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The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel
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Product Description

Following the tremendous success of her first novel, Innocent Traitor, which recounted the riveting tale of the doomed Lady Jane Grey, acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir turns her masterly storytelling skills to the early life of young Elizabeth Tudor, who would grow up to become England’s most intriguing and powerful queen.

Even at age two, Elizabeth is keenly aware that people in the court of her father, King Henry VIII, have stopped referring to her as “Lady Princess” and now call her “the Lady Elizabeth.” Before she is three, she learns of the tragic fate that has befallen her mother, the enigmatic and seductive Anne Boleyn, and that she herself has been declared illegitimate, an injustice that will haunt her.

What comes next is a succession of stepmothers, bringing with them glimpses of love, fleeting security, tempestuous conflict, and tragedy. The death of her father puts the teenage Elizabeth in greater peril, leaving her at the mercy of ambitious and unscrupulous men. Like her mother two decades earlier she is imprisoned in the Tower of London–and fears she will also meet her mother’s grisly end. Power-driven politics, private scandal and public gossip, a disputed succession, and the grievous example of her sister, “Bloody” Queen Mary, all cement Elizabeth’s resolve in matters of statecraft and love, and set the stage for her transformation into the iconic Virgin Queen.

Alison Weir uses her deft talents as historian and novelist to exquisitely and suspensefully play out the conflicts between family, politics, religion, and conscience that came to define an age. Sweeping in scope, The Lady Elizabeth is a fascinating portrayal of a woman far ahead of her time–an orphaned girl haunted by the shadow of the axe, an independent spirit who must use her cunning and wits for her very survival, and a future queen whose dangerous and dramatic path to the throne shapes her future greatness.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Improbable dialog is annoying.
    If I hadn't already paid good money for this book, I'd not have stuck with it past page six. Elizabeth the First was born Septmeber 7, 1533. The author places her in July 1536, not yet age three, speaking this dialog: "Why, governor," she had asked Sir John Shelton, in her clear, well modulated voice, "why is it that yesterday you called me Lady Princess, and today just Lady Elizabeth?" Has the author ever met a two year old? And this is not a single aberration, this continues through Elizabeth's and Edward's childhoods, having them converse implausibly on adult topics. This is my first experience with this author, who leaves me with the impression that she lives mostly in (no children allowed) libraries. But even stranger, what of her Random House editor? A random editor? I love historical fiction, but I could not "get into" a story written this way. I cannot recommend others spend reading time with this. ...more info
  • Pleasant diversion from modern life
    I enjoyed this book. The language was sufficiently antiquated, and the story line was interesting, both of which made for easy and pleasant immersion into this world of no TV or Internet. Whether or not some or all of it is true was inconsequential to me. I am not a historian, just someone who reads books for enjoyment and relaxation....more info
  • An utterly entertaining novel
    I loved this book. I can't wait for the sequel that will be released in February. I love the way Ms. Weir is able to breathe life into all the historical figures we love to read about. I also love the historical explainations at the end of the book. She gives you the facts and how she wrote a story around the facts. She kinda fills in the blanks and I thought it worked well.

    Example - there was a 10 month time period that Elizabeth was missing from the public eye. Why? Where was she? Why did she avoid the court? Why couldn't anyone visit her? What did she do? Ms. Weir answers those questions in this book. Is it fact? No, but she uses what little fact there was during that time and works around it to weave a possible explaination and to tell an interesting story.

    Great book. Read it.

    I don't know why everyone didn't give this book five stars? ...more info
  • Great Read
    I loved this book. Granted I have always been fasinated with English history,but Ms. Weir brings this period to life better than anyone else. As with her other historical novel "Innocent Traitor", about Lady Jane Grey, I couldn't put it down. I found myself immediatly picking up her biography of Elizabeth I.

