows this while expertly holding on to the world of the seventeenth century. The characters are relatable. Sides are chosen. Some die for it. Others have their happy endings. Mary's fate is surprising and pleasing.

Readers who know the history of Charles I of England know if the escape attempts are successful or not, but even with this knowledge, there is still great suspense in the story. What happens to those who help the king? Charles's character is written well, giving a glimpse into his human side and inspiring a great empathy for him and his family.

With an intelligent and clear writing style, the story is timeless, a recommended read for fans of historical fiction with a dash of romance.

Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE END OF THE LINE FOR KING CHARLES I OF ENGLAND... Oct. 12 2006
By Lawyeraau - Published on Amazon.com
This is a well-written work of historical fiction that is woven around Mary Floyd, a young woman who really lived during the Cromwellian civil war in England in which an embattled King Charles I, the last absolute monarch of England, fought Oliver Cromwell for control of England and for his crown. Mary Floyd lived in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, where her father, Silas Floyd, was sergeant of the garrison of soldiers stationed at the castle, and his sister and Mary's aunt, Drucilla Wheeler, was its housekeeper.

Mary's life was to change considerably when the much beleaguered King Charles I sought succor and refuge at Carisbrooke Castle. Fleeing from his enemies, the Roundheads, as Oliver Cromwell's followers were known, King Charles I hoped that from the relative safety of the castle, he might be able to bargain with Cromwell. Moreover, the islanders were, for the most part, fiercely loyal to the King. Unfortunately, at Carisbrooke Castle the King would ultimately find betrayal. Still, Mary would prove to be a most loyal servant of the King, smuggling letters to and from the King, at great danger to herself.

This is Mary's story, and it is through her eyes that the reader sees the historical events of the time unfold. Cast amidst political intrigues and danger surrounding the last absolute monarch of England, her beautifully crafted story is one that should capture the imagination of all those with an interest in the Stuart dynasty. Rich in period detail and replete with the historical personages that would leave their mark for generations to come, this is a vibrant and well-told story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read from Campbell Barnes June 16 2011
By H. Rieseck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This story was as much a coming of age story as it was a tale of Charles I while at Carisbrooke Castle. Our main character is Mary, who has lived at the Castle her entire life and can never imagine living anywhere else. The Isle is her life. When Charles I and his entourage show up there looking to hide out she is quickly enveloped in a life very different from what she is used to - a world of intrigue, daring-do, and political machinations. We get to see Mary grow from a very naïve young girl to a young woman who knows what she wants and can take matters into her own hands. I didn't think I was going to like Mary at the beginning of the novel but she grew on me. I think once we got past the super naïve girl I began to enjoy her more. During the story she experiences her first taste of falling in love and her first heartbreak. These scenes were very sweet and developed in a believable manner.

I had never read about King Charles I before this book and I really didn't know what to expect. All I knew was that he was eventually executed. The end portion of his reign is covered in this novel - from the time of his escape to Carisbrooke to his execution. I would have liked to have been given a little bit more background for context purposes to know what led to the divisions between the King and Oliver Cromwell. It was sort of that he just showed up there and you were thrown into it. In terms of the King as a character, he was more of a passive character. All of the other book characters are working to save/rescue him and have conversations about him, but his active role in the novel is rather small. This book was written with a sympathetic view of the King in mind.

This wasn't a very heavy novel but it was full of intrigue and plots of escape that made it a fun read.

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