A Question of Guilt: A Novel of Mary Stuart and the Death of Henry Darnley by Julianne Lee


Scottish expatriate Lady Janet de Ros is determined to discover the truth behind what she considers to be the betrayal of Mary Queen of Scots. Days after Mary Stuart’s execution, Lady Janet is beholden to her wealthy English merchant husband to travel to Edinburgh to investigate. Was Mary Stuart indeed guilty of murdering her husband, Henry Darnley and plotting against her cousin, Queen Elizabeth?

The extensive job Julianne Lee did researching the history of Mary Stuart gave this book a definite ambiance of the period. It was easy to become swept away in The Golden Age from Mary Stuart’s point of view. However, even as a history buff, I grew tedious as the story dragged on. It wasn’t quite as fully engaging as I had hoped for.

Even as the author used variances in history that were interesting, the book had a more academic, pragmatic feel to it instead of a page turning more florid quality. I did enjoy the alternate viewpoints this novel engaged in. I think most of us are more familiar with Elizabeth I and her charismatic and popular reign. Although it’s impossible to determine what really happened to Lord Darnley, the author’s carefully considered fictional story was entertaining and the protagonist, Janet de Ros’ conclusions were sound.

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