Princess Elizabeth’s early life is tainted by the death of her mother and the political intrigues that typified the Tudor court. The death of Henry VIII removes his protection, such as it was, leaving the young girl reliant on the goodwill of her half-brother, Edward, and the guidance of her stepmother Katherine Parr.
When Thomas Seymour marries Henry’s young widow, the adolescent Elizabeth finds herself dangerously attracted to the flirtatious and scheming courtier. One slip and her position, even her life, will be in danger.
So far, so familiar, but Young Bess is part of a welcome reissue of the 1944 trilogy. Although perhaps slower paced than many modern novels, Margaret Irwin’s prose has lost none of its freshness or authenticity. Beautifully and evocatively written, this is historical writing at its best. I first read this as a child and was delighted to be offered the chance to re-read it as an adult. It has definitely stood the test of time and should be high up on any Tudor enthusiast’s reading list.