I, Elizabeth  - summary and reviews        <<back

I, Elizabeth 
The Word of a Queen

To her court she was a powerful and hypnotic figure, torn between flirtatiousness and tyranny. History regards her as one of England's most enigmatic rulers. 

'This Elizabeth has an authentic voice. Forthright, salty, sensual, regal and occasionally foolish, this is as real as a character created by words can be.' 
- The Library Journal

'Cross-hatched with plots and counter-plots, it is told in language that is by turns poetic and bawdy. Written in the first person, it allows Elizabeth to express her fears, her anguish and her desires freely and very effectively. Like most American presidents, Elizabeth wanted to rule the world and be loved, and like them, she learned that it cannot be done' - The Sunday Times of London

'Rosalind Miles, in her magnificent autobiography of Elizabeth I, must have gazed long and hard at the telling picture of her subject in the National Portrait Gallery in London. However Miles has managed to peel away the layers and to humanise those cold black eyes and she does so almost as an artist might approach his easel.

We are given Elizabeth "the bastard girl", the lonely girl, the woman married to her country, the spurned lover and the ageing barren grande dame. Looking at Elizabeth as a 16th century woman is a successful strategy.

Elizabeth I in her courses (Elizabethan for periods), Elizabeth in her yearnings and, overcoming all her nature as her favourite Boethius might prescribe, as Elizabeth the learned. 

The English Queen's appetite for learning in this book is more insatiable than her appetite for power and it becomes the basis of many of her decisions. Miles has used other successful strategies to add a hue of Elizabethan pallor to her historical novel. The book is full of Shakespearean echoes (inward grief must out or ulcers will within). There is even a mischievous indirect reference to the great Elizabethan dramatist and poet. Poet courtiers Wyatt, Surrey and Spencer make tantalising appearances. 

It would be wrong to think I, Elizabeth is simply a stitched strategy of learning worn lightly on the sleeve, or of a dash of colour here, a dash there - this is a page-turner and the learning is woven seamlessly by award winning Miles. We can't help liking the Fairy Queen and her age.'
The Irish Examiner

'History brought alive' - The Sunday Express 

'A beautiful tapestry of fact and fiction' - Today 

'Superb' - The Times of London

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Yet how did Elizabeth see herself? Brilliantly capturing the spirit of the times, the spell-binding novel from Rosalind Miles boldly recaptures the private and public life of the 'Virgin Queen'.

In this stunningly-conceived epic, Miles uses her acclaimed skills as a storyteller and historian to bring to life the woman behind the myth. I, Elizabeth gives us the extraordinary story of this mesmeric figure in her own voice, from her earliest memories as the unwanted daughter of 'the French whore' Anne Boleyn, to her final triumph when she thwarted the last serious assault on the English throne, the armed uprising by the dashing Earl of Essex. 

Elizabeth ruled England for almost half a century during some of the hard pressed island's most famous times. In Miles's vivid recreation of those years, Mary Queen of Scots, Robin Dudley and the fatal Earl of Essex, Raleigh and Drake and the trusty Cecil, come to life again along with all the Queen's men. We trace Elizabeth's long and extraordinary life among her advisers, knights and lovers, and follow her into her inner chamber with her women, wondering, always wondering, who she can trust.

I, Elizabeth is a tour de force of imagination, wit and scholarship. Miles has accomplished that rare feat: she has written a historical novel that is as entertaining as it is enlightening. Imperious, brilliant, calculating and insecure, this Queen Elizabeth is as alive today as she was in her own time.

Reviews

'An impressively-researched fictional account of England's great queen. Miles faithfully, and in Elizabeth's narration with spirit, follows every alarm and flight... weighty in size, scope and ambition' - Kirkus Reviews

'Miles interprets the inner woman. Despite its length, this convincing novel never falters' - Booklist

 

 

 

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