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Elizabeth I (Medieval Women Boxset)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  4,484 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Glitteringly detailed and engagingly written, the magisterial Elizabeth I brings to vivid life the golden age of sixteenth-century England and the uniquely fascinating monarch who presided over it. A woman of intellect and presence, Elizabeth was the object of extravagant adoration by her contemporaries. She firmly believed in the divine providence of her sovereignty and e ...more
Paperback, 672 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Anchor (first published 1991)
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The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison WeirThe Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa GregoryThe Constant Princess by Philippa GregoryThe Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
Best Books About Tudor England
63rd out of 396 books — 1,153 voters
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankEleanor of Aquitaine by Alison WeirThe Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison WeirCatherine the Great by Robert K. MassieThe Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser
Female Biographies
30th out of 586 books — 199 voters


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Community Reviews

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Lynne-marie
Mar 15, 2011 Lynne-marie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: serious history buffs
I have just finished all 672 pp. of Anne Somerset's Elizabeth I and feel I now know more about her than I ever did before, for all the biographies I've read. I appreciate now her lifelong intent never to marry, but her interest in playing the marriage game as a political pastime. I understand her dilatoriness in all matters of foreign polity and of finance as if it were newly introduced to me, as indeed it was. I marvel at her love for her people, that great bond of love that kept her going thro ...more
Eric
Thank you for the time machine Anne! The only detail this book leaves out is that clearly Her Majesty had a libidinous sex life equal to that of a young prince. Actually some of the details are its only flaw. Yes, I wanted to know that the Queen was stylish, but not to the point of redundancy, especially when her domestic and foreign policy was so intricately complex and of course interesting. But what really made her (and this book) stand out was not the wars she fought against stronger powers, ...more
Danielle Park
This biography is full of details and facts! It's amazing how Ms. Somerset was able to compile such a complete picture of Elizabeth's life! Before reading this book, I had no clue who Queen Elizabeth I was; but now, I feel like she is a like a familiar celebrity in our modern world! Also, this book helped me break that old English stereotype of proper English ladies and gentlemen sipping tea.and eating little cakes. These people in the 1500's were human too, and there are similar scenarios are p ...more
Russamun82
Somerset outdoes herself in this highly detailed work. Though it can at times be information overload, it still reads as a detailed account of a remarkable forty four year history of a realm on its way out of the backwaters to nationhood amongst the superpowers of the day. I especially enjoyed the details of issues and things beyond the court such as the wars in the Netherlands, and Ireland which are so often glossed over in other books on her reign.
Chloe Baker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacie
While I trudged through this book, it wasn't because it was poorly written or boring. It was just information overload. Somerset did a great job of recreating moments in Elizabeth's life and her prose was easy to read and follow. This biography is going to be VERY helpful for me...gotta love Elizabeth!!!
Jason
The book is a fantastic biography that captures an amazing amount of nuance to her character. I was drawn to the subject after watching HBO's superb miniseries on Elizabeth. Listening to the interviews after the film, I was left with the impression that they had cut a lot of corners, historically speaking. However, after reading this work, I was left with the conclusions that HBO's sins were only those of ommission. They give short shrift to a number of Elizabeth's pets. But, even Sommerset's wo ...more
Diana Shaffner
Jun 07, 2013 Diana Shaffner rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Historical Fiction at it's best! Anne Somerset brings the age of 16th century England to life like no other with this brilliantly researched historical work. Although not a light read by any means, Somerset's writing style is very engaging.

Elizabeth I was without doubt a woman of immense political and religious power, a highly intelligent leader, strong willed, and seductive. She remained committed to her choice not to marry despite vicious criticism and pressures from within the Tudor court. Th
...more
Heather
For the serious Elizabeth I fan, this detailed account of her reign delivers the facts of a history text along with the feeling of an autobiography. Never boring, any of the few suppositions given by the author are well supported, leaving the reader with a confidence in the author to deliver a rounded account of Elizabeth's journey as a monarch. There is almost infinite factual detail within - leaving little room for rumor, gossip and other drama associated with some works about the subject. If ...more
Stefanie
actually, i'm re-reading this. it's because i finished The Other Boleyn Girl and then read in the notes at the end how she (Gregory) handles her historical information to weave it into the fictional context, which started me wondering about the more factual side of things, which probably should have started me with Alison Weir's The Children of Henry VIII, but Elizabeth I covers the succession pretty clearly in any case.

