The Lady Elizabeth
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The Lady Elizabeth

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  16,089 ratings  ·  966 reviews
Following the tremendous success of her first novel, Innocent Traitor, which recounted the riveting tale of the doomed Lady Jane Grey, acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir turns her masterly storytelling skills to the early life of young Elizabeth Tudor, who would grow up to become England’s most intriguing and powerful queen.

Even at age tw...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published 2008)
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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
9th out of 394 books — 1,121 voters
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Best Historical Fiction
215th out of 4,133 books — 17,553 voters


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Community Reviews

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Catherine
I read Weir's Eleanor of Aquitane and was bored stiff by all the contradicting accounts she included. You really wanted her to take a side, and she just wanted to give you all the information she had dug up. Well, this novelized version of Elizabeth I's life preceding her coronation does take sides. You have to credit Weir with creating a sympathetic character out of someone who tried during her reign to obliterate any trace of weakness or even of her past. But one of the first things Weir does...more
Anna
Here is another one I was asked to review for Library Journal.

OMG, so good!

This is the second fiction novel from Alison Weir, the fabulous Tudor historian who wrote many biographies, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and The Children of Henry VIII. But last year she gave us her first foray into fiction about Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for about a week between Edward VI and Mary I. That one was fascinating since I knew very little about her. I know quite a bit about Elizabeth I, and this...more
Diana
Alison Weir is very easy to read. She is in her element writing this kind of historical fiction, because she has written so many biographies on the Tudors, including the Wives of Henry VIII which I loved. I also really enjoyed Innocent Traitor. Unlike Philippa Gregory, Weir's writing is based on actual facts. Do not get me wrong, I loved Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, but it had very little based on fact, it was made into an entirely different drama. My only issue with this is that I have read...more
Nadine Doolittle
I expected more from an historian. Weir's imaginary account of Elizabeth I's early years is a bodice-ripper. The problem with academics writing fiction is they lack imagination. Young Elizabeth is described as a "minx" whose "body betrays her" when she falls for the debatable charms of her stepfather--thus explaining why she refuses men thereafter to become the Virgin Queen. Blood, mess, childbirth--Elizabeth recoils from the very idea of marriage.

There's nothing wrong with creating an imaginar...more
Mo
Mar 10, 2014 Mo rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Not Recommended
10 days! It took me 10 days to plod my way through this 400 page book.

I kept coming up with reasons NOT to read this. I cleaned out junk drawers, broke down cardboard boxes, sorted through my winter clothes, organized my armoire, etc. And when evening rolled around (my usual time for reading), I surfed the Internet, played games on my tablet, watched television, calculated my taxes, etc. I did just about ANYTHING other than read this book. I never seemed to be "in the mood" for it.

To put it blu...more
Rio (Lynne)
The story telling was 4 stars, the fictional liberties were 1 1/2 stars. Yes, I know it's a fictional book, but I expect more from a "historian" than a bunch of cliches. In Weir's author notes, she says she enjoyed running with this story, but stated she stayed true to the facts. I did not like the portrayal of Kat (Elizabeth's governess) She was immature, annoying and I simply wanted to slap her. The problem with knowing Tudor history is hating to see the myths...Anne Boleyn and the 6th finger,...more
Orsolya
Before I even dive into my review, I must admit that I am slightly biased towards this book for two reasons: (1) I adore Alison Weir and (2) I was reading this book at a coffee shop when my current boyfriend and love of my life was impressed to see someone in LA reading a book (People don't really read books at coffee shops here. They mostly stalk people on Facebook while on a laptop or play with their phone apps); and so he stopped to talk to me and voila. Now we are happily ever after and talk...more
Monique
Loved, loved, loved this book..it was a daunting four hundred plus page-turner that I thoroughly enjoyed..and of course it combined all my favorite elements to an amazing book, a strong woman with power, drama and secrets, at least one major scene that makes me reread with my mouth wide open and my weakness:the Tudor dynasty. This is the story of dear Elizabeth, daughter of the infamous Anne Boleyn and her rise to be the longest ruling, most effective and greatest queen England has ever known, r...more
Laura
Historical novels are one of my guilty, but infrequent, pleasures. I have little patience with archaic dialogue, for one thing, and I chafe at too much fictional corpulence draped over an historical skeleton. But when the author of a fictional novel is also a well-respected historian who's taken her first turn with those characters and events as a non-fiction writer, then we're talking a different-colored horse altogether. Alison Weir's "The Lady Elizabeth" is such a horse. Having already writt...more
Steven Peterson
Alison Weir has authored an intriguing fictional representation of "Lady" Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I). Her understanding of history provides a detailed context in which this story is placed. Since I am not a historian of the era, I cannot comment on historical accuracy per se. Nonetheless, from having read a few other works regarding the era, it does not seem too far off the mark.

