The Lady Elizabeth
By Alison Weir
Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345495365, 492pp.
Publication Date: November 4, 2008
List Price: $15.00*
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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.
Praise for Alison Weir’s Innocent Traitor
“Engrossing . . . suspenseful . . . enormously entertaining.”
–The Washington Post Book World
“Splendid . . . In giving narrative voice to her subjects Alison Weir brings us into emotional contact with them in a way that an unadorned historical account does not.”
–Boston Sunday Globe
“Every bit as good as anything [Philippa] Gregory has ever done . . . [Weir] makes a familiar story vibrant and fresh.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Completely absorbing . . . a brilliantly vivid and psychologically astute novel.”
–Booklist (starred review)
“Poignant and harrowing . . . a gripping finale.”
–The Seattle Times
“A sensitive and fast-paced tale . . . Weir conveys the age’s political intrigues, religious fanaticism and sexism.”
“Characters breathe as though they were alive last week–not five centuries ago. . . . A chilling epitaph on a period of history that continues to fascinate and bewitch us today.”
–San Antonio Express-News