Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise by Melanie Clegg


‘I may be big in person,’ she said to have observed with her usual wry humour, ‘but my neck is small.’

I first heard about this book on Lil’s YouTube channel (Lil’s Vintage World) and knew there and then that this was definitely a book I would like to read. I was so intrigued with this book and it subject: Marie de Guise that I got in touched with the publisher Pen and Sword they were kind enough to send me a copy. So, once again I would like to thank Alex at Pen and Sword for being so kind and sending me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise was written by Melanie Clegg and was first published in 2016. The book centres on (Official blurb): “Although Mary, Queen of Scots continues to fascinate both historians and the general public alike, the story of her mother, Marie de Guise, is much less well known. A political power in her own right, she was born into the powerful and ambitious Lorraine family, spending her formative years at the dazzling and licentious court of Francois I. Although briefly courted by Henry VIII, she instead married his nephew, James V of Scotland, in 1538. James’ premature death four years later left their six day old daughter, Mary, as Queen and presented Marie with the formidable challenge of winning the support of the Scottish people and protecting her daughter’s threatened birthright. Content until now to remain in the background and play the part of the obedient wife, Marie spent the next eighteen years effectively governing Scotland, devoting her considerable intellect, courage and energy to safeguarding her daughter’s inheritance by using a deft mixture of cunning, charm, determination and tolerance. The last serious biography of Marie de Guise was published in 1977 and whereas plenty of attention has been paid to the mistakes of her daughter’s eventful but brief reign, the time has come for a fresh assessment of this most fascinating and under appreciated of sixteenth century female rulers.”

First of all I would like to say that Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise is a brilliant biography on a woman who unfortunately in many cases is forgotten by history. This biography and the period of history that it covers and discusses are just fascinating. From the very beginning this book was well-written, thoroughly compelling and completely engrossing.

It is such a shame that this remarkable woman was largely forgotten by history especially being that she played many important parts and roles within the events and society of this time period. Marie was such an important figure of her time; she was an intelligent woman with a great sense of duty towards her family and her adoptive country. Melanie Clegg has written a brilliant biography on such an under-rated and extraordinary woman she shows how fascinating Marie de Guise is in her own right and how worthy she is.

This long overdue biography of Scotland’s forgotten regent shows how one woman continued to show how powerful and extraordinary she could be and was, especially in such a turbulent and bloody period of Scottish history. Marie de Guise definitely deserves to be remembered and not neglected like she has been so far.

Melanie Clegg’s biography on Marie de Guise is most definitely history at its best. It has everything in a biography that I could wish for so much so that I didn’t want it to end and I certainly didn’t want to say goodbye to Marie. Since reading this biography Marie has now become one of my favourite historical female figures.

The last thing I would like to say about this book is that I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this period of history, wanting to learn more about events that occurred then or simply want to find out and learn about such a kick-ass historical female figure. This book will definitely be on my top read favourite books of 2017.

She was determined that from that point forward, she would be mistress of her own fate.


The edition was published by Pen and Sword History (2016)

(The Image is my own please do not copy/take without permission first)



2 responses to “Scourge of Henry VIII: The Life of Marie de Guise by Melanie Clegg

  1. Lovely review! I hadn’t heard of this before reading your post, but it looks fascinating and that cover is completely gorgeous. I’m trying to read more nonfiction, especially historical nonfiction, this summer while I’m on break, so perhaps I’ll give this one a go. 🙂


    • Awww thank you hun 🙂 I would definitely recommend this book I absolutely loved it and Marie de Guise was definitely one badass lady. I can’t wait to read more of Melanie’s work. If you do happen to pick it up and give it a read please do let me know what you thought of it 🙂


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