"Elizabeth I" by Margaret George

"Elizabeth I" by Margaret George

Elizabeth I by Margaret George
December 2023
Elizabeth I is a historical fiction novel by Margaret George who also writes biographies. She has written about many historical legendary figures such as King Henry VIII, Mary Magdalene, Helen of Troy, Nero and Cleopatra. After my last read about Mary Queen of Scots my interest was piqued about her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, who eventually sentences her to death. The story, however begins in the years following this historic execution.
Elizabeth became Queen at age 25 upon her father’s death and ruled for 44 years. This author tells the tale of two women, the Queen and her look alike cousin Lettice Knollys ten years her junior. Both vie for the love of the same man, and eventually the loyalty and duty his son.
The complex life of royalty in the sixteenth century makes for interesting reading and an inside look at the burden of succession. As a female, Elizabeth surrounds herself with a trusted and familiar privy council who steer her decisions when Spain threatens and the loyalty of her subjects wane. Eventually as her ministers grow old, replacing them becomes a gamble of epic proportions.
Chapters are written in first person point of view and toggle between Elizabeth and her cousin Lettice. Their stories are intertwined because of their love for Robert Dudley and later Robert’s son the Earl of Essex whose good looks and charm bring him favor but his fruitless military excursions eventually bring him too to the gallows. ~ Kim Luke
Book Blurb~
New York Times bestselling author Margaret George captures history's most enthralling queen-as she confronts rivals to her throne and to her heart.

One of today's premier historical novelists, Margaret George dazzles here as she tackles her most difficult subject the legendary Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma-the Virgin Queen who had many suitors, the victor of the Armada who hated war; the gorgeously attired, jewel- bedecked woman who pinched pennies. England's greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was she really like?

In this novel, her flame-haired, lookalike cousin, Lettice Knollys, thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth's rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, the mercurial nobleman who challenged Elizabeth's throne, Lettice had been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood. This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country, and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family and each vying to convince the reader of her own private vision of the truth about Elizabeth's character. Their gripping drama is acted out at the height of the flowering of the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake-all of them swirl through these pages as they swirled through the court and on the high seas.

This is a magnificent, stay-up-all-night page-turner that is George's finest and most compelling novel and one that is sure to please readers of Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, and Hilary Mantel.


The novel gives a grueling picture of the two cousins. Lettice must marry the right man to survive in the Elizabethan court and count on her son’s successes in battle to save her family’s fortune and stature. Elizabeth walks on eggshells as a way of life as she struggles to maintain safety for her realm, loyalty of her subjects and preserve her crown amidst conspiracy.

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