The story depicts Elizabeth, bastard daughter of Henry VIII, as a survivor. Her early life often placed her i...more
Roniya
I'll admit that after having read most of Weir's nonfiction work, I expected alot. Maybe thats why,for me,her foray into another genre fell so flat. The plot doesn't stay strictly historically accurate (at least according to her own nonfiction on Elizabeth) but this could be forgiven if her characters were just more, well, believable. The writing style lacks the immediacy necessary to draw the reader into the plot and connect with the characters, which seem to be somewhat stiff and one-dimension...more
Nicole
The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir is an exciting addition to the realm of Tudor fiction. The story follows Lady Elizabeth from when she is three years old to when she is become Queen of England and all the trials in between.

I am very impressed with Alison Weir’s storytelling ability. I have not yet read any of her non-fiction work but as she is an historian first, I appreciated the level of detail and historical account in this novel. The conversations between characters and descriptions of Eng...more
readinghearts (Lyn M)
Dec 15, 2009 readinghearts (Lyn M) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Royalty buffs and Tudor lovers
Recommended to readinghearts (Lyn M) by: Jennifer Tudor
This book is about the life of Queen Elizabeth I, and highlights from the day her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded to the day she became Queen upon the death of her sister Mary Tudor. Although I already knew the rudiments of the story, the book helped to fill in a lot of the gaps. I thoroughly enjoyed Weir's portrayal of Elizabeth and her wit and intelligence. I felt at times, though, that she portrayed her as a little too high-strung. What most fascinated me was the portrayal throughout the bo...more
Clare
Between Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory who have both written about the wives and times of King Henry VIII, I feel as if I'm becoming an expert on that era. This book is nicely researched and written. Though it is not as deep in description and detail as Gregory's books, it is a very satisfying read.

I always thought being the Queen of England would be a nice peaceful existence in which you dressed beautifully and had lots of money. That may be the way the Queen lives now but certainly not in th...more
Lois
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine
Read with Book Club, review to follow at February's end.
When I was a young mother back in the 1980's, I absolutely devoured Jean Plaidy's historical novels. In fact doing so fostered an enduring passion for all things English, especially the history surrounding the eras of the Plantagenets, the Stuarts and the Regency of George IV. More often than not, after having read a Plaidy novel, I was motivated to pile the kids in the car in order to borrow non-fiction from the library. They would attend...more
Sue Hopkins
A brilliant, highly engaging read! As always loved the writing, and found I couldn't put the book down. Loved learning about the early life of Elizabeth 1. I love historical fiction so loved this! Esp as easy read so hopefully appealing to wise range of readers.
Petra
I gather Alison Weir is a historian as well as a novelist. I haven’t read any of her works before but will be reading more, both fiction & non-fiction.
Elizabeth comes alive in this book. It follows her life from the age of 3 when she is declared a bastard to the age of 25 when she becomes Queen. In an afterword, the author states that she remained true to historical facts but did take some literary license to explore some rumours of the time & ask “what if the rumour were true? How coul...more
LemonLinda
Toddler to Tiara is the short and sweet synopsis for this book which details the life of the Lady Elizabeth from age 2 to 25 when she is declared as the Queen of England following the death of her sister, Mary. It is well researched but obviously the author has taken just enough literary license and writes a bit fast and furious stretching some of the facts. It seems that most of the novel is mostly historically accurate, but to spice it up a bit she also went with some rumors and innudendos whi...more
Regina Lindsey
Wier imagines the life of Elizabeth from the age of four through her ascension to the throne. Wier handles all of the salient events of Elizabeth's life such as the possibile influence Elizabeth's mother's history may have had on her life, the rumors of a relationship with Thomas Seymor, the contentious relationship between Elizabeth and Mary, events that impacted Elizabeth's decision not to marry, and events that impacted Mary's reign.

This was a difficult work to assign a rating to. There were...more
Erik
I had absolutely no idea that Weir had written any fiction, as I’ve always been lead to believe her to be one of the preeminent Tudor historians in recent times. (After all, I voraciously read through three of her scholarly tomes leading up to my visit to the United Kingdom this last August.) So it was with great excitement when I ran across this on the shelves at the Waterstone’s location near my B&B just north of Russell Square.

