Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen Paperback – 6 May 2010
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"It’s a challenge to cast fresh light on figures such as Anne Boleyn and Mary Tudor, but Borman rises to it… Perhaps Borman’s most significant achievement is to have given us and innovative exploration of the implications of Elizabeth’s gender for her queenship, and a new perspective on this most closely studied of reigns"--BBC History Magazine
A groundbreaking and fascinating biography of England's most famous queen, viewed through the women who influenced her life.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It sparked my imagination in a way history books don't usually. I found myself wondering so many "what ifs" while reading this book - what if she had married and had children? What if she had met Mary Queen of Scots? What if Anne Boleyn had not been executed?
This is a very readable, far from boring account of Elizabeth I and I think it will appeal particularly to women because of the empathy the author has towards her subject.
Concentrating entirely on a totally overlooked aspect of Elizabeth's life, her relationships with the women who interacted with her, from step-mothers, half-sister Queen Mary, numerous cousins who had a place in the succession such as Mary, Queen of Scots through to her governesses and ladies-in-waiting, the book reveals a side of Elizabeth unknown to me. And I didn't much like what I discovered. Her love and loyalty was bestowed only on those women who were prepared to admire her unconditionally and put her first in their lives such as her governess Kat Ashley, her step-mother Katherine Parr. Even this was not always enough to secure her appreciation as Lady Mary Sidney found out after nursing Elizabeth devotedly through the smallpox and having caught it herself was so badly scarred by it as to be unrecognisable she was then deprived of her good apartments at Court and assigned a cold, draughty lodging for which she begged for wall-hangings to keep out the cold in vain.
Elizabeth treated her rivals with scant respect: when her sister and predecessor on the throne Mary Tudor died Elizabeth insisted her epitaph be altered becuase it included no mention of herself and left Mary, Queen of Scots to remain unburied until her corpse became unbearably noisome. Being the much vaunted Virgin Queen made her envious of those women close to her who found happiness in marriage and very dog-in-the mangerishly determined that nobody should have what she did not.Read more ›
It is not a dry and academic book that the ordinary reader might struggle with (eg myself!) neither is it patronising, a really enjoyable and very interesting read.
Look forward to more of her work, she will now be up there with my other favourite, Alison Weir.
My only criticism is that Borman does not examine Elizabeth during the invasion of the Armada in more depth. All you read are the famous quotations, very bare facts and a conclusion which lacks any build up of argument. I do feel that Borman missed an opportunity to show even deeper insight into Elizabeth in this short but dramatically power-enhancing part of her life. To rush on to Arbella Stuart seems a bit pointless in comparison to having basically skipped through the absolute pinnacle of Elizabeth's reign. I am left feeling out of the loop as to why this topic is neglected......
On the whole however, this book is delightful, it includes extracts from sources in the authentic Elizabethan language and the author's examination of evidence is balanced throughout but not without inspiration. It does not feed a so-called cult view of Elizabeth nor does it try and deconstruct such a Gloriana obsession. It does however illustrate how Elizabeth created this cult around herself as a very sharp political tool.
I recommend this to anyone who is drawn to this historical figure for whatever reason, it provides a personal history of Elizabeth that academics seem to shy away from all too often. Too many history books try to be impartial to the point of dryness and writers like Tracey Borman bring much needed colour back to the subject.
Despite my criticism I still give it a 5 star rating.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very interesting and enjoyable read about the significant and influential women in Queen Elizabeth I's life. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Brisgirl
Bought this as a Christmas present for a friend who said it was a fantastic read.Published 5 months ago by Kris
Usual Tracy Borman high standard of writing. She makes masses of factual information,including letters and speeches, somehow easy to assimilate and enjoyable at the same time. Read morePublished 6 months ago by CF
VERY INTERESTING TO READ OF SOME OF THE PEOPLE I HAVE JUST VAGUELY HEARD OF. I WOULD THINK ANY TUDOR FAN WOYLD ENJOY THIS BOOKPublished 7 months ago by gl
Rather too much detail re clothes, day to day lives etc but otherwise well research and written and very informativePublished 8 months ago by Terry Quarterman
This is another gem from Tracy Borman. Very informative and even though you might think you know all that there is to know about Elizabeth, I think you will find quite a lot in... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Liz
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