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“The Lady Elizabeth” by Alison Weir

Posted By Claire on January 6, 2010

UK Cover - Click to buy from Amazon UK

UK Cover - Click to buy from Amazon UK

Anne Boleyn Files and Elizabeth Files visitor Kelly Gartland was kind enough to write this review after she had “The Lady Elizabeth” for Christmas. I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list. If you have read it then please feel free to leave your comments below, I’d love to know what you think.

“The Lady Elizabeth” by Alison Weir, a Review by Kelly Gartland

If you’re like me and you have studied the reign of Elizabeth I many times in school, have seen countless dramas and movies of her 45 years as Queen, but feel her horrendous and eventful childhood has somewhat been neglected; then this novel is a perfect starting point in discovering the child that would grow up to be remembered as England’s greatest monarch.

The novel starts with the fateful day Elizabeth discovered the tragic death of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and ends on the day she discovers, arguably, an equally life-changing revelation; after having her title of princess stripped away, enduring the loss of countless stepmothers and surviving several plots and rebellions formed in her name, she is now Queen.

Alison Weir not only does a fantastic job of exploring the thoughts and feelings of a young girl surrounded by intrigue and people determined to destroy her, but also sets a very real tone of the uncertain circumstances which gripped Elizabeth’s life in mid-16th century England. Highlighting not only the political, but also the psychological effects, that her uncertain status and being the daughter of Henry VIII had on the innocent girl.

The Lady Elizabeth US Cover - Click to buy from

US Cover - Click to buy from

Despite brutally being torn apart from her mother in May 1536, “The Lady Elizabeth” also touches on the dramatic impact Elizabeth’s mother had on her and reveals the strong connection she felt towards the contraversial Queen, that she was forced to keep secret. However, as with many historical fiction novels, Weir is very liberal with the facts in certain parts of the book, particularly, in my opinion, with the relationship between Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour, and should therefore be taken in the same humour as other novels, such as Philippa Gegory’s “The Other Boleyn Girl”.

All in all, it’s a good read and allows you to take a break from the factual world and delight in the pleasures of “what if?”.

The Independent, the UK newspaper, said of the book:-

“Popular historian Alison Weir enters treacherous territory with a fictional re-telling of the early years of Elizabeth I and her much debated romance with Thomas Seymour, her stepmother’s husband.

“For dramatic purposes, I have woven into my story a tale that goes against all my instincts as a historian!” quips Weir, explaining why she cast the queen as a less than virginal figure.

Telling fact from fiction becomes the name of the game, and Weir employs contemporary gossip to intriguing effect. With a style that casts even Philippa Gregory’s stately gavottes in a dashing new light, Weir convinces with her scholarly grasp. “


6 Responses to ““The Lady Elizabeth” by Alison Weir”

  1. Rose says:

    ‘The Lady Elizabeth’ has been one of my favourite fictions about Elizabeth to date! I was enthraulled by it, and Alison Weir’s book really does start you thinking. Did the ‘Seymour Affair’ really go that far? In the author’s note paragraphs at the end, she gives some believable evidence to back the book up, and also enhances how elizabeth became the Virgin Queen and why. Now many of my friends are eager to read her too, and I’m actually really upset that I finished reading it!

  2. Brenda says:

    I have read the book – impressed with the atmosphere, the portrayal of Kat Ashley & Catherine Parr, and the relationship between the wee Elizabeth and her Dad – but very little else. Too bad.

  3. Jessica says:

    I am reading it and I feel like am watching The Tudors all over again!! I am a huge tudors fan so am enjoying the book very much!!!

  4. Leigh says:

    its very good. much more fact in it then any of philippa gregory, yet still as wonderful to read.

  5. Julia says:

    Love it. Very impressive. Also, any “fiction” that was added isn’t so insane that it couldn’t have possibly happened, unlike a certain Favorite Author… Alison Weir is one of my favorite historical novelists.

  6. margaret says:

    i have read this book and enjoyed it but was also quite frightened by it especially elizabeth in the tower being so terribly scared she was going the same helpless route as her mother .

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