    ...more info
  • A Delightful and Moving Work Of Historical Fiction That You Don't Want To Let Go Of!!!
    A truly, wonderful and well written book that you would like to never end! The author, one of top Tudor Historians of time, brings to the venue of historical fiction her impressive knowledge of specific incidents of Elizabeth's life, and the acts of people involved in it. Make sure you read the Author's Note at the end of the book- a surprising dessert to a well prepared meal. In it, she explains how in composing her narrative she has endeavored to keep as far as possible to the known facts, basing it on the historical record and dialogue of the time. She also lists the very few times that she took license to add things to the story that are based upon theories concerning historical evidence and rumor of the time. Most enjoyable is that this book is written by a talented female author about perhaps history's most famous female ruler, relating in luscious detail how Elizabeth the woman most likely perceived and felt what was occurring. This book was absolutely delightful, and is one of the best I have ever read!!! ...more info
  • A Terrific Read
    As an avid fan of Ms. Weir's highly informative and greatly readable histories, I was eager to read this book of the young Queen's early life. I was not disappointed. The characters jumped from the page, and what history has not conveyed, Ms. Weir has skillfully woven into her fiction. The places, the times, the living, and the people all came to life for me in this vivd novel. While reading it, my favorite time of the day was hunkered down, late at night, where I could read and fully savor this book uninterrupted. A terrific read!...more info
  • Alison Weir's 2nd book
    "The Lady Elizabeth" is an intriguing turn on the story of Elizabeth I. While much is rooted deep in true history, there's enough fantasization to make it interesting while not going overboard. Alison Weir does a remarkable job of blending fact and fiction....more info
  • Literary Freedom
    As much as I agree that a writer has the freedom to opine and conjure up what may have happened, I wasn't favorable about one particular twist in this book. It was still a great read and I didn't want to put it down, however, I was disappointed with the image I had in my head of Elizabeth being slightly tarnished with doubt....more info
  • Much better than Innocent Traitor. A really good read
    I read Innocent Traitor before this, and afterwards thought that Weir really does nonfiction best. I am taking that back a bit after reading her second novel, about the childhood of Elizabeth. You would think that after all this time, enough has been written about Elizabeth, but no! I really felt the emotion in this book, and the story really came to life. I was interested to see how the young Elizabeth worshiped her father, as well as the changing relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. It was touching to see how close they had been, and my heart broke for Mary, who lived such a sad life and never had the triumph that Elizabeth did.

    I am definitely becoming a fan of historical fiction after books like this! ...more info
  • More Tudor Tales
    This is a gem of a book for history buffs. The story takes us into the formative years of the young princess, Elizabeth--from the death of her mother, Anne Boleyn, to the day she is proclaimed Queen of England.

    Having just finished reading "The Boleyn Inheritance" by Philippa Gregory, it was interesting to compare Alison Weir's version of much of the same period of Tudor rule in England. Ms. Weir is a historian turned author, and her novel "The Lady Elizabeth" is an interesting account of the childhood and adolescent years of Henry's youngest daughter. Where she does stray from the actual known facts of Elizabeth's life, she explains her reasons very nicely in the Author's notes. As she tells us, writing historical fiction is somewhat different than writing a history book.

    The story opens with the three-year-old Elizabeth learning of the death of her mother, Anne Boleyn. She is totally distraught about losing her beautiful mother but idolizes her father, who hasn't yet begun to show the signs of illness and aging that are soon to come. I found Ms. Weir's take on Henry somewhat more sympathetic than the mad monster, that Gregory paints him. One can almost feel sorry for the aging king as he rails against his loss of health, looks and virility. The few passages showing him with his three children are heart warming and the sadness all three feel at the death of their father is palpable.

    After Henry's death, life becomes increasingly dangerous for Elizabeth as, time after time, she foils Queen Mary's attempts to destroy her as successor to the throne. As "Bloody" Mary's obsession with the Catholic Church and her hatred and suspicion of her half sister grows, the people she rules become more and more sure that the younger woman is the one they want on the throne. From time to time it seems that Elizabeth will never be able to survive the intrigues and alliances set up to trap her into treason.

    Of course, as we know from history, she does survive and her reign turns out to be one of the most successful in the annals of English monarchs. However, "The Lady Elizabeth" is a fascinating glimpse into, what was probably the most dangerous period in the life of Elizabeth I.
    ...more info
  • Long Live the Queen!
    The Lady Elizabeth: Alison Weir
    Five Stars

    Though it starts slowly, The Lady Elizabeth is a captivating telling of the early life of Elizabeth I. We hear so much of her later life, and thus, it was interesting to gain insight into what her childhood/young adult years might have been like.

