I received a free copy for my honest review.
About the Book:
Queen Elizabeth I was all too happy to play on courtly conventions of gender when it suited her “weak and feeble woman’s body” to do so for political gain. But in Elizabeth, historian Lisa Hilton offers ample evidence why those famous words should not be taken at face value. With new research out of France, Italy, Russia, and Turkey, Hilton’s fresh interpretation is of a queen who saw herself primarily as a Renaissance prince and used Machiavellian statecraft to secure that position.
A decade since the last major biography, this Elizabeth breaks new ground and depicts a queen who was much less constrained by her femininity than most treatments claim. For readers of David Starkey and Alison Weir, it will provide a new, complex perspective on Elizabeth’s emotional and sexual life. It’s a fascinating journey that shows how a marginalized newly crowned queen, whose European contemporaries considered her to be the illegitimate ruler of a pariah nation, ultimately adapted to become England’s first recognizably modern head of state.
About the Author:
Lisa Hilton is the acclaimed author of The Real Queen of France: Athénais and Louis XIV, Mistress Peachum’s Pleasure, Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens, and The Horror of Love. She is the author of three novels, the bestselling Wolves in Winter, The House with Blue Shutters, which was shortlisted in the UK for the Commonwealth Fiction prize, and The Stolen Queen . She was educated at Oxford University, and lives in central London.
Elizabeth I was a fascinating woman and her life and reign have provided the fodder for many a novel, movie and tome almost since she died it seems – well not the movies. They are more recent. I have done a fair amount of reading with Elizabeth at the center, both fiction and non fiction so when presented with the opportunity to read a new book chronicling her life I was very excited.
This new book by Ms. Hilton presents Elizabeth not as a princess but rather as a prince positing that her upbringing was more that of a princes and referring back to The Prince by Machiavelli. A book that Elizabeth was purported to have read at a young age. It is noted that by remaining unmarried she also could maintain a certain mystique that helped her.
The book is very well researched. And that perhaps is its downfall. Every little bit of information seems to be included and at times the book hops from place to place and time to time leading to a bit of reader confusion. I think it helps to have a bit of knowledge of the period and of Elizabeth under your belt before you decide to read this book. It’s not the type of book you pick up for a casual weekend read or to only read with half an eye. That being written it is a fascinating and quite detailed look at one of the amazing women in history.