The Bastard Princess – Gemma Lawrence
The Bastard Princess chronicles the early life of Elizabeth I from birth in 1533 to the age of sixteen and the beginning of the reign of her sister Mary I, the first queen of England. Having a keen interest in history, particularly the Tudor period, I was enthusiastic to read this book as I feel that the Tudor times to be the most infectious and enthralling historical period. I am glad to say it did not disappoint.
This book stays true to the historically documented facts known about Elizabeth’s childhood and journey through adolescence yet manages to inject life and drama into these well-known accounts of the iconic Queen Elizabeth 1. Elizabeth’s early years reveal the labyrinth of manipulation, betrayal and subterfuge she had to navigate throughout her childhood and adolescence.
Portraying energy and personality to the events experienced by Elizabeth is an accomplished feat to achieve while working within the confines of the existing evidence available. Keeping it believable expanding the feelings and emotions to her life without distorting the facts, requires masterful narrative and Gemma achieves this brilliantly.
It is written in the first person from Elizabeth’s perspective as she reflects over her life. This enhances and humanises the details, revealing the intrigue, naivety, cunning and ruthlessness behind Elizabeth’s actions. The story describes the waking of an innocent child to the awareness of the volatility and fragility of her position and the events which created such a pragmatic calculated fiercely independent and intellectual woman, strong enough to stand alone and rule among men. It’s reminiscent of the ‘House of Cards,’ illuminating the political games that had to be played at the Tudor Court and how she negotiates her way through potential scandal and accusation of treason, treading the fine line between adulation and execution.
A totally captivating book and one which I highly recommend. Now I’m looking forward to the next instalment the ‘Heretic Heir.’