Elizabeth I by Margaret George
Summary: One of today's premier historical novelists, Margaret George dazzles here as she tackles her most difficult subject yet: the legendary Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma-the Virgin Queen who had many suitors, the victor of the Armada who hated war; the gorgeously attired, jewel- bedecked woman who pinched pennies. England's greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was she really like?
In this novel, her flame-haired, lookalike cousin, Lettice Knollys, thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth's rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, the mercurial nobleman who challenged Elizabeth's throne, Lettice had been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood. This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country, and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family and each vying to convince the reader of her own private vision of the truth about Elizabeth's character. Their gripping drama is acted out at the height of the flowering of the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake-all of them swirl through these pages as they swirled through the court and on the high seas.
This is a magnificent, stay-up-all-night page-turner that is George's finest and most compelling novel and one that is sure to please readers of Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, and Hilary Mantel.
Review: A historical fiction novel about Queen Elizabeth that takes place later on in her life.
I have to believe that almost all of the historical fiction books I have read about Queen Elizabeth focus on her early life, both before she was queen and when she was a new queen. A few may have covered time as Elizabeth aged, but I honestly can't remember off hand. This book starts in 1588 with the Armada threatening England. It was a nice change of pace. I had honestly forgotten how much went on later in Elizabeth's realm. I enjoyed the focus on politics. It showed Elizabeth as a ruler, not just a woman who wanted flattery.
Having parts of the story told by Lettice was an interesting choice, but also an apt one. Lettice was the one that took Robert Dudley away from Queen Elizabeth and who was also the mother of Robert, the Earl of Essex who led an unsuccessful rebellion against the queen. I had expected to dislike Lettice, but instead I felt for her. George does a good job of showing the complex personality and psychology that Lettice had, at least in the story. I can't imagine what she went through during her life.
Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy historical fiction about the Tudors and/or Queen Elizabeth.