The Redheaded Princess
In this novel, young Princess Elizabeth tells the story of her life from about the time of Henry VIII’s marriage to Katharine Parr to the day she becomes Queen of England.
Rinaldi writes well, with vivid scenery and lively dialogue, and the novel moves quickly, but I found it to be somewhat disappointing. The author depicts most of the well-known episodes of Elizabeth’s life before she becomes queen and introduces us to some of those who will play an important role in her reign, like her childhood friend Robert Dudley. As she does so, however, characterization suffers: for the most part, people come and go in Elizabeth’s life without us getting to know any of them that well. Elizabeth herself is tough, smart, and resourceful, but I never felt a sense of her inner depth. Nonetheless, this novel serves as a good introduction to Elizabeth’s early life for young readers and will likely inspire some to read more in depth about her.