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  • Embroidering Her Truth

  • Mary, Queen of Scots and the Language of Power
  • By: Clare Hunter
  • Narrated by: Siobhan Redmond
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Summary

An alternative biography of Mary, Queen of Scots through the textiles of her life from the author of Sunday Times best seller Threads of Life

I felt that Mary was there, pulling at my sleeve, willing me to appreciate the artistry, wanting me to understand the dazzle of the material world that shaped her.

At her execution Mary, Queen of Scots wore red. Widely known as the colour of strength and passion, it was in fact worn by Mary as the Catholic symbol of martyrdom. 

In 16th-century Europe, women's voices were suppressed and silenced. Even for a queen like Mary, her prime duty was to bear sons. In an age when textiles expressed power, Mary exploited them to emphasise her female agency. From her lavishly embroidered gowns as the prospective wife of the French Dauphin to the fashion dolls she used to encourage a Marian style at the Scottish court and the subversive messages she embroidered in captivity for her supporters, Mary used textiles to advance her political agenda, affirm her royal lineage and tell her own story. 

In this eloquent cultural biography, Clare Hunter exquisitely blends history, politics and memoir to tell the story of a queen in her own voice. 

©2022 Clare Hunter (P)2022 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Fabulous

This book caught my eye - and then every page I read gripped me . I’ve long been fascinated by the story of Mary Queen of Scots, but this is a refreshing new look at her from an entirely different angle, it really did give me insight into her life, the information was carefully stitched into a story which revealed the power of textile art…… I am not somebody who would have previously thought about reading a book concerning the interpretation and value of textiles– it has probably been one of my best decisions with regards to reading this year .
You will find the story and the narration fascinating. A great read for a historian who would like something a little different – or for anyone who is interested in Mary Queen of Scots . This reveals aspects of Mary which are not covered in your standard biographies or textbooks.

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Brilliant

What a huge amount of research. Bought the period to life. Bought a lot more insight

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A surprisingly moving biography

This is a fascinating insight into the period and what it was to be a supposedly powerful woman. I found the detail of the material history surrounding Mary so interesting and the relationship between her and Elizabeth very moving. It is incredibly well written, with hunour and empathy, and I enjoyed the narration as well.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-04-22

It's a fashion history book much more then Mary's.

I loved the performance, so it's 5/5.

As for a storyline, it's all around justifying often incompetent and in most cases openly stupid desisions of Mary Stuart. Some parts where author criticizes Elizabeth and tries to show Mary as a martyr made me cringe. In the last chapters where the story went around Mary's capitivity and her plotting against Elizabeth despite author's tries it was clear that Mary wasn't innocent at all and such were the laws at that time: she committed treason and she paid for it. I stopped listening to the book where author says that Elizabeth's rights to the throne were dubious when Mary was a rightful monarch. Seriously?

The book is too biased to be called a proper history book, but as a costume historian and specialist I do give credits for a very interesting insight to fashion, costume construction, embroidery and hidden meanings in each detail people wore back in those days. 2/5

Overall I recommend this book to people who are interested in fashion history, not in history of Mary Queen of Scots.