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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight on England's best queen
If you enjoy learning about the British monarchy, especially the Tudors, you will love this novel. Although fiction, the novel gives excellent insight into the rule of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and, of course, Elizabeth I. It also is rich on detail about life at the time, from the use of cosmetics to palace life to fashion to food.

The novel also gives a...
Published on July 20, 2006 by JET

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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was E R really a simpering, vapid woman?
Argh, as a reader of historical fiction I was really looking forward to this book and it is only about 30% actual history and the rest is Elizabeth's vapid moaning about (a) men she loves, (b) men who love her, (c) catty other women, (d) men she loves, and so on. By the end of the book (around age 60) she is showing herself as a ruler who is being led by her heart, not...
Published on August 5, 2004 by Kaleidocherry


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight on England's best queen, July 20, 2006
By 
JET (Parker, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: I, Elizabeth: A Novel (Paperback)
If you enjoy learning about the British monarchy, especially the Tudors, you will love this novel. Although fiction, the novel gives excellent insight into the rule of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and, of course, Elizabeth I. It also is rich on detail about life at the time, from the use of cosmetics to palace life to fashion to food.

The novel also gives a voice to one of England's greatest and most fascinating monarchs. It is impossible to know how accurate Miles' portrayal is in terms of Elizabeth's emotions, motivations, etc., but she strictly follows historical events, even including small factual events, such as Elizabeth's inscription on Dudley's (Earl of Leicester) last letter and several important quotes ("This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes..."). The novel also includes handy family trees at the beginning and a list of "persons of my history" at the end for reference.

I agree with other reviewers who noted that much time was spent on Elizabeth's favorites, including Thomas Seymour, Robert Dudley, and the Earl of Essex, but it is true that these men were the queen's favorites, even if they may or may not have been lovers. The queen is portrayed as a silly, flirty thing at times, but mostly it appears as if she never loses sight of who she is. She is also portrayed, in turns, as vain, brilliant, jealous, clever, manipulative, etc., all attributes of a person, even a queen.

A few criticisms of mine include that the portrayal of Elizabeth's relationship with Seymour was only partly factual. That he invaded her bedroom regularly to tickle her and kiss her was true, but I have read that she was not besotted with him, but rather annoyed at his attentions, so much that she asked to be sent away. Also, I did get tired of the long tug of war with the Earl of Essex, since Elizabeth the narrator mentions multiple times that she had no feeling for him, he was dead to her, she felt nothing, she felt only coldness for him, she realized he was a traitor, etc. after each of his progressively more dangerous escapades, but it takes a truly drastic act to make her fully return to her role as queen with him rather than woman (which, as with everything, follows historical events, but the details of her emotions seem especially exaggerated for dramatic value at this point). The end of the relationship in the novel does bring a twist of her reasons for acting as she did, which imply that she knew what she was doing all along and somewhat redeem the repetition of her feeling nothing, then being in love, then feeling nothing again.

Overall, the reader cannot expect this novel to be the embodiment of the real Elizabeth's voice, thoughts, and feelings, but it is as good of a surmise as any, and it is pleasurable to imagine her voice in the novel as real. The novel's other great value comes in the form of the historical facts I detailed earlier, giving the reader a fascinating look at the Tudors and life at the time.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was E R really a simpering, vapid woman?, August 5, 2004
By 
Kaleidocherry (Seattle Eastside) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: I, Elizabeth: A Novel (Paperback)
Argh, as a reader of historical fiction I was really looking forward to this book and it is only about 30% actual history and the rest is Elizabeth's vapid moaning about (a) men she loves, (b) men who love her, (c) catty other women, (d) men she loves, and so on. By the end of the book (around age 60) she is showing herself as a ruler who is being led by her heart, not her mind, with consequences for England that were not the best.

