Beware, Princess Elizabeth

Written by Carolyn Meyer
Review by Lisa Ann Verge

In this installment of the “Young Royals” series, Carolyn Meyer has penned a breezy account of the early years in the life of Elizabeth I. Beginning at Henry VIII’s death in 1547, and ending with Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne in 1558, the novel covers the most exciting events of the time. Unfortunately, Elizabeth, the only point of view character, lives a life apart during these years. First, she is pushed aside by courtiers vying for power during her weak half-brother’s reign. After the young king dies, Mary takes the throne. Elizabeth—next in line for the crown and thus a dangerous rival—is intentionally kept at country estates, or comfortably “detained” in London Tower. Only through gossipy secondary characters do we hear of Queen Mary’s marriage, the burning of heretics, and various intrigues of the court. This structural difficulty may not have been so pointed, had Elizabeth the young princess been portrayed, in bud, as the clever, sharp and politically ruthless queen she later came to be. This Elizabeth is a soft, kind princess, and thus a far easier character for the target audience to embrace. Ages 12+