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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Elizabeth I : A Novel by Margaret George

First of all, I want to talk about the glorious cover of this wonderful book.  I'm one of those who is drawn to a book cover, and this one is simply irresistible.  The Rose of England is featured with the two colors of red representing Elizabeth's two ages she reigned...as a young girl until her elderly years.  Her picture shows her beauty at her prime...a woman of wisdom and wry humor in her eyes and mouth, dark red curly hair, the wealth of her dynasty displayed in her jewels an clothing, and hidden in the shadows...a courtier...a young man with the downcast eyes of one who defers to his Queen.  The title of "Elizabeth" is even a copy of her actual signature with the "Z" as she always signed her name.  A symbolic and fabulous cover that introduces us to the Rose of England.

Margaret George is an author of renown. Her books have ridden the best sellers list for years and justly so.  I remember carrying around "The Autobiography of Henry the VIII"...that heavy volume all through my trip to California in the late 1990's...even to Venice Beach!  I just couldn't bear to put it down. 

My Review:

"Elizabeth I: A Novel" is a lush book, filled with fabulous details and intrigue from the Elizabethan court and the life of a young woman who was born into a responsibility which challenge she was expected to rise.

Ms George's use of dialog and description draw us easily into her story.  It's as if we are the proverbial "little birds" sitting on the shoulders of her characters, seeing and hearing all the private and mysterious secrets of Elizabeth, Lettice, her Deliahish cousin, and her beloved men think and do.  Robert Dudley, Elizabeth's life-long love tugs at our hearts while we feel her longing and heartbreak over his loyalties, desires and, then betrayals.

With the experience and exceptional qualities of a seasoned author, Ms George writes a book that is reader friendly, completely enchanting and absorbing and historically acurate where important.  I had a very difficult time putting away ELIZABETH I even to go to sleep. 

A daunting book by any standards, with roughly 667 pages, this volume is thick and heavy. I happen to love that kind of book, personally. I find books of this ilk by tried and true authors ones I buy by sight...knowing it will be a reading experience and not just a quick hit

"Elizabeth I.." is a story that is so beautiful and historical that anyone who reads historical romance will be wise to read it to find the difference between formula novels and the real thing.  There is a concerted difference between literature and a written for the light, supermarket genre.

I highly recommend this book because of its story that is easily understood, its flow of storyline, its portrayal of characters of a generation of heroes, fabulous courts and masters such as Shakespeare; and finally, for its easy and understandable link between Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake, and the fantastic battles that placed England as the greatest nation of its time.

I have generally read Margaret George's books in the Summer because I wanted time to savor them.  It's a good time now to read this one.

5 stars...go get this volume for your library!

Deborah/The Bookish Dame


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