Yet another deceiving title from Dunn as The Queen’s Sorrow and cover illustration as well as the synopsis on the back cover elude to this being the story of Mary Tudor, on her ascension to the throne. The story is told through the eyes of a Spanish sundial maker, Rafael, and actually is his story. Though Queen Mary is a central figure that the reader encounters briefly throughout the novel it is not her sorrow that we encounter but really that of Rafael. Perhaps the novel would be redeemed if Rafael wasn’t a pathetic, naïve man who has known great pain, but in turn, and perhaps because of it, causes great pain to many others.
I, like many other reviewers, waited for the story to turn to Mary and it never did which was so disappointing. I had hoped for some insight into Mary, a women I long to understand, but Dunn fell far short of exploring the Queen’s sorrow.
Ultimately I must say that after my last encounter with Dunn’s work in The Sixth Wife, and my research on Dunn herself who claims not to be a writer of historical fiction, I have concluded that she merely uses a historical setting in which to construct her novels of pure fiction and would go so far as to say that the misleading titles and allusions to historical figures are merely a ruse to grab readers of historical fiction for her own gain. Therefore, I cannot imagine reading anything by Suzannah Dunn again and would recommend that anyone who enjoys true historical fiction not waste his or her time either.