From Publishers Weekly
In yet another zesty retelling of English history, Maxwell (The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn; The Queen's Bastard) chronicles the sexual development of Elizabeth I known as the Virgin Queen during her volatile teenage years. Banished after the beheading of her mother, Anne Boleyn, princess Elizabeth leaves court life until Henry VIII's last wife, Catherine Parr, brings her back into her father's good graces. Upon Henry's death, Elizabeth's nine-year-old brother, Edward, ascends the throne, and Catherine soon marries lusty, ambitious Thomas Seymour. Thomas's attempts to seduce Elizabeth both confuse and excite her. Meanwhile, at court, the boy king rules only in theory, as his unscrupulous uncle and guardian wields the power. After the suspicious death of Catherine and despite the warnings of her friend Robin Dudley, Elizabeth falls for Thomas, a one-dimensional bad boy motivated by a simplistic plan to overthrow the king and marry Elizabeth in order to capture the crown for himself. In an atmosphere of power wresting and backstabbing, young Elizabeth matures through suffering, learning how to be a successful queen. Maxwell's interpretation of Thomas's aggressive attempts at seduction puts a new, plausible spin on period speculation. In an epilogue, she admits that only writers of historical fiction can fill a "hole in history," in this case by imagining Elizabeth's secret compliance and eventual disillusionment. While the prose lacks the nuance of her earlier work, Maxwell is a skillful writer, and this thoroughly adult novel about a pubescent princess's dangerous romantic missteps depicts an intriguing slice of Elizabethan history. 6-city author tour. (June)Forecast: An arresting cover picture of the young Elizabeth will draw readers to this book, allotted a first printing of 25,000; Maxwell's reputation as a lively and dramatic writer will supply name recognition; and the perennial fascination of the Virgin Queen should earn brisk sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When King Henry VIII dies, 13-year-old Elizabeth moves to the estate of Henry's kind and generous widow, the Queen Dowager Catherine Parr, who provides well for her stepchild. Surrounded by loved ones such as Catherine, Kat Ashley, and her dear friend Robin Dudley, Elizabeth is quite happy. This contentment is short-lived, however, for within months the Lord High Admiral Thomas Seymour courts and marries the queen, taking up residence at the estate. Handsome, charismatic Seymour effortlessly conceals his manipulative, evil nature until the lives of those in the household are forever changed. Elizabeth herself, under Seymour's influence, experiences a powerful adolescent sexual awakening and cannot seem to avoid indiscretion and political intrigue. Elizabeth I has recently enjoyed renewed interest, but this chapter of her life is generally ignored. Virgin, the third in Maxwell's series (The Queen's Bastard, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn) is tense, absorbing, highly entertaining, and recommended for all public libraries. Jean Langlais, St. Charles P.L., IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.