Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor by Kathryn Lasky

(Cover picture courtesy of Longitude.)

November 10, 1544

I have been living with this constant fear of exile now for two days.  So far I have heard nothing.  Plans seem to proceed as normal for our move to Ashridge.  This palace, too, is becoming quite filthy, what with all the banqueting and people and gambling between Michaelmas Feast and the feast of All Saints’ Day.  The roses bloom in our garden with such vigor, but the stench from the courtyard over the wall outside the kitchen is unbearable.

Kat is mumbling something about baths again.  The woman is becoming a fanatic.  I think we have had half a dozen baths since summer…

Queen Elizabeth I.  Pretty much everyone knows she was a good queen and some people know what she accomplished during her reign (like outlawing wife-beating after 10:00pm, according to one of my Bathroom Readers), but not many really know much about her childhood and teenage years.  In this installment of the Royal Diaries, Kathryn Lasky presents a Rated G version of Elizabeth’s teenage years for people ages 10-12.

This book really contains no new information for me, but readers who have yet to discover the wonders of historical fiction will love it.  Elizabeth is a good main character and a very interesting narrator as she is strong even when she is betrayed and mistreated by her own father, King Henry VIII.  We really see the woman she will become later on as she learns skills that were unusual for women of the time, like archery, falconry and languages like Greek and Latin.  And we also see how she yearns for her father’s acknowledgement of her, how she treasures every smile or every bit of encouragement he gives her.

The plot isn’t what I would normally call fast-paced, but it is interesting enough.  Young readers will sympathize with Elizabeth while learning a great deal about Tudor England.  Really, what more could you ask for in historical fiction?

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

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