I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles


i-elizabethThere’s a lot of this sort of thing about recently – fictionalized accounts of the Elizabethan and Tudor periods.  Alison Weir has been churning them out by the bucketful, as has Phillippa Gregory.  I’m fascinated by Elizabeth I, so I’ve even sampled some of Gregory’s fare (“The Virgin’s Lover“).  “The Other Boleyn Birl” was even made into a bodice-ripper of a film starring the beautiful Natalie Portman and equally beautiful Scarlett Johansson.  But I digress.  I, Elizabeth is fantastic.  It makes “The Virgin’s Lover” look tawdry, the characters as limp as paper dolls.  Phillippa’s Elizabeth has two characteristics:  vanity and red hair.   Rosalind’s Elizabeth is a fully formed human being, and an extraordinary one at that.  It’s beautifully written, and historically accurate in the style of Robert Graves (“I, Claudius“):  she merely supplies what history has omitted.  Plausibly.   Phillippa Gregory would have us believe that Elizabeth I spent most of her time pouting.

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