Nicola's Reviews > Arbella: England's Lost Queen

Arbella by Sarah Gristwood
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's review
Mar 08, 2008

liked it
Recommended to Nicola by: Anne Shaw (bought for her by Bryony)
Recommended for: anyone interested in this period who wants to see things from a different angle
Read in February, 2008

This book started a bit slowly but soon drew me into the world of Arbella Stuart and her contemporaries. After reading loads of Philippa Gregory historical fiction about the Elizabethan era it was nice to know that what I was reading was based on fact, not fantasy. The book was a scholarly one, but the story was told in an engaging way so it wasn't boring.

I didn't know anything about Arbella before I read the book and had no idea that she had such a strong claim to the throne. Although having visited Hardwick Hall, home of her grandmother Bess of Hardwick, where Arbella lived for most of her early life I suppose I'd probably been told about her before!

This book really underlined the lack of control that many people at that time had over their lives. Not only women, but anyone with a claim to the throne (of which there were many) had very restricted lives, needing permission from the monarch for everything. It was also chilling to read about all of the people sent to the Tower of London and executed, many of them for quite flimsy reasons.

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