    Although it is historical fiction, this book was not difficult to understand or follow. ...more info
  • excellent storytelling
    It was a wonderful story about Elizabeth I's childhood/youth, in spite of the fact that the author took liberties with Elizabeth's virginity (or lack of,) basing those parts of the story on rumor and innuendo! But still, she admits as much in her summations, so that the reader knows that her story may not be the whole truth. I found that the book was a real page-turner! I could hardly stand to set it down!...more info
  • Weir does it again..........
    Allison Weir's wonderful reputation as an historian might have been challenged after she authored her first novel "Innocent Traitor". Proving "Innocent Triator" was no fluke, Weir again takes her knowledge of history and passionate voice to create an engaging novel about Elizabeth I, when she was simply "The Lady Elizabeth".

    Undoubtably Weir uses dramatic liscense when necessary, but she supports 80% of the novel with historical truth.Weir uses historical truth as a background for many fictional posiblites, which in turn provide a possible explain for Elizabeth's character and policital savvy. I especially enjoyed Weir's portrayl of Mary/Elizabeth's relationship, often loving but obvioulsy ambivelant- any one could understand how Elizabeth reminded Mary of Anne Boleyn, whom she blamed for her mother's heartache and her own demise into bastardy.

    As far to the question of whether Elizabeth was actually a virgin, Weir points in ther author's note that no one can be aware of what goes on in a person's private life- especially when that person lived over 400yrs ago. As a novelist, Weir does an entertaining job of taking history and asking "what if" while keeping readers entertained in the process....more info
  • The other Tudor girl
    Historians have long speculated on why, really, Queen Elizabeth I never married. Did she have an abnormality? Did she string along her suitors for diplomatic reasons? Was she unwilling to give up any of her freedom or power? Was she haunted by her mother's ill-fated marriage or terrified of childbirth?

    Alison Weir explores this issue in a new novel covering Elizabeth's life up to her accession. Her mother Anne Boleyn's execution overshadowed her childhood, which was then punctuated by a sequence of stepmothers. Katherine Parr was the only one to last long enough to become like a mother to Elizabeth (the sixth queen narrowly avoided Henry VIII's deadly wrath). Katherine couldn't protect Elizabeth from every torment, though: her last husband Thomas Seymour managed to damage Elizabeth's reputation, and Katherine herself died in childbed. Weir finds the key to Elizabeth's resolve to remain unmarried in these tragedies' effect on her, tragedies inextricably linked with sex and marriage. The most dramatic event along these lines I found to be a bit far-fetched, and Weir has certainly used poetic license for dramatic effect; but other than this and a few other unknowable things, she's very attentive to historical accuracy.

    Regarding the question of how Elizabeth came to be the Virgin Queen, this novel's explanation is a bit less illuminating (and more verbose) than nonfiction works like David Starkey's Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne or Alison Weir's own biography of Elizabeth. As in the biography, Weir has written engagingly (she has abandoned the multiple-first-person device of Innocent Traitor), often drawing on period sources like letters or reports for the dialogue, and weaving in the perspectives of many characters, including Elizabeth, Henry, Kat Astley, Katherine Parr, Philip, and especially Mary (who comes across as a bit flat, and in the end, unsympathetic).

    This is an enjoyable novel, great for those interested in all things Tudor or looking for another diverting book about Elizabeth....more info
  • A Good Read, Historically Sound
    I have read a lot about this time period, both fiction and non-ficton and I found this book to be very well done in many ways. Alison Weir does a very good job of keeping the story accurate while still making the book pleasantly readable and entertaining. She really doesn't take many liberties with the historical accuracy- and why should she? This time period is juicy enough for anyone. I find this to be a very interesting point of view- you learn some about each of Henry's wives, yet it is still centered around Elizabeth and her early years. In addition, the work is very well written. I like her style of writing significantly better than Phillipa Gergory, her writing in general is significantly better. I am not saying this is a Pulitzer (thus the 4 starts), but it is very well done....more info
  • Delicious historical fiction
    The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel is intriguing, hard to put down and engrossing to read. You really get a feel for the main characters and can visualize so many details. Loved it, would highly recommend....more info
  • A Great Coming of Age Story
    We barely see Stories about Elizabeth's Childhood only on her reign. When I read this book I couldn't put it down. There were times you felt the pain Elizabeth felt for example her breaking down to find out that her mother Anne Boleyn had been executed. It sad to know a girl as young as she was could feel so broken hearted at a piece of devastating news such as that.

