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When I wrote my book The Winter Queen, I was very intrigued by the hero's cousin Celia Sutton!  She seemed so unhappy, so haunted, and I wanted to know why.  I wanted to know what had happened to her, and what it would take to make her believe in love again.

I so enjoyed spending time with her and her yummy hero in Tarnished Rose!  I also loved researching the story's winter setting and learning more about Mary Queen of Scots, one of the most interesting and enduring figures of the period.  I knew quite a bit about her later life in English captivity, but not much about her time in Scotland after she returned there from France.  It was fascinating to read about this time in her very complicated and tragic life, and very, very hard not to shout warnings at her not to marry Darnley!  Historical figures never listen...

Her life really does slide into disaster after her marriage and the events in my book, just as Queen Elizabeth predicted.  For a detailed look at the events surrounding her second marriage and its quick and violent unraveling, I like Alison Weir's Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley.

Celia and John's part in this story is fiction, of course, but a lot of what happens to them and the people they meet are based in historical fact.  Mary and Darnley, Elizabeth and Burghley (and their disagreements about Mary's marriage!), Mary's “fours Maries,” the terrible weather on Darnley's winter journey to Scotland, Mary's efforts to recreate the elegant French court in the rougher environs of Scotland, her religious feud with John Knox, even her outings into the city dressed as a man, are all facts I loved incorporating into this story.

If you'd like to read more about the period, here are a few sources I found useful in researching this book:

  • John Guy, The True Life of Mary Stewart, Queen of Scotland (2004)

  • J. Keith Cheetham, On the Trail of Mary Queen of Scots (1999)

  • Roderick Graham, The Life of Mary Queen of Scots: And Accidental Tragedy (2009)

  • Antonia Fraser, Mary Queen of Scots (1969)

  • G. Donaldson, All the Queen's Men: Power and Politics in Mary Stewart's Scotland (1983)

  • Jane Dunn, Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens (2003)

  • Caroline Bingham, Darnley: A Life of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Consort of Mary Queen of Scots (1995)

  • Alison Plowden, Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stewart: Two Queens in One Isle (1984)

  • JS Richardson, The Abbey and Palace of Holyroodhouse (1978)

 

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