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The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – November 4, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ms Weir's novel opens with Elizabeth being told of her mother's death in 1536, by her half sister Mary, and takes us through Elizabeth's life until the time when the death of Mary in 1558 makes her Queen of England. Ms Weir addresses three distinct phases in Elizabeth's life: as the daughter of King Henry VIII; the sister of King Edward VI; and the sister of Queen Mary I.
What makes this novel interesting to me, and made the difference between 3 and 4 stars, is the portrayal of the tensions in Elizabeth's life as her status changes. The Elizabeth portrayed by Ms Weir is deeply impacted by events around her and is quick to learn about the relative value of women as daughters, wives and mothers. At the same time, she is aware of the value of learning, the politics of religion and becomes aware of her own role as a pawn in the political marriage stakes. The focus on the early part of her life, while it undoubtedly slows the novel down, is valuable because it illustrates so clearly the insecurity born of uncertainty.
Ms Weir's Lady Elizabeth is an intelligent and complex young woman. The novel is presented within the broad framework of known history and possible (if not always probable) speculation. I enjoyed this novel because I know the historical period well enough to be comfortable with fictional liberties.
The author describes a child attuned to the dangers of court life, frequently chastened by her changing fortunes, sometimes nearly undone by an uncertain fate and no one to trust, save a few loyal souls. Surviving this crucible of uncertainty, Elizabeth develops a second sense for the particular dangers of her position as third heir to the throne after Edward. Joining in like cause when they are illegitimized after Edward's birth, the emotional ties between the sisters are as profound as they are disturbing, veering from deep affection to threat, depending on the circumstances in the court. Elizabeth's unique sense of self-preservation is honed during these years.Read more ›
Alison Weir explores this issue in a new novel covering Elizabeth's life up to her accession. Her mother Anne Boleyn's execution overshadowed her childhood, which was then punctuated by a sequence of stepmothers. Katherine Parr was the only one to last long enough to become like a mother to Elizabeth (the sixth queen narrowly avoided Henry VIII's deadly wrath). Katherine couldn't protect Elizabeth from every torment, though: her last husband Thomas Seymour managed to damage Elizabeth's reputation, and Katherine herself died in childbed. Weir finds the key to Elizabeth's resolve to remain unmarried in these tragedies' effect on her, tragedies inextricably linked with sex and marriage. The most dramatic event along these lines I found to be a bit far-fetched, and Weir has certainly used poetic license for dramatic effect; but other than this and a few other unknowable things, she's very attentive to historical accuracy.
Regarding the question of how Elizabeth came to be the Virgin Queen, this novel's explanation is a bit less illuminating (and more verbose) than nonfiction works like David Starkey's Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne or Alison Weir's own biography of Elizabeth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was kind of like a summary of Queen Elizabeth's early years and how and when she became queen. Pretty violent, but then the violence went with the times. Very well written.Published 22 days ago by barbara deering
I started reading this book because I had originally began reading the sequel, The Marriage Game when I discovered that is was part 2. So i wanted to start with this one. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Erica V
Although a lot of presumptions were in the novel, it was well written. I thought the distance between Elizabeth and Mary a little too much, Mary was not close to her sister but she... Read morePublished 2 months ago by patricia
An interesting book. Put some new insights int the familiar story of the TudorsPublished 3 months ago by Readergirl
I chose after reading Allison's book Elizabeth. I would and do recommend this to anyone who likes Historical fiction. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jan Luton
A wonderfully different take on an amazing Woman. The author took some liberties but it all made sense on how determined Elizabeth was to remain unmarried.Published 3 months ago by debra ann reads
Queen Elizabeth I is a fascinating lady and I loved this book. It would have been fun to have continued her story after she became queen.Published 4 months ago by Carol Evans
There's quite a bit of conjecture in this book, and it delves so nicely with "the Marriage Game" by the same author that one has to remember that the most scandalous parts... Read morePublished 5 months ago by J. Harshbarger