Barb's Reviews > Legacy

Legacy by Susan Kay
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's review
May 11, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction-tudor-1485-1603, read-in-2010, favs-of-2010
Read in May, 2010

This is an amazing masterpiece of historical fiction. The dust jacket on my copy says that Susan Kay worked on this novel for fifteen years. I can say it honestly felt like she did. The history is comprehensive, the characterizations of the historical figures are vivid and realistic, the insight and motivations Kay offers for them are interesting and each character is realistic, three dimensional and matures over time.

This is not a quick and breezy beach read by any stretch of the imagination, this is a novel for serious fans of historical fiction, but neither is it a dry as dust recounting of historical facts.

There are certain books that will stick in your mind as THE definitive authority on a particular historical figure, Sharon Kay Penman's novelization of Richard III's life, 'The Sunne In Splendour' is one example. I think this will be the quintessential 'Queen Elizabeth' book in my mind from now on.

I loved the stories about Elizabeth and Robert Dudley when they were children, those interactions were charming, and endeared the characters to me. Kay did an amazing job of showing what a complex personality Elizabeth was. She paints an interesting picture of a woman who survived a traumatic childhood and realistically depicts the way that trauma shaped her as a person.

I read 'The Virgin's Lover' by Philippa Gregory and I came away from it disliking Robert Dudley. But after reading this novel I really felt for him, Kay paints a heartbreaking story of an impossible relationship between Robin and Elizabeth. This aspect of the book was very moving and revealed the human side of Queen Elizabeth.

There are some novels about queens that make you think "Hey, being queen wouldn't be such a bad thing". Then there are the novels that paint a detailed portrait of the complicated life of a sovereign and make me glad I was born a peasant. This book falls into that category.

I highly recommend this for anyone interested in learning about Queen Elizabeth or Tutor England.
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-5 of 5) </span> <span class="smallText">(5 new)</span>

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Misfit Nice to know this is going to be republished again. It's almost criminal stuff this good is out of print.

message 2: by Hannah (new)

Hannah You sold me, Barb.
Adding to my towering TBR pile!

Barb Hannah,
You can thank Misfit...she's the one who recommended it to me :0)

Barb Misfit,
I agree and don't understand why this excellent book would ever have gone out of print!

Laura I loved this book also.

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