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The Girl in the Glass Tower

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  496 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Arbella Stuart is trapped behind the towering glass windows of Hardwick Hall. Kept cloistered from a world that is full of dangers for someone with royal blood. Half the country wish to see her on the throne and many others for her death, which would leave the way clear for her cousin James, the Scottish King

Arbella longs to be free from her cold-hearted grandmother; to lo
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published June 2nd 2016 by Michael Joseph
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Theresa I love historical fiction. The "fiction" part is imagining what historical figures might have thought and felt and said. It's not meant to be straight…moreI love historical fiction. The "fiction" part is imagining what historical figures might have thought and felt and said. It's not meant to be straight history.(less)

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Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is literary historical fiction styled into the form of a thriller. Fremantle writes a historical account about two real life women about whom little is known, to delineate the hardships and powerlessness that women faced, even if they are high born, it really is a man's world. Arbella Stuart is the potential heir to Queen Elizabeth's throne, imprisoned in a glass tower at Hardwick Hall by the ambitious and scheming Bess Hardwick, the Countess of Shrewsbury. Aemilia 'Ami' Lanyer is a poet an ...more
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
“It was the sheer size of the windows that made the rooms at Hardwick so impossible to heat… Grandmother seemed impervious to the chill and could not hide her delight at her vast shimmering rectangles of glass, fit for a cathedral, the talk of all Derbyshire.”

(photo by my husband Mark)

Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall: so went a common saying about this large Elizabethan country house. Built at a time when glass was exceptionally expensive, it was the pride of Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shr
To read all my book reviews plus author interviews, excerpts and giveaways, visit my blog:

The Girl in the Glass Tower weaves together the stories of two women, drawing on historical fact about each of their lives, although in reality, as the author admits in her afterword, there is no evidence to say they ever met in the way imagined. However, this is historical fiction after all and I really liked the way the author made connections between the situation
Jayne Catherine pinkett
Great TOME beware!
updated on 12 Feb 2017

Excellent historical fiction which soon draws the reader into this period in English history and its intrigue and plot. The narrative covers two parallel stories, the first being the life of Lady Arabella Stuart who was destined to succeed Elizabeth 1 to the English throne. For her 'protection' she is taken to rural Derbyshire at Hardwick. I loved this as we used to live near Hardwick Hall and visited on many occasions, so this brought the backdrop much mo
Laura Tenfingers
Quite disappointing. I've enjoyed two of Elizabeth Fremantle's previous books Queen's Gambit and Sisters of Treason so was surprised by how much this book didn't grip me and was even boring. Nothing happened until 3/4 of the way through and even then I wasn't feeling it. The majority of the book was presumably a set-up of our main character but I found her flat and not well developed even after 300 pages... And the secondary character never became someone I cared about either. Shame.
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Arbella Stuart was long considered a contender for the English throne after the demise of Elizabeth I. So she was kept a virtual prisoner by her grandmother, known to history as Bess of Hardwick, and cocooned against potential threats by Catholic plotters. Fremantle imagines her life and tells it as a sort of memoir being read by out-of-favour court poet Aemilia Lanyer some years later. I've come across Lanyer before in other works that fictionally explore her supposed relations with Shakespeare ...more
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The absorbing and intimate story of Lady Arbella Stuart who so nearly succeeded Elizabeth I to the throne in 1603. In parallel, we experience the story of Arbella's friend, the poet Aemilia Lanyer after she fell from grace, from the court of James I.

LucyLui's Reviews
May 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: april-18, netgalley
The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle

Title - The Girl in the Glass Tower
Author - Elizabeth Fremantle
Published - Feb '17
Publisher - Penguin
Genre - #History
Pages - 464
Price on Amazon - Paperback - £7.74 Kindle - £4.99
ISBN - 1405920041

Arbella Stuart is a royal who lives at Hardwick Hall, she cannot leave. Trapped behind the huge glass windows of Hardwick Hall Arbella longs to be free. But with half the country wanting her to take the throne and the other half wanting her dead so her
Lizzie Riley
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
So, this book was recommended to me and to be fair it was an entertaining novel. However, there was something about it that didn’t quite resonate with me. Maybe it was the length of the book (which IMO should have been shorter) or maybe that I felt little empathy for the characters, I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. Could just be that I’ve read loads of pretty similar novels and I’m getting just a bit bored. It was good to finally read some historical fiction that doesn’t just re-hash ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudors
DNF. I tried to like this, I did but it was just so very dull. No visible plot. A dual narrative that served no purpose and it just bored me to tears.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
‘Memories are like that cracked pane of glass with its subtle distortions.’

