Summary: Elizabeth’s 1558 coronation procession was met with an extravagant outpouring of love. Only twenty-five years old, the young queen saw herself as their Protestant savior, aiming to provide the nation with new hope, prosperity, and independence from the foreign influence that had plagued her sister Mary’s reign. Given the scars of the Reformation, Elizabeth would need all of the powers of diplomacy and tact she could summon.
Extravagant, witty, and hot-tempered, Elizabeth was the ultimate tyrant. Yet at the outset, in religious matters, she was unfathomably tolerant for her day. “There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith,” Elizabeth once proclaimed. “All else is a dispute over trifles.” Heretic Queen is the highly personal, untold story of how Queen Elizabeth I secured the future of England as a world power. Susan Ronald paints the queen as a complex character whose apparent indecision was really a political tool that she wielded with great aplomb.
Review: An informative and enjoyable read about how politics and religion affected Europe and England.
This book did focus on Elizabeth I, but it was mainly a history of England, Europe, and the religious wars during Queen Elizabeth's I reign. This book won't give you a very good idea of Elizabeth's personality. It does show her disinclination to marry, a desire to have religious tolerance, and how brilliant of a politician she was. Elizabeth I by Anne Somerset is a very good biography of Elizabeth I (although I personally didn't enjoy it much). It is incredibly detailed although a bit dry at times.
Elizabeth I reigned during an incredibly uncertain time. Of course there was tension between the Catholics and the Protestants, but all too often, religion was used as a political tool. It was a bit hard to keep track of all the players, especially since alliances were broken and forged so often. Elizabeth really did an incredible job of keeping England safe from invasion. I also couldn't believe how often Elizabeth brought our the possibility of marriage (or her marriage card as the book called it) to keep the peace. How long could people possibly keep believing that she would marry? I guess they really just hoped she would since it was unnatural for a woman to rule on her own.
Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those interested in Elizabeth I's reign or religious history during the 16th century.