Due to the excessive discussions of love and romance in this book I'd be more tempted to classify it as a romance novel than historical fiction.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabethan England Comes Alive!, December 28, 1998
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This review is from: I, Elizabeth (Paperback)
A fast paced, although lengthy, first person narrative showcasing the complexities and intrigues surrounding Elizabeth's rise to power. Her loves, her enemies, her triumphs and failures, they are all here. A compelling,"I can't put it down" read. Historical fiction is a super interesting way to supplement drier biographical approaches. An enormously fascinating and emotionally evocative drama. Her life was amazing. I loved this book!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, February 29, 2000
By 
This review is from: I, Elizabeth (Paperback)
I am a Briton and a history buff, especially of my country. Elizabeth is one of the most fascinating women of history, British or otherwise, and I loved this personal insight into the extreme pressure of being a queen. From her speeches about Robin Dudley, to her worries about her face and body as she gets older to the threat of the Armada, this is a wonderful book, all around. Vive la reine!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very hard to put down!, April 10, 2004
By 
Michelle (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Elizabeth: A Novel (Paperback)
I am so happy I found this book, which was by accident. About 6 years ago I read several biographies of ER (Including the very good one by Alison Weir) but found myself unable to remember a lot of the details a few years later - I remember Dudley but not his title (Leicester) and didn't he have a son or something that ER also doted on? (Robert Devereux, his stepson from his marriage to Lettice Knollys). Now after reading this wonderful novel I feel that I "know" the historical people and can never forget them or the timeline. I also feel as though I "know" ER - biographies based on 3rd person accounts will always be a bit of a caricature but this book let me imagine what she might have been like as a person.
There are many good novels featuring ER, including "The Queen's Fool" and the mysteries by Patricia Finney. This one was very, very hard to put down. I would rate is as best among them, and that is saying a lot. If you suffered under the 1998 Movie "Elizabeth" and it's silly fiction then this book is the antidote. It is readable, intelligent and highlights the inherently interesting life that ER lived. If you loved the movie and are looking for something more, you may or may not like this book. The author takes some liberties since it is a novel, but she remains true to the timeline and actual people who lived during that time. There is so much of interest in ER's life that there is little need to embellish the tale by making up new characters, moving the timeline around and adding absurdities such as poisoned dresses.
This novel will give the reader a firm feel of the history and biography of ER, and those looking for more facts should check out Alison Wier's bio, and those looking for more entertainment will enjoy the 6 part series starring Glenda Jackson, which is also true to facts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money. In fact, don't even waste your library card., June 4, 2011
This review is from: I, Elizabeth: A Novel (Paperback)
This book was one of the most horribly written historical fictions I have ever had the misfortune of stumbling upon, and I am shocked that it has received good ratings whatsoever.

The author has a worse writing style than Stephanie Meyer; she is full of flowery prose and has Elizabeth either screaming or gasping every time she speaks. The queen, according to Miles, is obsessed with various men and their bodies and jeopardizes her kingdom in order to impress them. The tense and viewpoint frequently jump back and forth, and Miles muddles the various characters and lords of Elizabeth's kingdom to such an extent that half the time you have no idea who you are reading about--just that yet someone else has been killed.

The dialogue seemed to come almost straight from the film "Elizabeth" and "Elizabeth:The Golden Age"--to such an extent that I was literally shocked. There are no references whatsoever in the book; the plot of Elizabeth's life is handled so poorly that I found myself slogging through the novel just to say I had finished it.

