With the novelistic vividness that made his National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Queen of Scots a pure pleasure to read” (Washington Post BookWorld), John Guy brings to life Thomas More and his daughter Margaret his confidante and collaborator who played a critical role in safeguarding his legacy.
Sir Thomas More’s life is well known: his opposition to Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, his arrest for treason, his execution and martyrdom. Yet Margaret has been largely airbrushed out of the story in which she played so important a role. John Guy restores her to her rightful place in this captivating account of their relationship.
Always her father’s favorite child,Margaret was such an accomplished scholar by age eighteen that her work earned praise from Erasmus. She remained devoted to her father after her marriageand paid the price in estrangement from her husband.When More was thrown into the Tower of London,Margaret collaborated with him on his most famous letters from prison, smuggled them out at great personal risk, even rescued his head after his execution. John Guy returns to original sources that have been ignored by generations of historians to create a dramatic new portrait of both Thomas More and the daughter whose devotion secured his place in history.
You alone have long known the secrets to my heart, affirmed Sir Thomas More to his eldest daughter, Margaret (1505 1544), shortly before his execution for defying Henry VIII. Guy (NBCC award winner for Queen of Scots) describes the Catholic More as a witty and flawed man: a future martyr who condemned others to be burned at the stake, who educated his daughter (Erasmus himself paid tribute to her for correcting his Latin) yet warned that women should not seek recognition for their intellectual work because it resulted in infamy. Yet Meg s deep intellectual and religious kinship with her father ultimately strengthened More while in prison despite his crushing fears of suffering. Using extensive sources, Guy provides unprecedented insight into this intense relationship. Ironically, since More segregated his private and professional lives, there is less information about his relationship with Margaret during his years of ambition in the Tudor court, but Guy reveals an invaluable perspective on Henry VIII s political and religious machinations. Because of Margaret s dedication to her father and her own intellectual endeavors, More s body of work was saved, preserving his memory, reputation and martyrdom. Illus.