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Elizabeth I

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  4,535 Ratings  ·  513 Reviews
New York Times bestselling author Margaret George captures history's most enthralling queen-as she confronts rivals to her throne and to her heart.

One of today's premier historical novelists, Margaret George dazzles here as she tackles her most difficult subject yet: the legendary Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma-the Virgin Queen who had many suitors, the victor of the
Hardcover, 671 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Viking (first published March 1st 2011)
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Grace Elliot
May 01, 2012 Grace Elliot rated it liked it
Let me preface this review by saying I'm a huge fan of Margaret George. It was reading her book about Mary Queen of Scots that first kindled my interest in history. Ms George is a towering literary talent and I re-read The Autobiography of Henry VIII every year. So why then did I fell an overwhelming sense of release when I finished 'Elizabeth I'?
This book was a slog to read with little or no of the Ms George magic. It struck me she has lost her way as a writer and become totally absorbed by th
Apr 20, 2016 Orsolya rated it really liked it
Much has been written about and discussed of Robert Dudley: the great “love” of Queen Elizabeth I’s life. However, there was another Robert, the Earl of Essex and Dudley’s stepson, whom also impacted Elizabeth’s later life. Margaret George focuses on this relationship in her novel, “Elizabeth I”.

“Elizabeth I” is unique in its time period setting by beginning the story with the defeat of the Spanish Armada and emphasizing the Virgin Queen’s late adulthood. George highlights the interaction betwe
Apr 06, 2011 Felice rated it it was ok
Historical fiction novelist Margaret George has never shied away from retelling a well known story. Her subjects have included: Henry the VIII, Cleopatra, Mary Queen of Scots, Helen of Troy and now Elizabeth I. It takes a lot of nerve and a passionate love of the subject to tackle the life of a figure we could all know enough about to write a 200 word bio. Add to that the explosion of novels about the Tudors in the last few years and George's audaciousness is multiplied by a thousand.

There are t
I've never really worshiped at the altar of Margaret George.

"The Memoirs of Cleopatra" is fantastic; that I will never deny. It's probably the best fictional Cleopatra book out there. "Helen of Troy" is frothy and fun and kind of a really long summer beach read? I don't know. "Mary Queen of Scotland & The Isles" was basically a bodice ripper with really disturbing implications... (George apparently dismisses any idea that Mary was kidnapped or raped by her third husband--and believe me, that
Jun 14, 2011 Jodi rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this book tremendously! Am not one who likes Queen Elizabeth I messed with so when I received this book as an anniversary present from my husband I was a bit skeptical. No need, so thoroughly steeped in history as to be acceptable to even the most proficient in the Tudor era. George does let you know at the end what is historiography and what is fiction (which as a former-history teacher I appreciate—can be so hard to dispel the history students pick up in Disney cartoons or Hollywood mo ...more
Jul 07, 2012 LeAnn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: History lovers
As much as I enjoyed the descriptive writing -- boy, can Margaret George make me experience the reality of living as an Elizabethan -- and the deft handling of a middle-aged woman's viewpoint, I struggled to finish this novel. I even struggled as I read it to identify what, exactly, my issues were with it. Was I just not in the mood for a novel that stretched more than 600 pages? Have I gotten so used to reading my guilty-pleasure reads that I can no longer tolerate the slower pace and richer la ...more
Mar 22, 2011 Francine rated it it was amazing
I count myself as one of the people lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Margaret George’s new novel Elizabeth I. I can honestly say that having read every one of Ms. George’s novels I had every expectation to thoroughly enjoy it and I was not disappointed. The author researches her subjects for months, even years, and writes a very factual novel but in a fascinating way. She writes in a story format so as to entertain while imparting a wonderful piece of historical data that doesn’t leave ...more
May 31, 2011 C.W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Margaret George has cemented her reputation as a grand dame of historical fiction, creating epic novels about history's most legendary characters, from Henry VIII to Mary of Scotland to Helen of Troy. In her latest novel, ELIZABETH I, she tackles perhaps the most legendary and elusive figure of all - the Virgin Queen herself.

Elizabeth Tudor is famous as much for what she said and did as for what she did not. She remains so fascinating precisely because we know so little about her personally, eve
Linda C
Jan 18, 2016 Linda C rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Overall, this book was a huge disappointment. It was tedious, boring, and way, way, way too long. It took me over 4 weeks to read, which meant that I really did not want to be reading it. If one ever suffers from insomnia, 30 pages with this book and you will be out like a light (probably why it took me so long to read it, I could never stay awake). I should also add that the four weeks of reading time included an 11 hour plane ride, so if I couldn't even stick with it while confined in an airpl ...more
I'm going to say right at the outset that I loved this book and consider it to be one of Margaret George's finest. That said, I know there are some that were disappointed because the author begins the work of historical fiction when the Queen is 55 years old. It's not a book about the excitement of her early years, but I don't believe it takes anything way from this novel.

