When I first got this book in the mail, I thought that the cover was beautiful. It is has a velvet finish and the colors in Elizabeth's clothing are vibrant and lively. They say, “never judge a book by it's cover,” but this particular cover makes me want to open the book almost immediately. I would have to say that the inside definitely matches the outside. The book is thin, but packs a powerful punch. If one wants to know anything about Elizabeth, but doesn't want to spend hours and hours reading, this is the place to start. It is unique and sumptuous.
Elizabeth was a complex person, and not very easy to please, which you think might detour others from wanting to be around her, but this is just not so. Besides the benefit of being close to her, there was something more endearing about her that made men want to compete for her affections. These men in her life played a vital role in English history. Their influence, although quite passive, contributed to keeping peace to the realm just by being at her side. It wasn't just Robert Dudley who loved her, but others who each had their own personality to attract her attentions.
The book starts with the most obvious of men; her father, and then ends with one of the least liked by me; Robert Devereux. After a short biography of each man, there is a fictionalized scene between Elizabeth and himself. The author, in my opinion, is quite brilliant with the way he made the words flow so naturally on the pages. Each scene pulled me in and made me feel as if I were in the same room with Elizabeth, so long ago. He has a knack for being able to make Elizabeth come alive on the pages. His words are what I would imagine in my mind, her exact same words, and her actions the same actions. Forget television, read this book! It is very entertaining, and fast paced. It only took three days to read the book, an hour per sitting.
I like how the author wrote the book as if I were on a weekend tour with him, learning about Elizabeth and her dynamic personality, that was clearly shaped by the men in her life. He even rated each of the men according to his perception of them. They would rate between one Tudor rose to five Tudor roses, five being the highest of admiration. Cute.
By the conclusion of the book, the reader will be well educated on how life at court with Elizabeth would have been. It touches upon all the major points in her life, and clears up any confusion that one might have encountered during a fictional portrayal of Elizabeth. This little book is probably one of my favorites so far, and I have read many Tudor related books. Not only do I like it because it is short, and very detailed, but because the author is meticulous in his research. There were a couple of things that I learned too.
I highly recommend any of Robert's books. They are all wonderful.