at 200+ pages in, it's as engrossing a read as i remember, covering Elizabet
...more
Lacey
Somerset's biography is very well-detailed, and I liked that she mostly waited until the end to insert her own opinions of Elizabeth's reign. I read it in order to get some background before reading the Faerie Queene, and I think Somerset provided as many points of view as fairly as possible in addition to her details, so I feel prepared. I also appreciated that the author was not bent on the sensationalism that is usually attached to writing on the Tudors, and I was thankful that she didn't ind ...more
Conrad
Sadly, a lot of this very long book was wasted effort. Parts of it read like "And then Elizabeth had lunch with the Duke of ______... and then she went to Richmond... and then she might have slept with Leicester... and then..." An interminable list of where she might have eaten dinner and who among her coterie might have betrayed her (because five hundred years on, who the hell knows). It's shocking how hard it is to find a good Elizabeth bio. This has all detail and no context. Shakespeare is m ...more
Sandi Steinberg
Dec 21, 2010 Sandi Steinberg is currently reading it
She's an excellent writer and historian.

What's fascinating about the book: the struggle to get Elizabeth to marry and her parrying away the prospective grooms her counselors put forth; the relationship and power struggle between Elizabeth and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots; the fact that Somerset, a far better biographer than Antonia Fraser, doesn't hesitate to criticize her subject for actions she finds dubious or duplicitous. This is something Fraser should have applied to her biography of Ma
...more
Liz
Mar 30, 2013 Liz rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: henry VIII fans, history lovers
Recommended to Liz by: self
This was a definite struggle to get through. It was rather boring during the religious parts (but I know this was a huge part in Elizabeth's reign). I found it rather exciting when they talked about court life, marriage, and expenses accrued when on progress. If you are really into history on Elizabeth then go on and read it, but if not there are better books about her out there to read. There were a ton of parts that I had to reread because it was so boring and finally I just skimmed over those ...more
M.J.
This is THE book that sparked my interest in Elizabeth I when was at school. My teacher lent it to me and I spent hours sitting wedged on my radiator reading. It was an amazing eye opener and I thank the author for inspiring me to read EVERYTHING about Elizabeth I and making my own decisions about what really happened during her reign.
Claire

Excellent biography, but not wildly compelling. Somerset more or less takes the reader through Elizabeth's life chronologically, which slows the pace a bit. She does provide a thorough picture of her reign, and has a great sense of humor about some of the more ridiculous intricacies of Elizabethan politics.
Lily
Aug 14, 2014 Lily rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like biographies/history
Good biography, although it was a little confusing to me at times and some of the vocabulary I am unfamiliar with due to it's british origin or something. I hope to pick it up again someday and finish it, as for now, it has to go on the Just Can't Read 1 More Page shelf.
Livvy
This book is just too long. I like reading about Elizabeth, but this book should end here, not another 200 pages.

Lots of interesting facts and explorations of Elizabeth 1st to find it engaging and riveting, but I've finally given up with this one.
Terri
This is a great book - IF You love history, especially old English or royal history. I am pretty sure the average person would find it about like reading a history book for class. I personally loved the detail and insight into the time.
Anna Junell
I read this book when I was 12-13 and it changed me forever. I realized it is ok to be a leading lady.. A strong woman. After I read this my confidence grew and I started sticking up for myself and for those I love. Very good read!
Valerie
I couldn't quite finish this history... rather dry and not quite as interesting as the historical books about Elizabeth I's father Henry the VIII and all six of his wives.
Lezley
Well researched, well written... a real pleasure to read. I'll still read biographies about Elizabeth I but this book will be hard to beat.
Karen
Mar 19, 2012 Karen marked it as to-read
Started and never got back to it... going back on the to-read list for now... What I did read was so far so good...
Tanya
Excellent book with lots of great details; very engaging. It's just...long. 575 pages, plus the text is pretty small.
Mary
I haven't read this for ages. I expect it was enjoyable but I think those by David Starkey and Jane Dunn are better.
Fiona
Nothing short of brilliant. So full of detailed information and not just a biography but social history too.
Jackie
A well-written biography of Elizabeth but a slow read because it is so dense with factual detail.
Jenna
My favorite biography of my favorite historic figure.
Meri
Very dense, very historical, very nice read.
Kate
Currently obsessed, but it will wane again.
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