Robert Dudley has already died. Elizabeth loved him, and although she had already decided to remain unmarried (she was known
Mar 11, 2014 Jana rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-stars
Not bad, but underwhelming all the same. Readers should be aware, going into this, that the book begins when Queen Elizabeth I is fifty-five years of age and that any prior events will be referred to in clunky or random exposition. One of the most unfortunate consequences of starting a book so late in Elizabeth I's reign is that two of her most trusted advisors die quite early on, and obviously she's upset, but it's difficult for the reader to have any emotional reaction. If I hadn't known bette ...more
Aug 09, 2014 Simon rated it it was ok
I should start by saying that I enjoy Margaret George's work most of the time, and unlike Sharon Kaye Penman (whom I also like), she doesn't make historical figures unnaturally cosy ("Uncle Richard! Sit down and have a cup of malmsey with Ned and Dickon!" Like that) and when George captures the "voice" of her protagonist, things are usually entertaining without straining credulity.


Elizabeth Tudor emerges from this doorstop of a book as so smart, so kind, so wise, so statesmanlike, so . . . w
I didn’t find this book at all boring as others have but then it might be that much of the information about the Tudor era is new to me. Perhaps some scenes could have been cut but I thought they all added to the story. Plus, I thought Kate Reading gave an excellent performance

This story made me think of an odd kind of organic chemistry where two (and more) compounds come together, share electrons, separate, combine with others and then come together again,,, the two main compounds being Queen
Janie Brooks
Mar 12, 2011 Janie Brooks rated it really liked it
Elizabeth I was an iconic figure in English history, although there are very little actual personal papers on her that let us delve into her own thoughts. Margaret George did a fine job of breathing character into her volume of historical fiction. This book switches perspective to Lettice Knollys, who was Elizabeth's cousin and rival. Lettice is also the mother to Robert Devereaux, the Earl of Essex and much of the book centers on his relationship with Elizabeth. Margaret covers the Spanish Arma ...more
Ruth Chatlien
Nov 03, 2015 Ruth Chatlien rated it really liked it
This novel looks at the latter half of Elizabeth's reign. It's very detailed, and I found the first half a trifle slow. Once it gets to the conflicts with Essex, however, it really picks up, so I do recommend it.
Prima Seadiva
Though Margaret George has an excellent reputation, at disc 10, I just could not force myself to finish listening. I like to listen before falling asleep but I also like to be able to remember what I heard. It became a chore where I would think gee, still 12,11,10 discs to go. So, I skipped to #20,the last disc for the ending and the author follow up (perhaps the most interesting segment for me).

While the writing was decent, the story was not consistently engaging. I enjoyed some of the descript
May 28, 2013 Staci rated it really liked it
I really like this author, and she did something very interesting with this well-known story. She told the life of Elizabeth I from two different people - from Elizabeth herself, and from her rival, Lettice Knollys. Each of them was a horrible bitch to the other.
Jul 02, 2015 Marie rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very long and detailed portrayal of Queen Elizabeth as she strives to protect both her throne and her country. A good bit of the book is dialogue or thought of Elizabeth and the other major characters. This makes for interesting reading even though it also deals with court intrigue, international politics and wars. Elizabeth is characterized as a sympathetic and strong leader, but also a woman who wants to be admired and loved. Even though the author states in her notes, very little has been p ...more
I was glad that this novel focused on the later part of Elizabeth's life since I had previously read a novel by another author which focused on her early life, before becoming queen. But I was a little surprised at just how late in life it began - in 1588 at age 55. Especially since Elizabeth's point of view is countered by her cousin and personal rival's perspective, Lettice Knollys (and both are written in first person, which I'm not a fan of - I guess I'm old fashioned and believe that if you ...more
E Wilson
Aug 23, 2012 E Wilson rated it liked it

Whenever I read a historical novel I wonder how much is based on real incidents and
how much is pure imagination. I was glad the author covered this in an afterwards. I
especially suspected the unchaperoned trip with the Earl of Essex was very improbable,
and the author confirms this.
This book covers the Queen in the last decades of her reign. She oversees the wonderful
triumph over the Spanish Armada and basks in the adoration that follows. She can be a
loving and generous friend and benefactor,
Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle)
Engaging, absorbing, meticulously researched and exquisitely detailed, Margaret George's Elizabeth I is her most powerful novel to date. And that's saying something as George ain't a slouch in the historical fiction genre.

Unlike most historical fiction novels, even many of George's previous works, Elizabeth I doesn't start at her birth and move forward from there. Instead the book begins in 1588, during Pope Sixtus V's call to the Catholic faithful to aid in the deposition of "that wicked queen
Marie Z. Johansen
May 02, 2011 Marie Z. Johansen rated it it was amazing
One might think that reading through 688 pages is daunting but I tend to prefer longer novels - they allow me to really reside in the book and get to know the characters. One of my favorite female heroines is Elizabeth the First and one of my favorite historical novelists is Margaret George so I figured this would be a perfect combination - and I right!

