Sunday, July 19, 2009
Lady Elizabeth: Review
By Alison Weir
First, I would like to thank Jennifer at Literate Housewife for introducing this book for her historical fiction book club. This is the first time I joined in on facebook and I really had fun with this. This is the first time I did a online book club and it was enjoyable to see what everyone else thought. Thanks Jennifer. If you are interested log on to facebook at book club applications and you will find us there.
Alison Weir, is a historian of European history. She has written several books on the Tudor family. This is her second attempt to write historical fiction. She has written several book on tudor history. Her first historical fiction, was Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey. If her second novel is any indication of her first, I would read her others and her soon to be released, Lady in the Tower(Ann Boleyn).
Lady Elizabeth, is the story of the life of Lady Elizabeth as a child till the time she hears about the death of her half sister, Queen Mary.
The novel opens about the time her mother, Ann Boleyn is beheaded when she is about 5 years old. Her sister, Mary tells her terrible things about her mother. This is understandable since Anne was the influence for King Henry Viii to divorce his wife, Catherine. Here is a link here about Henry VIII and his wives.
Elizabeth, and Mary were living together taken care by caretakers. Elizabeth is known as Lady Princess, but when her mother is beheaded she is referred to Lady Elizabeth. The King goes through many wives as there is underwear.
First there is Katherine of Aragon, he divorces her, There is a problem because Henry wants England to become Protestant. The land is divided between catholic and protestant.
He divorces Katherine which in the catholic religion is illegal. This splits the land she lives out her days. Then comes Ann, she is beheaded because it is thought she was sleeping around.
After Ann, is Jane Seymour she dies in child birth with Prince Edward. It is said King Henry did love her. Then Ann of Cleaves is brought to England from Germany, to become the new Queen. She is one of the Queen's that survives with a divorce. They call each other cousin after the divorce. The next wife is Katherine Howard she is a young thing and is beheaded. His last wife survives and is widowed. \
She marries the admiral. Elizabeth is living with her widowed stepmother and the admiral. Her husband becomes infatuated with Elizabeth. She falls in love with the admiral. They have a affair and she becomes pregnant. They have to help her have a abortion or she will be shamed forever.
Henry, has a hard time having children. His kingdom is worried there will not be a successor. The only male child to succeed after Henry dies is Edward. He is a sickly and young king. Then Edward dies and then Mary takes over as successor because it is determined she was not a child out of wedlock.
Because she is the Queen's daughter she wants England to return to catholism and not protestant. This causes many problems in the court.
Mary's court doesn't trust Elizabeth. The court believes that Elizabeth will do something to overturn the catholic religion. She openly tells her sister she won't practice catholism or go to mass. Which her sister is angry at her. After sometime the court convinces Mary that Elizabeth is up to no good. she is going to turn against the Queen.
Mary decides to send her sister to the tower indefinately. Mary feels there is a conspiracy to get rid of her. Elizabeth is safer in the tower rather than in the court where she could be murdered.
After alot of convincing Queen Mary decides to give Elizabeth a chance and she is taken out of the tower and returned to court because the Queen's husband sways Mary that all the suspicions against her are not true.
Suddenly the Queen becomes very ill and decides the right thing to do is allow Elizabeth the become Queen. She has to promise the kingdom to practice catholism. Which of course she doesn't do. But this is the only way she can become Queen. Mary becomes ill and dies and Elizabeth becomes Queen.
My reaction to the book. I enjoyed reading it. It pulled me in from the first. This is the first time I am reading historical fiction.
It appears no one trusted anyone. Just because you did like how something looked you had a chance with" off with your head." I don't think I would want to live during that time. You were not safe. Any time royalty did not like something there was a chance that you were killed. Especially when it came to religion.
It must have been terrible you did not know if you still had a mother at the end of the day. If King Henry did not like something he would kill you. He would kill the children's step mothers and the next one would come and you would wander if she would survive.
I give this book 4 stars out of 5. That is pretty good for a person that usually doesn't read historical fiction. I find historical fiction is fantasy added with mysticm. I found this one was not like it. I am going to try the next book club pick called the Last Queen. I will let you know what I think.