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My Enemy, the Queen

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,796 ratings  ·  93 reviews
It was Lettice who married the Earl of Leicester, whom Elizabeth I loved. And it was Lettice who was the mother of the Queen's beloved Earl of Essex. That young earl would one day break the Queen's heart.

It was always Lettice, the constant spoiler in the triangle of love surrounding Elizabeth...
Mass Market Paperback, 444 pages
Published September 12th 1981 by Fawcett (first published 1978)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  2,796 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
The court of Elizabeth I from another viewpoint. Interesting read, I was fascinated to learn more about Lettice Knowles. From previous books I have read about the period, I had heard Lettice's name occasionally, and knew there was some speculation about whether or not Henry VIII fathered her mother during his affair with Mary Boleyn. We'll never know.

All in all an enjoyable read - not the greatest in the historical fiction genre, but worthwhile to learn more about the secondary players in the
Just arrived from Finland through BM.

The first part of this book was just about the love affair between Lettice, Elizabeth I and Earl of Leicester, nothing else. After Leicester's death then the plot became quite interesting with the characters of Earl of Essex, Francis Bacon and Raleigh.
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lettice Devereaux tells the tragic story of Elizabeth I and her love for two men - the Earl of Leicester and the Earl of Essex. One must move past the persona Lettice projects to see the essence of this tale. Lettice's life revolves around court and the Queen who is her cousin. A vain woman who prides herself in her beauty, she falls in love with the queen's favorite, the Earl of Leicester, a womanizing and most ambitious man. He is handsome, charismatic, and devilishly capable of extracting ...more
I read this back in grade school when I was first getting into historical fiction. Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt was one of the first authors I read because my mother had lots of her books. I enjoyed this one immensely when I read it, but later Plaidy reads haven't been nearly as exciting. IMO Plaidy is a great author to learn about a time period or historical figures, but one you know the history the prose gets kinda dull as it tends to read like lightly-dramatized biography.
Linda Bridges
Lettice Knollys, cousin to Queen Elizabeth I, becomes Elizabeth's rival throughout her life. Vying with each other when young over who is the most beautiful and sought after, Lettice , a young widow, angers Elizabeth by marrying Elizabeth's favorite, Robert Dudley. As Elizabeth constantly demanded his presence at court, Lettice becomes more and more resentful. Following Dudley's death, Lettice marries again, but concentrates her efforts on promoting her son from her first marriage, Robert, Earl ...more
May 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Elizabeth I
"The Other Boleyn Girl" should be this good. Victoria Holt could tell a story and make it fascinating with nary a ripped bodice in sight.

I didn't believe Lettice Knollys actually existed until I came across a reference to her in a scholarly work. She was the granddaughter of Henry VIII and Mary Boleyn, the second wife of the Earl of Leicester and the mother of the Earl of Essex.

If you can find this book, read it.

Slow going, unfortunately. Lettice is neither likable nor entertainingly bitchy. Hoping things will pick up.

Update: finally picked this one up and finished it. On the whole, I liked it, but I never really warmed to Lettice, especially in her behavior to Robert Dudley. This did whet my appetite for reading Margaret George's new novel about Elizabeth, though.
Jun 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite historical novel ever! I had just recently traveled through England, and Holt talks about all the amazing places that I had just seen the ruins of. It is a must to anyone who has traveled through London and the surrounding countryside. I had read so many different accounts of the Earl of Leichester and the Queen, and this was absolutely the most engrossing.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-childhood
Books written by Victoria Holt are so cheesy, but sometimes that's exactly what you need. I've read a loooot of her books when I was 14/15 years old..that was the last time I've read them. I absolutely loved them at the time. I'm thinking of reading one of her books just for the old times sake! =)
Nov 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
I read so many Victoria Holt books that I don't remember much about them individually. But this one did stick with me. It was a great read and I really enjoy historical fiction especially about the old royal families.
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! So detailed, and she tells the history beautifully and describes Queen Elizabeth in a way few writers do.
Lindi Peterson
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've probably read this book at least 10 times--and I love it every time I read it.
It is well known that Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I had an intense love affair that last decades. The stormy relationship was definitely well known and widely commented through the years, and here in this book their story is told through the eyes of someone close to both of them.... Lettice, Elizabeth's cousin and Robert's second wife.

I don't think Lettice is an easy character, nor is she that likable, especially when she has a tendency to want to gloat to Elizabeth....which is always such a
Avis Gill
This book was hard to put down. I love reading about characters during this time period.
Queen Elizabeth 1 was and is and interesting person. She had some characteristics of her father Henry VIII and some of her mother Anne Boleyn. She had her father's temper and her mother's susceptibility to good looking men. She had her favorites, of course and she used them to the best of her ability. She was the Queen and she expected loyalty, praise, compliments on her looks and she kept herself at arms
Bethany Swafford
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Queen Elizabeth 1st cousin, Lettice, feels as though there is a rivalry between them. She is triumphant when she marries the Earl of Leicester. But has she really won, or will she be beset by tragedy after tragedy?

This is a fictional telling of something that actually happened. Lettice was the queen's cousin and did marry the earl. She was banished from the court for marrying the man Elizabeth loved. And it was a tragedy from start to finish.

