Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

April 22, 2008

The Redheaded Princess

By Ann Rinaldi
Era: England in the 1500's
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

One of the most famous monarchs in history was England's Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of the infamous Henry VIII and Anne Boelyn. This book chronicles her history as a child, teenager and young woman--all before she actually became queen. At its base, it is a story of a girl who even as a very small child knew she wanted to be queen. But she was out of favor with her father, living in a country estate. Her younger brother Edward was named as heir to the throne, then her older sister Mary. Even as Elizabeth received the training necessary for a princess and queen-to-be, she still always had to be so careful because living in a time of great uncertainty of leadership, the slightest hint of being involved in a plot or treachery could sentence her to be jailed in the Tower of London...or worse, to be beheaded! But even as Elizabeth learned how to tread a careful political path, other things tugged at her heart. Like the handsome Sir Thomas Seymour, who acted like he might love Elizabeth, but whose aspirations for power were too great. Or Robert "Robin" Dudley, her childhood playmate whom she always loved, but was out of her league. Although this is fiction, it is so carefully researched that readers will feel like they truly know Elizabeth and what happened in her life before she ascended to the throne. Readers may be surprised to learn how much time she spent jailed in the Tower, or sent away to live in banishment from the court, but how she still managed to survive to become one of the strongest women leaders the world has ever known. A fascinating portrait of an amazing person.