I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again- I have a soft spot for historical fiction. Even more so when it comes to royals. The world then (as portrayed by the author of course, with historical accuracy in mind) fascinates me, with the glamor and romance of court, the dramatic titles and arranged marriages, the drama of treason and penalty. It’s easy for my imagination to get carried away into the words, lost in time.
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As you can tell by the title, this novel follows a portion of the life of Queen Elizabeth I. Known as the Virgin Queen, ruler and “married” to her country of England and Ireland, she was the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and the ill fated Anne Boleyn, and determined to prove her devotion to doing what was best for her domain. The novel starts off with Elizabeth in her later years, just before the Spanish Armada is heading to attack England at the start of what becomes the Anglo-Spanish War over religious beliefs. From there, the reader follows Elizabeth through the late years of her life, as well as follows the subplot of her rival cousin, Lettice Knollys.
At over 650 pages, it’s not a quick read. As with historical fiction, there’s a lot of context to get through. However, it’s a fascinating read as the author offers a look into Elizabeth’s famously mysterious private life and inner thoughts. Post reign, she was depicted as indecisive with extraordinary luck, but George attempts to provide reasoning from the Queen’s point of view on how she ruled. There’s drama, humor, and action, and I thought it was well worth taking it off the bookshelf.