Told from Lettice's point of view, it was difficult to
Carolyn Harris
The historical novels of Jean Plaidy (another one of her pen names was Victoria Holt) are always enjoyable vacation reads, informed by primary sources and filled with period details, engaging dialogue and memorable characters. My Enemy of the Queen examines the rivalry between Queen Elizabeth I and her Boleyn cousin Lettice Knollys as they were both attracted to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. None of the major characters are especially likable - Robert Dudley is portrayed as charismatic but ...more
Sara G
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I struggled with this one. It's the story of Lettice Knollys, Queen Elizabeth I's cousin (on the Boleyn side) and the mother of the Earl of Essex. Lettice incurred Elizabeth's wrath by marrying her favorite man without permission, Robert Dudley. The book is super repetitive regarding the love triangle, and Lettice's character repeats over and over that she has a certain nature (imo it's an old-fashioned way to say she likes sex) and can't help herself. Also, the book is told from Lettice's POV ...more
جليس  الكتاب
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite tedious and what has kept me reading was to know the other side of story behind the scenes and the humane approach of the greatest monarch in English history ever. You can not win it all, or win all the time. She has ruled during time of turbulence. As for Lettice, she has outlived all and had the time to reflect on her life. The changes in the political system came sooner than anticipated and was tasseled by what Henry VIII has done. If Ann Boleyn was hailed as a reformer, what could ...more
Kamalika Mukherjee
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books set in the Victorian England. It's even more interesting because it's one of the very rare books which is written from a woman's POV. In that age and era, it's rare to get a glimpse of the lives of women since they were treated as less than second-class citizens even when the country was ruled by a powerful Queen. Any history buff would love it and the sizzling love-triangle is a bonus.
Debby "Piene Raven"
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: authors-g-h
My Enemy The Queen was the first book that was given me by my mom to read in earlier print. This book is what started my passion for reading regency, Georgian, historical romances. I enjoyed reading it then and the recap some time ago. Good book to read.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance
I was not prepared for how bananas this book was going to get. It’s a fictionalized (and kind of over-dramatized, in my opinion) account of Lettice Knowles’s life. She was involved in Queen Elizabeth’s court, and married Robert, the Earl of Leicester, who was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorites, and then her son with her previous husband, who became the Earl of Essex, also was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorites. I think Holt did a lot of research, because there was a lot of politics and court ...more

I hated this book.

I hated these characters.

I am glad everyone is dead now.

 photo anigif_enhanced-buzz-1093-1355426175-3_zps724d686a.gif

I feel so icky now, and jittery and slightly depressed. Why did I do this to myself?

What we have here is an account from Lettice, Countess of Leicester on her life serving the queen, falling in love with the Queen's favorite beau and their strange three legged relationship that followed.

I don't know who I hated more, vain and evil Queen Elizabeth or vain, evil, and selfish Lettice. OR vain and evil Leicester,
Kylie Cheung
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tudors, elizabeth
Most people familiar with the Tudors will know that Elizabeth was in love with Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, her whole life and died with his last letter close. Most will also know that Anne Boleyn was her mother, and it was her cousin, Lettice Knollys, the daughter of Anne Boleyn's niece, who 'stole' married this great love of hers. I've always been endeared by Elizabeth's forbidden love with Leicester and so by proxy, was never a fan of the star of this book -- no other than Lettice ...more
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I haven't read this since I was about thirteen, but remember it fondly as a really engaging if slightly overblown story of Robert Dudley's second wife. Lettice Knollys was the cousin of Elizabeth I, and was one of her ladies in waiting right up until she secretly married Robert Dudley, at which point she was banished from court. The whole story is told from the point of view of Lettice and charts the feud that was sparked by this marriage between herself and her cousin, the Queen. This does ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I had my own struggle to finish this book , I listened to it as an audio book through bus trips on my trip to Korea. I slept in many parts of the story but I didn't miss much because the events were at least once mentioned again and again by Lattice. Many of the characters were shown in a boring and superficial way since it seems that Lattice consider physical appearance as a way to judge people. I hated all men in the story maybe because they were explained by Lattice point of view. All in all ...more
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Told in the 1st person with so much feeling and verisimilitude, I kept forgetting it was a novel I was reading, not actual history although it was well-researched and historically correct. Queen Elizabeth loved two men: the Earl of Leicester and later the Earl of Essex. Leicester married Lettice, a Bolyn cousin of the Queen; it is her story. She was also the mother by a previous marriage of the boy who became Earl of Essex. This love triange with Elizabeth, Lettice and the men they loved is the ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was the very first novel that I read by Victoria Holt. After reading this book, she instantly became one of my all-time favorite authors. This book certainly did not disappoint. I loved the fact that it was a historical novel that covered the life of Elizabeth I. It is a captivating novel that follows the life of Elizabeth I from her childhood to her death. The story is told from the point of view of Lettice, a cousin of the Queen. It is fascinating to read about their relationship which ...more
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I just finished Elizabeth I by Margaret George and had been disappointed in it. Since it started when Elizabeth was 57, I wanted to know more about her earlier life. This book was mentioned in the back by Ms. George. I happen to have it on my bookshelf, but had never read it, so I thought I would try it now. I really enjoyed it. It filled in a lot of gaps and I felt I knew the characters a lot better. (I should probably now go back and reread the novel by Margaret George, but that isn't going to ...more
Jan 01, 2010 added it
This one is amazing. Honestly, i don't like history but when I encountered this wonderful book of victoria holt, I can't help but read it, and re-read. The story was fantastic and the use of first person point of view to make it more entertaining. In some sense, ,lives of women during the elizabeth era, I say was not given much importance. I never encountered situations in the book that reveals the prerogative of women to holt high office (exception of course, the queen) and to serve during ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
So this book started off pretty good a little slow but I hate the fact that author gives away bg things before they happen so you know whaen someone is going to die (for instance)so then you know whats going to happen next which doesnt exactly keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. I got down to the last like 50 pages and stoped reading it beacuse i knew how it was going to end. So over all - disappointed.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Eleanor Alice Burford, Mrs. George Percival Hibbert was a British author of about 200 historical novels, most of them under the pen name Jean Plaidy which had sold 14 million copies by the time of her death. She chose to use various names because of the differences in