In The Life of Elizabeth I, New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir turns her attention to the remarkable life of England's arguably best-known and best-loved monarch, Elizabeth I.
To say that Ms. Weir is familiar with the lives of British monarchs would be an understatement, She has thoroughly researched the people and the English Renaissance time period, as is evident by the subject matter of her other books, including novels Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth, and various historical biographies, including Mistress of the Monarchy, Queen Isabella, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and The Children of Henry VIII.
This book could be seen as a continuance of Weir's previous books on Henry VIII and the early lives his children. Ascending to the throne at the age of 25, Elizabeth I spent the next 45 years navigating the rough political waters of the times. Weir has provided a remarkably detailed view of Elizabeth's personal life, or as much of a personal life as was possible to be had for this Queen. Her relationships with potential suitors and her dealings with seemingly never-ending international crises are fully examined.
I was especially taken with Weir's skilled descriptive prose. In this book one becomes immersed in the various minutia of everyday life during Elizabethan times. Weir examines the elaborateness of royal dress and the almost unbelievable unhygienic nature of the palaces and large estates of the times. She provides descriptions of Elizabeth's person throughout the years, noting the details of Elizabeth's problems with bad skin, bad teeth, and bad hair. Prior to reading this book, I, probably like most Tudor enthusiasts, tended to think of Elizabeth as an intelligent, strong-willed woman who was as physically attractive has been portray in numerous modern films. I learned that, intelligent and spirited as she was, her physical appearance and health left much to be desired.
I found The Life of Elizabeth I to be an extraordinarily informative and entertaining book. Readers should keep in mind, though, that this is a historical biography and not a historical novel. I enjoy both types of reading, but some people don't. It's best to keep that in mind when purchasing this work for yourself or others.
If you're as intrigued by the life of one of England's most revered monarchs as I am, you will certainly enjoy reading this excellent historical work. If you're new to the Tudors, you may benefit by first reading two of Weir's previous works - The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Children of Henry VIII - to give you a firm grasp of the events leading to the reign of this incredible woman.
Disclaimer: This copy of The Life of Elizabeth I purchased by me with my own funds.
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