Thursday, June 14, 2012

Elizabeth I by Margaret George

 Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma-the Virgin Queen who had many suitors, the victor of the Armada who hated war; the gorgeously attired, jewel- bedecked woman who pinched pennies. England's greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was she really like?

In this novel, her flame-haired, lookalike cousin, Lettice Knollys, thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth's rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, the mercurial nobleman who challenged Elizabeth's throne, Lettice had been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood. This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country, and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family and each vying to convince the reader of her own private vision of the truth about Elizabeth's character. Their gripping drama is acted out at the height of the flowering of the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake-all of them swirl through these pages as they swirled through the court and on the high seas.

This is a magnificent, stay-up-all-night page-turner that is George's finest and most compelling novel and one that is sure to please readers of Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, and Hilary Mantel.

I have never read a Margaret George novel, I have only listened to them.  This is my second listen (Memoirs of Cleopatra, being the first).  With the right reader an audio book can be a truly wonderful experience.  Elizabeth I was a truly wonderful experience.

Kate Reading did a marvelous job, with her accent it felt like Elizabeth herself was telling her story.  Margaret George wrote a story that kept me wanting for more.  Even though the book starts off in 1588, it does jog back and forth in time and it does this very smoothly, as current situations bring them about. Also alternating between Elizabeth and Lettice (her cousin) it brought another point of view.  

Margaret George is a very talented author, I look forward to 'not' reading more of her books.  I am thinking Helen of Troy sounds interesting. 

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