After much time on the back-burner I was able to read this wonderful book – Book One, of the Elizabeth of England Chronicle by Gemma Lawrence: The Bastard Princess.
I’m always interested in reading books about Elizabeth’s early years since it helps me see other writer’s view-point on her relationship with Thomas Seymour and her mother. This book did not disappoint.
February, 1603… In Richmond Palace, London, the last Queen of the Tudor dynasty, Elizabeth I, is dying. As Death hovers at her elbow, waiting for her to obey his call, the aged Queen looks back on her life, and on the trials, victories and sorrows which brought her eventually, to the throne of England. Not quite three years old when her mother, the notorious Queen Anne Boleyn, was arrested and executed on charges of adultery and treason, Elizabeth became a true princess of the Tudor era, in a time when the balance of power, politics and passion were fragile… and the cost of failure was death. Her childhood and teenaged years were fraught with danger as competing factions and ideologies sought to undermine and destroy her in the bid for power at the Tudor court. This is the story of Elizabeth Tudor, last daughter of Henry VIII, and her journey to the throne of England. Told from her own mouth… the tale of the Bastard Princess, who would, one day, become England’s greatest Queen.
The life of Elizabeth Tudor, whether she was Princess Elizabeth or Lady Elizabeth was often filled with drama. But with that drama she always had someone in her inner circle whom she felt she could trust completely.
Of the women whom she felt she could trust the most were her step-mother, Katherine Parr and her governess, Kat Ashley. As it turns out in this story, both of those women would ultimately abandon the young Elizabeth for their own reasons and in their own ways. Katherine, to save her marriage and to stop any rumors from getting out and Kat Ashley, who when being interrogated implied that Elizabeth may have done things that were unsavory, if given the chance.
There are two things about Elizabeth’s life that always get my attention and leave me wanting more.
1. How Elizabeth did feel about her mother?
2. What happened between her and Thomas Seymour?
In this book we get those questions answered. Kat Ashley, being the one closest to Elizabeth, was able to shed light on Anne Boleyn for Elizabeth while Katherine Parr could sneak her the best gift she could ever receive of her mother’s.
Then there is the relationship between Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour. I’ve always subscribed to the theory that nothing inappropriate happened between the two, even though there were confessions made by Kat Ashley to say otherwise. This part of the story pulled me in. What can I say, I’m a woman who likes a romantic story line when ‘the forbidden fruit’ is tasted.
I felt like the author did a very tasteful job of explaining the emotions of a teenage Elizabeth. It reminded me a lot of when I was a teenager, first feeling new emotions for a man and how those feelings can lead to an obsession, wanting to always be near that person.
The book begins at the end of Elizabeth’s life and then reverts back to late April 1536 and ends in late 1553 when her sister became the first Queen Regnant and Elizabeth heir to the throne.
In conclusion, I’d rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. The story line pulled me in and left me frantically flipping pages to find out what was going to happen next. There were only a couple of areas where I lost interest, but in all fairness I tend to get that way with Elizabeth’s story anyway. If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Tudor I would highly recommend reading this book. At 302 pages it really does not take that long to read. I am looking forward to starting Book Two, The Heretic Heir.
Interested in buying this book?