Elizabeth I: The People’s Queen
Elizabeth I is professionally published and a pleasant read. The cover is stylish and effectively representing the book’s subject. The question mark in the full title however seems somewhat out of place, belonging less to an historical fiction book than to an academic essay. The book presents us with an interesting narrative structure: Elizabeth’s life seen by external eyes, those of her nurse, her governess and her first cousin. This format provides the readers with domestic insights about life at the Tudor court, the intrigues and plots but also a flavour of daily duties, carried out under the shadows of the more powerful ones vying for power.
The three first person-narrated parts flow into one another smoothly enough, although the three voices are not significantly differentiated. The choice of a more colloquial language in dialogues however fits well with the overall historical costume and habits’ descriptions.
What comes across most impressively is how sad and solitary this Queen’s life was, and how her later personal choices (not marrying, not having children) may have been dictated by her early years’ traumatic experiences.