Elizabeth I by Margaret George.
In 1588, Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, was preparing her kingdom for its inevitable showdown with King Philip's Spanish Armada. While England struggled to find the necessary funds to support the fight, it seemed Spain's coffers overflowed. Even after pushing back the first threat, and with selling off inherited lands and crown jewels, the queen knew a future fight could prove disastrous for her people.
Having lost her love and soul mate, Robert Dudley, she is forced to move on as her destiny and that of Robert's widow and her cousin, Lettice Knollys, collide.
Even if she could shake Lettice, the rumors and concerns over the succession to the childless queen continue to plague her.
In this moving portrait of the legendary queen, George provides the reader with a book they won't be able to put down.
Margaret George came to me as a referral from one of my other favorite historical authors, C.W. Gortner. Having read Gortner's The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles), I was already familiar with the legacy of Elizabeth I. His story, however, focused on a much earlier part of Elizabeth Tudor's life. I have to admit, I was immediately taken with this larger than life woman who was destined to become the queen of England.
George's novel begins thirty years into Elizabeth's reign. The historical research necessary to tackle this project must have been extensive, but it shows in every page of Elizabeth I. The reader is drawn into Elizabeth's court, she is surrounded by such historical figures as Raleigh, Drake, Shakespeare, the Earl of Essex, the Cecils, Francis Bacon, and more.
As more of an America history reader, the scene between Sir Walter Raleigh and Elizabeth when he reports that the colony in Virginia has disappered, was extremely touching. Last year, when we visited Roanoke, we took in the Lost Colony Outdoor Theatre for the first time. Raleigh had left the colonists and sailed for England to pick up much needed supplies. Thanks to Philip and his Spanish Armada, no one returned to America for three years. When they did, the only signs of what might have happened to the colonists were the word "Croatoan" carved into a post of the fort and "Cro" carved into a nearby tree. Their fate remains an unsolved mystery.
Elizabeth's tense relationship with Lettice propels this novel along nicely. Told from both women's point of views, Elizabeth I provides a great deal of insight into these famous rivals.
In my opinion, the gauge of success for an historical novel is that the author portrays the people and events in such a way that the reader can believe that everyone and everything happened exactly as portrayed. George's masterful storytelling, her rich details, and her knowledge of the era and its famous players, definitely achieves that goal.
I highly recommend Elizabeth I to every lover of the Tudor era and to those who relish a perfectly told story that leaves you hungry for more.
Title: Elizabeth I
Author: Margaret George
Publisher: Viking Adult
Also available in a Kindle edition.
The author paid to promote her book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book! This fee did not include a review. I received no monetary compensation to provide my honest opinion of the book.
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