Lady Arbella Stuart is ‘The Girl in the Glass Tower’ and I picked up this book with interest: Lady Arbella Stuart had always been a shadowy figure in my reading about Tudor/Stuart history. I knew that she had been considered as a possible successor to Elizabeth I, and when I first came across her name I was convinced it had been misspelled. But I knew little about her.

First, some biography. Lady Arbella Stuart was the onl
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I requested this book from Netgalley on a whim, but I’m glad I did! It’s a historical epic, spanning two Royal Families, two centuries and two rather remarkable women who did their best to throw off the constraints of the era, but who, unfortunately, history has forgotten.
The heroine of the story is Lady Arbella Stuart, cousin to Queen Elizabeth I and, at one time, thought to be the childless Queen’s successor (though the throne eventually went to Mary, Queen of Scots’ son, James. Confession: I
Juliet Bookliterati
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The  Girl in the Glass Tower weaves together the stories of  Arbella Stuart and poet Aemilia Lanyer, both historical figures, educated women in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.  Elizabeth Fremantle does admit that they were both at the Royal Court at the same time, probably in Queen Anne's rooms, there is no actual evidence that they met.  This is a historical fiction and Elizabeth Fremantle uses Aemilia Lanyer and her poetry as a way to tell the story of Arbella Stuart, a les ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Arabella Stuart heeft niet alleen Stuart- maar ook Tudorbloed door haar aderen stromen en wordt daarom van kinds af aan al genoemd als mogelijke troonsopvolger van de kinderloze Elisabeth I. Heel haar jeugd brengt ze door opgesloten bij haar grootmoeder. Wanneer ze uiteindelijk toch naar het Hof gaat leert ze Ami kennen, een jonge dichteres met wie ze haar liefde voor schrijven deelt. Maar al snel blijkt dat voor iemand met koninklijk bloed vrijheid niet bestaat.

Ok, ik ga het zeggen. Fremantle i
Susan Angela Wallace
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The girl in the glass tower by Elizabeth Freemantle.
Tap. Tap. Tap on the window. Something, someone wanting to be heard. Waiting to be free. Tudor England. The word treason is on everyone's lips. Arbella Stuart, niece to Mary, Queen of Scots and presumed successor to Elizabeth I, has spent her youth behind the towering windows of Hardwick Hall. As presumed successor to the throne, her isolation should mean protection - but those close to the crown are never safe. Aemilia Lanyer - writer and poe
Michael Cayley
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A historical novel about Arbella Stuart, whose life was blighted because she was a possible successor to Elizabeth I and so in frequent danger and the focus of conspiracies and suspicions. Intertwined with Arbella's story is that of Ami, former mistress of a courtier and living in poverty in her later life. The historical detail is well done, and revealed naturally as the novel proceeds - there are no artificial 'information dumps'. I have given the book four rather than five stars because Arbel ...more
Alice Rees
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it
It's difficult to write quality historical fiction based on true events, and I think that Elizabeth Fremantle did a good job on the whole. Her writing is of a very good quality and her descriptions of life in and near to court were informed and enlightening. I did, however, wonder about the choice of Arbella Stuart as a subject of a 400+ page book, when much of her life was in confinement, and most of the action doesn't start until the end of the book. If you're a Tudorphile then I'm sure you'll ...more
Evie Pey
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic historical fiction from this established author.

Easy to read with characters I had not read much about. Arabella Tudor is the believed successor of Elizabeth I and spends all of her life waiting for this to happen. Very descriptive it is the final piece in the Tudor historical lineage.

Recommended - thank you to author, publisher and net galley for my copy.
Very interesting historical read !
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF @ 50%

The second audio book I DNF'd in a row.

I love historical fiction but this just bored me to tears. My mind kept wandering and I kept missing key plot points. I know nothing about Lady Arbella Stuart and I don't know if that's why I had such a problem concentrating on this book. I also found the Amy chapters even more boring & pointless and they seemed disjointed from the rest of the story. (view spoiler)
Karin Pearson
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was looking forward to reading this and learning about Arbella Stuart. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy this as I had hoped. The combination of fact and fiction and two interwoven stories of two women made it confusing reading.
Tracey Warr
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Have reviewed in August issue of Historical Novels Review. Fascinating account of Arbella Stuart who almost became queen after Elizabeth I. A well written and insightful story.
Louise Marley
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
The beautiful cover of this book caught my eye first, and when I found out it was about Arbella Stuart I could not resist downloading it. I adore reading historical novels and I knew a bit about Arbella from watching a documentary about her a few years back.

