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“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. 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 superb dual biography. By focusing on the intertwined lives and the contrasting personalities of these two formidable women, Elizabeth and Mary presents a perceptive, suspenseful account of complex English history. By the end of this satisfying book, one feels sympathy for both women, brave queens in an age when ‘no one considered that a woman could effectively rule alone.’” —Elizabeth Hanson, New York Times Book Review