The novel is co-narrated by Elizabeth herself and begins in 1588 as she enters late middle age . Co-narrator is her cousin, Lettice Knollys - the
Mar 25, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
I received the ARC of this book from a good reads contest. Having finished reading this a couple of days ago I have been thinking about what to say in my review.

There are so many stories of Elizabeth's life but they are most always told from the point of view of outsiders watching her actions and judging her character and abilities as a leader. This story is being told from the point of view of Elizabeth herself, which is a very interesting perspective.

George is doing a fantastic job thus far
Jul 06, 2013 Davytron rated it it was ok
Shelves: edit-me
For the length of this novel, it didn't feel that deep, you know what I mean? I didn't feel closer or as if I had a great understanding of many of the characters despite the amount of time I had to spend with them. The whole thing felt very superficial. The novel jumped into the middle of elizabeth's reign on the cusp of crisis and plodded on from there. The background was filled in by snippets here and there but it was a bit overwhelming to be thrust into the middle of the story like that.

Shirley Schwartz
Mar 21, 2011 Shirley Schwartz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-5-star-reads
This book portrays Elizabeth I from 1588 (when she was in her 50's and just before the legendary Spanish Armada debacle) until her death in March of 1603. It is a truly wonderful book written from the viewpoint of Elizabeth I with some insertions from the viewpoint of her cousin Lettice Knolleys who is almost a mirror-image of Elizabeth (although younger by 10 years). Elizabeth I was "Virgin Queen". Her cousin was married three times and the mother of three living children). Letitia married Eliz ...more
May 25, 2011 Jackleen rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jackleen by: Diana Gabaldon
Margaret George covered new territory in a very popular genre. This book concerns an older Elizabeth and is more reflective in nature. That being said, it does move along at a brisk pace. This is helped to a great extent by the story being told alternately by Elizabeth herself and her rival and hated cousin, Lettice. The two cousins are polar opposites in personality,lifestyle and world view; and, each provides a different, yet equally accurate, view to the events portrayed in the novel. Much of ...more
Jan 13, 2012 RJay rated it liked it
I eagerly set about reading this tome - the premise of learning about Elizabeth's life from Elizabeth's point of view - was captivating for me. However, I was much dismayed to find the beginning of the book was in the middle of Elizabeth's reign - in 1588 with the threat of the first Spanish Armada.

What could have been in MG's mind to begin the book in such a fashion? Had she planned flashbacks? If nothing else, curiosity kept me reading ... and reading ... and reading, bouncing between episodes
Apr 25, 2011 Gaile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 16th-century
Although this is a thick book, it doesn't cover the entire life of Elizabeth I. It opens in 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada. I thought there was only one armada! I didn't know others were sent in the following years and the wind always blew them back. I didn't know there were wars in Ireland or between Spain and Ireland, Elizabeth felt they were causing her kingdom to slide into bankruptcy. Poor crops four years in a row did not help.
The main problem was she had no real military leader. Bec
Sep 08, 2011 Tiffany rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Margaret George's historical fiction, nearly all of which features female leads. I was very excited to find "Elizabeth I" on the shelf - how could I go wrong? I am pleased to report that George's latest creation is flawlessly written and elegantly composed. She managed to avoid the strange lack of irony that made "Mary Called Magdalene" such a bizarre experience, and the sheer, shocking boredom of "Helen of Troy." I do have to say, however, that "Elizabeth I" was surprisingly bl ...more
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Was Queen Elizabeth I right in her decision not to take a consort ? 5 18 Feb 16, 2015 09:21PM  
  • Legacy
  • His Last Letter: Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester
  • Three Maids for a Crown
  • In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, #6)
  • The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3)
  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • All the Queen's Players
  • The Tudor Throne
  • The Tudor Secret (The Spymaster Chronicles, #1)
  • Pale Rose of England
  • The Confession of Katherine Howard
  • My Lady of Cleves: A Novel of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves
  • Her Highness, the Traitor
  • At the King's Pleasure  (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #4 )
  • Roses Have Thorns (Ladies in Waiting #3)
  • I Am Mary Tudor (Mary Tudor, #1)
  • Elizabeth, Captive Princess (Elizabeth Trilogy, #2)
  • To Serve a King
Margaret George is a rolling stone who has lived in many places, beginning her traveling at the age of four when her father joined the U.S. diplomatic service and was posted to a consulate in Taiwan. The family traveled on a freighter named after Ulysses' son Telemachus that took thirty days to reach Taiwan, where they spent two years. Following that they lived in Tel Aviv (right after the 1948 wa ...more
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“Perhaps life is like an hour glass, with dear ones the sand that slips from the upper glass--the earth--into the second--eternity.” 11 likes
“I was ever the realist, sometimes to my sorrow. But seldom to my regret.” 6 likes
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