Arbella was a fascinating person, the great-granddaughter of Margaret Tudor (who was sister to King Henry VIII), and so therefore a possible heir to Queen Elizabeth I. As such, Arbella was used as a pawn by those who wanted power, including h
Daphne Sharpe
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Arbella Stuart has the great misfortune to be of Royal blood and to be related to one of the most powerful women in Tudor England, Elizabeth Shrewsbury, mistress of Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. Arbilla was also the niece of the Catholic queen , Mary Stuart, also known as Mary, Queen of Scots and from an early age, these two formidable ladies groomed Arbella to become the successor to Queen Elizabeth.
During this age, titled young girls were taught skills designed to make them attractive for the
Jo-anne Atkinson
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Arbella Stuart is of the royal blood and potentially an heir to Elizabeth I. In order to keep her safe, Arbella is in the care of her grandmother Bess of Hardwick and kept far away from court and any Catholic sympathisers who may wish to influence her. Whilst young Arbella tries to rebel, her older self becomes resigned to her fate. Upon the death of Elizabeth Arbella is summoned to court as a cousin of the new king, however falling in love with a distant relative is seen as defiance. Arbella's ...more
Katrina Oliver
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Interesting read, which encouraged me to go off and research the characters more closely. The book follows the life of little known Lady Arbella Stewart, cousin to James I and potential successor to Elizabeth I. And what a dreadful life she had! The writer highlights the way in which women of royal blood became pawns -in the fight for power and in religion. Elizabeth I had no heir, so all children of royal blood were potential successors to the throne and the reader follows the manipulation and ...more
Graham McGhie
A fictional account of the life of Lady Arbella Stuart, thought at one point to be a serious contender for the throne of England, as a successor to Elizabeth I. Yet surprisingly little has been written about her to bring her to the general public's attention.
The novel is based on surviving papers and, although a work of fiction, the lifestyle depicted in the novel is probably very close to reality.
The book makes for a
Rae Stoltenkamp
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
As I wasn’t educated in the UK I have none of the knowledge other people do of all the kings and queens of England or the various people dragged into brutal and bloody wars as a consequence of the desire for the British throne. So I often turn to historical fiction to enlighten me to some degree. It is of course by no means an exact way in which to gain knowledge of these royals but I’m averse to reading non-fiction so seems as good a way as any to go about it.

This book sucked me into a little k
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another reminder from history how different women's lives were in the past. Even for someone born into privilege, there were so many restrictions on women that made them largely dependent on men all her life. A woman couldn't even have access to her inheritance, thus almost guaranteeing only live thtough marriage. In this book we have a clastrophobic story of a woman confined, chained forever due to the dubious misfortune of being born into royal lineage. She cannot marry without king's permissi ...more
Katherine Scott
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
The good outweighs the bad for this book, but let's look at each. This is the story of Arbella Stuart, granddaughter of Bess of Hardwick and considered an heir to Queen Elizabeth I. Arbella lives at Hardwick Hall as a virtual prisoner "for her own protection." Fremantle does a good job of taking the reader inside Arbella's quite unpleasant life, especially the fear and suspicions surrounding potential Catholic threats. As a recent visitor to Hardwick Hall, I enjoyed the descriptions of the build ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Oct 02, 2016 11:01AM  
  • The Constant Queen (Queens of Conquest #2)
  • The Enemies of Versailles (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy #3)
  • The Queen's Choice
  • Le Temps Viendra: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, Volume I
  • Portrait of a Conspiracy (Da Vinci's Disciples #1)
  • Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower
  • The Autumn Throne (Eleanor of Aquitaine, #3)
  • The Winchester Goose
  • The Unseeing
  • The Rose of York: Fall from Grace (The Rose of York Trilogy, #3)
  • Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo
  • No Place For A Lady
  • The Silvered Heart
  • Inside the Wardrobe of Anne Boleyn
  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII
  • Anne of Cleves: Henry's Luckiest Wife
  • Sent to the Devil
  • Venus in Winter
Elizabeth Fremantle is the critically acclaimed author of Tudor and Elizabethan set novels: Queen's Gambit, Sisters of Treason, Watch the Lady and The Girl in the Glass Tower. Her most recent novel, published under the name EC Fremantle, is the historical thriller The Poison Bed, described by MJ Carter as 'a Jacobean Gone Girl.'

She lives in London and Norfolk