“I can’t read historical fiction because I find the real thing so much more interesting.”




Mary Queen of Scots, after François Cloutier, Wikipedia



The above quote is from Antonia Fraser, renowned for her historical biographies on (to name a few):  Mary Queen of Scots; Cromwell, the Lord Protector; King James VI of Scotland, 1 of England; King Charles II; The Weaker Vessel: Woman’s lot in 17th century England;  The Warrior Queens;  The Wives of Henry VIII; Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot; Marie Antoinette; Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King; Perilous Question: The Drama of the Great Reform Bill of 1832.

In addition, she has written a series of mystery novels (Jemima Shore), memoirs, contributed to anthologies and edited books. She was also newsworthy for her relationship with Harold Pinter, the exceptionally influential British dramatist. For her services to literature, she has received the title Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE).

With a bibliography of 36 publications, so far, Helle Kraav explained Antonia Fraser’s incredible output being, in part, a gift of being able to speed read at a very young age. She grew up in a home where debate and discussion abounded. She was encouraged to have limitless imagination and ambition. She was allowed to read anything at hand. Her fame took off in 1969 with the publication of Mary Queen of Scots. Using original documents and her own research, she wanted readers to see Mary in the context of the times she lived. Fraser’s factual research on historical figures and events has stood the test of time.

Don’t miss Helle Kraav’s summary of Antonia Fraser, here.

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