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Royally Good

  • Jun 16, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+3
The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir begins with a not quite three year old Elizabeth being told by her older sister Mary that Elizabeth's mother is dead at the hands of their father, the King. This shattering event becomes a shadow that will hang over Elizabeth throughout her life and shape the wily young woman and future queen that she will become.

Ms. Weir takes us through Elizabeth's life from the time of the death of her mother, Anne Boleyn, until the day she ascends the throne of England upon the death of her older sister Mary. Elizabeth's life is always tense and she often finds herself caught up in intrigues that are none of her making. Anyone familiar with Elizabeth will know how these events eventually turn out yet Ms. Weir is able to weave the tales with a sense of urgency and an edge of fear of the unknown. While the author's take on some of the details of Elizabeth's life are pure fabrication (as she mentions in her author's notes), so seamlessly does she create the atmosphere that I found myself able to believe things just might have happened that way. As one who is a stickler for historical accuracy, I must applaud Ms. Weir for being able to give a new spin to an old, old tale and make it convincing.

The novel started off a bit slow; the details of Elizabeth's very early years, while essential to show how her character was shaped, did tend to err on the side of overkill at times. However, by the time Elizabeth's father dies and she arrives on her step-mother's doorstep, I was so hooked that I literally could not put the book down. My biggest complaint is Weir's incessant need to throw in her dislike of Richard III in some way in every one of her books when his presence or mention is unncessary and a distraction. However, excellent writing and research more than make up for any minor qualms I had. Historical fiction that actually should rate 4.5 stars for quality. Recommended!

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More The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel reviews
review by . April 28, 2008
The imperious Elizabeth Tudor intuits her destiny long before the crown is delivered to her hands in 1558. In 1536, the tiny red-haired princess is but three years old, already acutely aware that she is her father's beloved daughter. As step-sister to Mary, daughter of Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine of Aragon, Elizabeth is much like her own intelligent, curious and driven mother, Anne Boleyn. Through separated by a number of years, the half-sisters retain an affectionate relationship; but with …
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Weir (Innocent Traitor) lends her considerable historical knowledge to the early years of England's famous queen in this absorbing second novel. The tale chronicles the life of Elizabeth I from her early childhood to her coronation, through the final years of her father, Henry VIII, and the brief reigns of her siblings, Edward VI and Queen Mary. Renowned for her "mercurial temperament" and "formidable intelligence," in Weir's account Elizabeth spends her childhood shuttling between royal estates and preparing for life as a "great lady" after she is stripped of her position as successor to the British throne following the execution of her mother, Anne Boleyn. As Elizabeth grows, her progressive views on women's roles, religion, and politics take shape-including her legendary vow never to marry, forged through observation of others' relationships as well as a painful first-hand brush with romance at age fourteen. Weir's Elizabeth is nuanced and enchanting, and the author lends a refreshing perspective to well-known characters and events in British history, such as the fates of her father's six wives and the brief reign of Lady Jane Grey, the subject of her first historical novel. History buffs will enjoy this entertaining look into the rarely explored early life of one of England's most fascinating characters.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0345495357
ISBN-13: 978-0345495358
Author: Alison Weir
Publisher: Ballantine Books

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