I honestly don’t know much about the books of Philippa Gregor...more
Erin
I've enjoyed several of Weir's non-fiction works (Life and Court of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Princes in the Tower) so when I saw she's trying her hand at novels I picked this up.

This is the story of the early part of Elizabeth's life, from the execution of her mother Anne Boleyn in 1536 (age 2) to the death of her sister Mary and her declaration as queen in 1557 (age 23). Weir has spent her entire adult life researching the Tudors, so I knew she'd be on solid ground fact-wise (something that bot...more
Leah
I really, really enjoyed this book. She's heavy-handed with the adverbs, but the story is just so fascinating that it's easy to overlook. What I loved about her writing is that she did an outstanding job of bringing life to these historical figures, making them multi-faceted, not-too-good, not-too-bad characters. The plot was exceptionally well-developed and clear -- not one thing unexplained or over-explained.

What I really appreciated is that, though this is a novel, Weir is a noted scholar on...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Aug 08, 2008 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer (JC-S) by: fionnabhair@bigpond.com
Shelves: librarybooks
A great many novels have been written about Elizabeth I, and still the market is not yet satiated. I picked this novel up wondering what new insights or interpretations could Ms Weir possibly bring to the fictional portrayal of Elizabeth.

Ms Weir’s novel opens with Elizabeth being told of her mother’s death in 1536, by her half sister Mary, and takes us through Elizabeth’s life until the time when the death of Mary in 1558 makes her Queen of England. Ms Weir addresses three distinct phases in Eli...more
Amy
While I didn't personally enjoy this book as well as "Innocent Traitor" I think that's a testament to the fact I just know more about Elizabeth's real life (Jane is mostly shrouded in mystery still for me). So at times it was hard to picture her in this situation or doing that action, given the "historical" Elizabeth I know. However, as anyone who has read "The Life of Elizabeth I" knows, Ms. Weir KNOWS her Elizabeth Tudor. So, I can give her a little leeway and attempt that Suspension of Disbel...more
M
This one started off strong but I found the interactions between the young Lady Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour to be unbelievable and as the book went on it fizzled out for me. The most interesting relationship in my opinion (that of the Lady Mary with her sister the then Queen Mary) actually bored me rather than containing the intrigue I thought it should. By the end I was not as enamored with the "virgin queen" who swore she'd never marry as I wanted to be. I feel as if an historian, who admitte...more
Heleen
In hindsight, I would have preferred a solid biography of Queen Elizabeth. But Weir's reputation as a historian lends this historical fiction novel credibility. The Lady Elizabeth focuses on the intrigue surrounding her rise to power, which left me wanting to know more about what came next. The love-hate relationship between Mary and Elizabeth quickly becomes tiresome, and the speculation of her pregnancy not all that interesting. In fact, the famous pregnancy controversy smacks of cheap bodice-...more
Laura
I am a little hooked on this time period at the moment. Even though I knew the outcome of this book when I started it, I was sucked in right away. I definitely found myself wondering how Elizabeth was going to get out of some of the sticky (to say the least) situations she was in. Fascinating and a quick read! I would definitely recommend it to any lover of historical fiction. It was written from the third person which isn't usually my favorite, but it worked.

Also, to those of you who have read...more
Melinda
A great read for Tudor fans and anyone who loves historical fiction. The novel concentrates on the Lady Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The story begins when Elizabeth is two and informed of the death of her mother and follows the strong-willed Elizabeth through backstage machinations and intrigue ending just as she is about to ascend the throne. I thought this book well written and researched remaining true to customs and speech of the times. The characters, especially...more
Andrea
I love Elizabeth. I love Tudor history. So what's not to love? It was great.
In this book, Ms. Weir supposes what would have happened if Thomas Seymour impregnated Elizabeth during one of their daliences. Although this theory is VERY unlikely (something the author herself points out), it was very interesting and worked in seamlessly with her later decisions not to marry.
I would suggest this to anyone that enjoys Tudor History. It reads like a Phillipa Gregory book with just a tad more research...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir (born 1951) is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens. She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.

Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her...more
More about Alison Weir...
The Six Wives of Henry VIII Innocent Traitor The Life of Elizabeth I Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life Henry VIII: The King and His Court

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“I must bear it well as I may. As my sainted mother used to say, we never come to the kingdom of Heaven but by troubles.” 1 likes
“I waste so much time sleeping. And time is of all losses the most irrecuperable, for it can never be redeemed.” 1 likes
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