The entire thing was 600+ pages of pure torture for me and will be for those who are well read and can recognize who is a good author and who is not. Please do not waste your money, library card, or time on this book. I miss the several hours of my life that I spent reading this when I could have been reading something good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth!, January 11, 2004
By 
Someone Special (Middleton, WI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Elizabeth: A Novel (Paperback)
Elizabeth is probably, without argument, the greatest queen of all time. She had the most cunning mind of her time. What we know of her is that she was the best ruler of England (king or queen) that the country has seen. Even Queen Victoria doesn't seem to really compare. But in Miles's book Elizabeth is portrayed, not as a stern queen, but as a woman with emotions and desires. Her scandalous relationship with Robert Dudley is shown as a genuine affection between them. Even Elizabeth's attitude towards her troublesome cousin, Mary of Scots didn't seem to be very harsh. When asked to sign her death notice, Elizabeth hesitated for many months and even years before she went through with it. She had compassion towards family; she restored all the titles her Boleyn side of the family lost when her mother was executed. In general she seemed like an actually human being. But I rated this book four stars instead of five because, despite of the excellent reviews, the book was just not very interesting. I was surprised, since Miles has written excellent books about Guenevere. A much better book, written by Margaret George would have done Elizabeth justice.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A story that could use a pick-me-up, September 1, 2003
This review is from: I, Elizabeth: A Novel (Paperback)
As I read this book, I was compairing it to the only Tudor book or book placed during that period of time that I had read so far- The Other Boelyn Girl. The Boelyn Girl book was one of the best books I've read- ever. I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book on the other hand was very dry. Very dry.
I was disappointed when reading this book, at several stages I had to urge myself to "plug along". It was not for total waste, the book did have some shining points. I guess it lacked most of the suspense and mystery that The Boelyn Girl had. And certainly I agree with the other reviewer that the only character that we really got to know, (her thoughts) was Elizabeth herself. It might have been helpful to get more insight on others.
The book was very detailed and I give the author a huge thanks for printing in the back a glossary of "cast members". It came in handy, especially when one person could be and was called 4 different names, which made it hard to keep things straight.
I know this book was fiction, but less fiction than the Boelyn Girl, which could be what made it a little less exciting to read. So, I guess that's a plus and a minus in it's own way. If you are interested in Elizabeth, I would still recommend this book, but also with the warning that it's not fast paced. In it's own right it is worth the time to someone who's hobby is learning about this era.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit overwrought, March 3, 2006
This review is from: I, Elizabeth: A Novel (Paperback)
I am about three-quarters of the way through this one and may not make it. The first 100 pages or so are quite promising and depict Elizabeth's early life in an entertaining and mostly believeable way. Unfortunately, as the narrative continues, Ms. Miles becomes overly fascinated with the young Elizabeth's raging hormones and by the middle of the book I was weary of reading elaborately detailed passages regarding finger kissing and moonlight. Miles almost seems to be titillating herself with her rhapsodic descriptions of Elizabeth's amours. It strains credulity that England's greatest female ruler was such a ninny and was so tyrannized by her love life. Major political events and social movements of the time - fascinating in themselves - are hurried over in favor of far too much emphasis on the Queen's affairs of the heart. At this point, the book has pretty much devolved into a romance novel. Granted, Elizabeth's personal life doubtless played some role in her history; however, her intellect, shrewdness, diplomatic savvy and enlightened outlook are overshadowed here by too many gallops through the woods and clandestine rendezvous in the Privy Chamber. This is not a work for the serious minded.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest imaginative novels ever, April 2, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: I, Elizabeth: A Novel (Paperback)
So much has been written about Elizabeth I that unless you're an academic, you would not have time to read every book about her life. But you don't have to. Rosalind Miles' I, ELIZABETH is that rare thing--a historical novel that transcends the genre to become a classic of contemporary fiction.
Rosalind Miles is perhaps best known for her Arthurian novels, the Guenevere trilogy and the Isolde trilogy. But I, ELIZABETH is perhaps her finest work. It is meticulously researched (in addition to her impressive work as a novelist, the author is also a credentialed scholar and historian) and beautifully written in the voice of the great queen herself. Few other "memoirs" have equaled this one in capturing the essence of a legendary historical figure. Margaret George's classic THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII is the only other one that comes to mind, and perhaps it's no coincidence that Elizabeth, his daughter is just as intriguing as he was, if not more. For a woman who outshone the great kings of her day and whose reign is still acknowleged 400 years later as a golden era in Europe's history, Elizabeth was also a humane, cunning, humorous and vulnerable person, as evidenced by her writings and contemporary accounts. Rosalind Miles brings to life both sides of the woman in a novel that is by turns touching, funny, poignant, tragic and triumphant. It speaks to readers today in a way that few historical novels do.
This is truly a masterpiece, and one for the ages. You are not likely to find another such book anytime soon.
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I, Elizabeth: A Novel
I, Elizabeth: A Novel by Rosalind Miles (Paperback - March 25, 2003)
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