Life of Elizabeth I
The long life and powerful personality of England's beloved Virgin Queen have eternal appeal, and popular historian Alison Weir depicts both with panache. She's especially good at evoking the physical texture of Tudor England: the elaborate royal gowns (actually an intricate assembly of separate fabric panels buttoned together over linen shifts), the luxurious but unhygienic palaces (Elizabeth got the only "close stool"; most members of her retinue relieved themselves in the courtyards), the huge meals heavily seasoned to disguise the taste of spoiled meat. Against this earthy backdrop, Elizabeth's intelligence and formidable political skills stand in vivid relief. She may have been autocratic, devious, even deceptive, but these traits were required to perform a 45-year tightrope walk between the two great powers of Europe, France and Spain. Both countries were eager to bring small, weak England under their sway and to safely marry off its inconveniently independent queen. Weir emphasizes Elizabeth's precarious position as a ruling woman in a man's world, suggesting plausibly that the single life was personally appealing as well as politically expedient for someone who had seen many ambitious ladies--including her own mother--ruined and even executed for just the appearance of sexual indiscretions. The author's evaluations of such key figures in Elizabeth's reign as the Earl of Leicester (arguably the only man she ever loved) and William Cecil (her most trusted adviser) are equally cogent and respectful of psychological complexity. Weir does a fine job of retelling this always-popular story for a new generation
The First Elizabeth
Author Carolly Erickson brings to life Elizabeth I and allows us to see the living, breathing, flirtatious, diplomatic, and outrageous woman who still commands fascination and awe. With the special skill for which she is acclaimed, Erickson evokes the brilliant colors of Elizabethan clothing and jewelry, the texture of tapestries, and even the close, perfumed air of castle rooms illustrations.
Young Elizabeth: The First Twenty-Five Years
This is the first of a four-part historical biography of Britain's most famous queen. A captivating portrait of the young Elizabeth Tudor, bringing to life her many identities as ruler, woman, and politician. Alison Plowden tells the story of Elizabeth's difficult childhood, where she was alternately Royal Princess and Royal Bastard, her adolescence, her early years at court, her relationship with Mary Tudor and her eventual accension to the throne in 1558. As Mary declined in the estimation of the people to become a hated figure, so Elixabeth became England's Faerie Queen, the most enthralling, baffling and infuriating English monarch.