Customer Review

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Captures Its Subject, May 14, 2004
This review is from: Lilibet: An Intimate Portrait of Elizabeth II (Hardcover)
Initially, I was wary of reading this book. I thought it had a pretty cover and a relatively intriguing title, but didn't figure that Elizabeth II would be anyone who was fascinating enough to write about. But nonetheless, envisioning a book filled with an agonizingly boring chronicle of this seemingly "deadly dull" woman's life, I began "Lilibet."
And was I ever in for a surprise! Carolly Erickson has done an outstanding job with this biography and completely captured the essence of this queen. The pages keep turning, and it is one of the highest compliments I can give to a biography to say that it "reads" like a good novel-I can certainly say that in this case. Chronicling the Queen's life from birth until 2002, Erickson uses a winning "formula" to ensure a satisfyingly complex character portrait.
Granted, the simple factual matter of "Lilbet" was admirable. Yet other characteristics make "Lilibet" so enjoyable. First, I enjoyed the quotes/testimonials from the queen and others that Erickson used. It sometimes seems in a biography that the quotes chosen are unremarkable and cliche, yet "Lilibet" includes sparklingly memorable quotes from those who know Elizabeth as well as intriguing "morsels" from the queen herself.
Furthermore, "Lilibet" was enhanced by the way English history (and crucial royal family events) were woven into the story line. These happenings are presented to the reader in a clear and interesting manner, and as said, they add richness to the story. Time and time again, Erickson deftly shows how events like the World War 2, the Wallis Simpson incident, and the scandals recently plaguing the royal family played their part in the life of the Queen.
But best of all, the author shows excellent psychological insights during her writing. When I think about why exactly I found this book so fascinating, I realize that it was due in part to the sharply intelligent analysis of Lilibet's character. Erickson does not portray the queen as a "whitened" saint or as a cruel elderly woman-she seems to understand and empathize with the queen's character enough to see both the good and the bad in it.
Solid facts, expert inclusion of history and background information, memorable psychological insight, and just plain an interesting read! What an EXCELLENT biography!
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