Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen
By Tracy Borman
(Bantam, Hardcover, 9780553806984, 496pp.)
Publication Date: September 28, 2010
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A source of endless fascination and speculation, the subject of countless biographies, novels, and films, Elizabeth I is now considered from a thrilling new angle by the brilliant young historian Tracy Borman. So often viewed in her relationships with men, the Virgin Queen is portrayed here as the product of women—the mother she lost so tragically, the female subjects who worshipped her, and the peers and intimates who loved, raised, challenged, and sometimes opposed her.
In vivid detail, Borman presents Elizabeth’s bewitching mother, Anne Boleyn, eager to nurture her new child, only to see her taken away and her own life destroyed by damning allegations—which taught Elizabeth never to mix politics and love. Kat Astley, the governess who attended and taught Elizabeth for almost thirty years, invited disaster by encouraging her charge into a dangerous liaison after Henry VIII’s death. Mary Tudor—“Bloody Mary”—envied her younger sister’s popularity and threatened to destroy her altogether. And animosity drove Elizabeth and her cousin Mary Queen of Scots into an intense thirty-year rivalry that could end only in death.
Elizabeth’s Women contains more than an indelible cast of characters. It is an unprecedented account of how the public posture of femininity figured into the English court, the meaning of costume and display, the power of fecundity and flirtation, and how Elizabeth herself—long viewed as the embodiment of feminism—shared popular views of female inferiority and scorned and schemed against her underlings’ marriages and pregnancies.
Brilliantly researched and elegantly written, Elizabeth’s Women is a unique take on history’s most captivating queen and the dazzling court that surrounded her.
Tracy Borman studied and taught history at the University of Hull in England and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1997. She has worked for various historic properties and national heritage organizations, including Historic Royal Palaces, the National Archives, and English Heritage. She is now chief executive of the Heritage Education Trust and is a regular contributor to history magazines, such as BBC History Magazine, and a frequent guest on television and radio.
“Tracy Borman is one of our finest historians. She has a passion for history that illuminates her books, and writes with integrity, humanity, and skill. Elizabeth’s Women offers brilliant new insights into the shaping of the Virgin Queen. If you thought there was nothing more that could be said about Elizabeth I, you will be entranced by this original, masterly, and fascinating study of aspects of her life that have hitherto been overlooked. This is history as it should be written—and an invaluable aid to our understanding of its subject. Elizabeth’s Women is definitely one for my bookshelf!”—Alison Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Lady in the Tower
“The idea behind her book is genuinely inspired.”—John Guy, Sunday Times (U.K.)
“Readable and fun.”—Leanda de Lisle, Literary Review
“Borman’s book is innovative, full of rich, too often neglected female characters.”—Lady Antonia Fraser
"Here we have a most remarkable and surprisingly fresh study of the Virgin Queen that does nothing less than take the breath away."—Historical Novels Review
"Crisply written and meticulously researched, this is exceptional historical reporting. It is a brilliant piece of work that is both accessible and groundbreaking."—tucsoncitizen.com, "Shelflife"
"If you have any interest in the life of Elizabeth I, and in the era in which she reigned, then Elizabeth's Women is a fascinating must read...Don't miss it."--Bookloons.com
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For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org