Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Lady Elizabeth

My ideal trip to the mall includes a very extended trip to the bookstore. The clearance section of Barnes & Noble is one of my favorite places...I could spend 20 minutes in Kohl's attempting to pick out clothes and 2 hours in Barnes in Noble. And yes, I am that level of a dork. :-D

The clearance section is actually where I found The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. I already took the sticker off, so I don't recall how much it was now, but maybe 5, 6 bucks. It was well worth that!

I have always been interested in England royalty, especially in the 1500s. The story of Henry the 8th is fascinating--gruesome, at times, but fascinating. In high school (possibly middle school...), I read The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. It was fascinating--I would recommend it--and I have been interested in this story since then. I've picked up a few books since then, but they simply went into the pile of "books-Serena's-collected-but-not-yet read." This is a book I purchased a few months ago, and read last month.

It was fascinating. This story chronicles the life of Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, from the time she was an infant to the time she becomes aware that she is the Queen of England. (I saw 'aware' because it ends before her actual coronation.) It describes her thoughts, feelings, and actions, as she goes through her life as the 'bastard' second daughter of the King. It describes her times in exile, her times in danger, her relationship with her servants, and her planning as she believes she is ascending to the thrown. Elizabeth is a vivacious character, whose strengths are inspiring and her flaws are damning.
In her lifetime, Elizabeth goes from being Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry and Queen Anne, to Lady Elizabeth, the bastard daughter of a traitor and the King. She endures multiple stepmothers, none of whom last, but one of whom bears the son that becomes the heir to the throne. Surprisingly, there is little animosity between the siblings--Edward, Elizabeth, and Mary (the daughter of Henry's first wife). At least, there is little animosity at first. As Edward becomes King, then Mary becomes Queen, jealousy and differences in religion tear the siblings apart. The threat of treason and the death that would ensue is constantly hanging over everyone's head, and no one knows who will be accused-and hung-next. Elizabeth has multiple situations where she is afraid for her life, and her actions during those periods are both realistic and inspiring.

Throughout the book, Elizabeth struggles with many issues, and overcomes in the end.

I will say that I am uncertain on the historical accuracy, but it was fascinating regardless. I am looking forward to reading further books by Alison Weir, and to reading more about this era in England's history.

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