Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bess Like You’ve Never Seen Her Before

Young Bess by Margaret Irwin

Summary: Growing up in the shadow of her dead mother, the infamous Anne Boleyn, young Princess Elizabeth has learnt to be continuously on the watch for the political games played out around her. It is never certain when one might rise, or precariously fall, out of royal favor. When her distant father, Henry VIII, dies, the future brightens for Elizabeth. She is able to set up a home with Henry's last wife, Katherine Parr who now has a new husband, Tom Seymour. Tom, however, is playing a risky game. Marrying a widowed queen is one thing, flirting with the King's daughter and second in line to the throne is another. As the adolescent Elizabeth finds herself dangerously attracted to him, danger encroaches upon herself and the kingdom...

Review: An enjoyable but somewhat forgettable historical fiction novel about Queen Elizabeth’s early years.

I read this book right after I read another book, The Redheaded Princess, about Queen Elizabeth’s early years. This book did not go as far in time as The Redheaded Princess did. I liked the Elizabeth in this book much better. She was portrayed as a very human character that had an air of mystery about her that few could seem to understand. Her relationship with Tom Seymour was well done and it felt like Tom was just a man who had fallen for a young woman, not the power hungry man desiring to wed a future queen.

I really liked getting the viewpoints of a number of characters, especially the Lord Protector. I had never thought of him as a henpecked husband before. It was amazing the amount of sympathy for him. He was trying to do the right thing by the people, but kept getting blocked at every turn. Edward was rather bratty and thought much too highly of himself. The author probably took great liberties with the characters and their personalities, but I enjoyed the differentness of it all.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy historical fiction about Queen Elizabeth, queens, or the Tudors.

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