Saturday, October 4, 2008

Beware, Princess Elizabeth

Beware, Princess Elizabeth by Carolyn Meyer

Beware, Princess Elizabeth follows the life of England's Queen Elizabeth I, from her father's death to her coronation. Meyer does an excellent job of introducing teen readers to the life of someone they have no doubt heard of, but know little about. Even this adult reader learned a lot from this book, but I'm not sure how much is fact versus fiction.

Told from the perspective of Elizabeth, the story spans eleven years. Readers will be intrigued by Elizabeth's patience as she first lives through her nine-year-old brother's reign as king (a mere six years), where she watched as her brother was controlled like a puppet by his two maternal uncles. Then, Elizabeth must suffer through the rule of her sister, Mary, as she burns Protestants at the stake and imprisons Elizabeth.

The book not only gives readers a look at Elizabeth's life, but also but what life was like for the ruling class in 16th century England. Courtly manners are observed as well as strange customs, such as Elizabeth being required to attend the birth of the next heir to the throne. There is also some political material as we learn of the two Seymour brothers (Elizabeth's brother Edward's uncles) and there goal of seizing power for themselves, and the use of marriage to gain power.

Overall, this book does a wonderful job of introducing readers to Elizabeth and proves to be a quick read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially fans of the Dear America: Royal Diaries books. This book too is part of a series, Young Royals, other women such as Anne Boleyn, Bloody Mary, Catherine of Aragon and more are the subject of the others in this series.

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