Title: The Lady Elizabeth
Author: Alison Weir
Summary from Goodreads:
The early life of Lady Elizabeth, the woman destined to be Queen Elizabeth I, is the subject of Alison Weir’s second historical novel. In Weir’s vivid rendering, the princess by birth emerges as a youthful alert witness to Tudor court intrigues and feuds. As in Innocent Traitor, the novelist peoples her narrative with sharply etched leaders competing for power and personal gain. A singular view of the flowering of a great monarch.
I have to admit that I went into this novel somewhat timidly. I like historical fiction, but sometimes it can be too heavy. However, this is a novel that held my attention, which is especially remarkable considering that it was on audio and my mind tends to wander during audiobooks.
That being said, I really enjoyed this book. We learn so much about Queen Elizabeth in history classes, but not a lot has to do with her early life. I was happy to learn that this all had to do with her life before she became Queen. It was really interesting watching the relationship between the young Elizabeth and the 20-year old Mary grow and then tragic when it disintegrated. It is always said when you see outside sources tear apart what had once been a great friendship.
I also appreciate that Alison Weir tried to stick as closely to the facts as possible, while also adding some conjectures and sub-plots into the book. I feel so much more educated on who Elizabeth was and what made her into the Queen she became. Because of this book, I actually spent some time researching her early life online.
I don’t want to give anything away that happens in the book but I celebrated with her in her moments of triumph and I mourned with her in her moments of sadness. I can only imagine what it must have been like to live such a public life knowing that people were spying on you and at any moment, the smallest thing you said might be used against you and you might be killed for treason. I can only imagine what it was like to have everything about you held against you because of the sins of your mother.
I had only one critique about this book and that is that at times, it was hard to keep track of how old Elizabeth was and how much time had passed. It would have been nice if something along that line had been at the start of chapters or something. There would be times when it would be like “What? She is 14, I thought she was 10.” and that would be very offsetting. In addition, there would be times when you knew that it had been five years (because that is what history says) but there is no mention how much time had passed and so you are left feeling discombobulated. But overall, it was a great novel and that is only a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.
If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. It will change the way you look at the Virgin Queen and it will educate you in what it was truly like to be a royal female in the 1600s.