    You also saw Elizabeth Grow up and deal with adult expriences as she matures. It shows her human side like her fear to have the same fate that befalled her mother.

    I recommend this book it's a real page turner. ...more info
  • "We are two of a kind, Bessy. We do our duty against our greater desires."

    The imperious Elizabeth Tudor intuits her destiny long before the crown is delivered to her hands in 1558. In 1536, the tiny red-haired princess is but three years old, already acutely aware that she is her father's beloved daughter. As step-sister to Mary, daughter of Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine of Aragon, Elizabeth is much like her own intelligent, curious and driven mother, Anne Boleyn. Through separated by a number of years, the half-sisters retain an affectionate relationship; but with the birth of Edward, Henry's son by Jane Seymour, a gradual rift develops that is exacerbated by various court factions that view one sister as a threat to the other. Suffering a constant procession of step-mothers, Elizabeth relies of her father's affection, emotionally devastated by his death. Addressing these seminal years in Elizabeth's development, Weir delves deeply into her psychological makeup, both sisters destined to rule England, but divided by Mary's fanatical devotion to the Catholic cause and Elizabeth's refusal to stray from the tenets of the Reformed faith.

    The author describes a child attuned to the dangers of court life, frequently chastened by her changing fortunes, sometimes nearly undone by an uncertain fate and no one to trust, save a few loyal souls. Surviving this crucible of uncertainty, Elizabeth develops a second sense for the particular dangers of her position as third heir to the throne after Edward. Joining in like cause when they are illegitimized after Edward's birth, the emotional ties between the sisters are as profound as they are disturbing, veering from deep affection to threat, depending on the circumstances in the court. Elizabeth's unique sense of self-preservation is honed during these years. After Edward's death and Mary's coronation, the new queen forcefully reinstates her religion, fortified by a marriage to Philip of Spain. Elizabeth barely escapes the ambitious plans of those who would unseat Mary in Elizabeth's name, religion once more thrusting England into turmoil, Mary determined to validate Katherine of Aragon's belief in the True Faith. Again and again their fierce wills collide, Elizabeth's subtle responses to her sister's bullying rebuffed by a thwarted Mary.

    Certainly, Elizabeth can be forgiven a thoughtless plunge into romance, albeit with the dashing husband of her benefactress, Henry's last queen, Katherine Parr. The older, sophisticated Thomas is irresistible to a girl on the cusp of womanhood. Once more Elizabeth receives a lesson in treachery, paying dearly for her brief flirtation with the passions of the heart. By the time Mary dies and Elizabeth embraces her destiny, it is abundantly clear that her whole life has been in preparation for this great challenge. Weir's portrayal of this child who lives for a time in the glow of her father's love, only to be cast aside by circumstances, who learns early the danger of ambitious men and their schemes, who loves injudiciously and suffers the consequences of her actions, is amazingly insightful. A foreshadowing of the monarch she is to become, the Lady Elizabeth cuts her baby teeth on court intrigue and survives impossible obstacles to embrace her fate. Luan Gaines/ 2008.
    ...more info
  • Fantastic!
    I had been waiting on this one for a while and as expected, Mrs. Weir does not disappoint. I was compltely engrossed from page one. As usual, the book paints a beautiful picture rich with texture and colors with each new character it introduces. Like any Tudorfile, We have read them all right? This one fed me like it was my first Elizabeth reading. Kudos to Mrs. Weir for taking a topic she has already written on and giving it a fresh new look for rabid fans like me!...more info
  • Thrilling
    I loved this book. I think Alison Weir has a real gift for historical fiction. I couldn't put this book down! I felt like I was right there. This is the second book of hers that I've read and I'm set to read them all. I thought this book was gosh-wow!!...more info