I finished The Lady Elizabeth a few weeks ago and haven’t been able to muster a review. I think it’s a little bit of ambivalence; I enjoyed the book, but it lagged a bit in places. I read Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir a few years ago and remember really enjoying it. I love historical fiction and the fact that Weir began as a historian and has now delved into storytelling is very appealing.
Even at age two, Elizabeth is keenly aware that people in the court of her father, King Henry VIII, have stopped referring to her as “Lady Princess” and now call her “the Lady Elizabeth.” Before she is three, she learns of the tragic fate that has befallen her mother, the enigmatic and seductive Anne Boleyn, and that she herself has been declared illegitimate, an injustice that will haunt her.
What comes next is a succession of stepmothers, bringing with them glimpses of love, fleeting security, tempestuous conflict, and tragedy. The death of her father puts the teenage Elizabeth in greater peril, leaving her at the mercy of ambitious and unscrupulous men. Like her mother two decades earlier she is imprisoned in the Tower of London–and fears she will also meet her mother’s grisly end. Power-driven politics, private scandal and public gossip, a disputed succession, and the grievous example of her sister, “Bloody” Queen Mary, all cement Elizabeth’s resolve in matters of statecraft and love, and set the stage for her transformation into the iconic Virgin Queen.
From the publisher, Random House of Canada
I’ve just reread my review for Innocent Traitor and realized that I also said it was a bit slow in places. Perhaps that is Weir’s writing which tends to be more historically based, and therefore a little heavier reading.
I like how The Lady Elizabeth was broken into three parts — her childhood as the daughter/bastard of the king; her life as sister to the king when her brother, King Edward, is crowned; and her life as sister to the queen when Queen Mary reins. I found the second and third parts to be the most interesting, particularly because Elizabeth comes into her own and is less influenced by those at court. However, it could also be the intrigue and scandal that is appealing in the later years.
Either way, I look forward to reading Alison Weir’s newest book, The Captive Queen. I do need to take a break from historical fiction for a bit — maybe some lighter, fast-paced reading.