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Synopsis: The family behind the Virgin Queen
It is 1559, and Elizabeth Tudor has just succeeded to the throne of England. Beside her are the family who will share the momentous triumphs and setbacks of her reign: the Allgraves. Richard and Margaret Allgrave’s lives and those of their children and grandchildren are destined to be closely bound to that of the queen, though with such power will also come grave personal sacrifice.
This is a tale of kinship, loyalty, heroism and reward, set in the time of Drake, Frobisher and the Armada; of Mary Stuart, sent to her violent death. It is also the story of Elizabeth herself, the woman behind the magnificent façade of velvets, silks and jewels. A woman who passionately loved just one man, but chose to devote her life to her country and its people. Together Elizabeth and the Allgraves created the Tudor Heritage – a nation whose power was to be feared and respected for centuries to come.

My review: I liked this a lot better than Elizabeth, The Witch’s Daughter (the book preceding this one) probably because I’ve read less on  Elizabeth’s reign than I have of the events leading up to it.

It’s another short book covering many years so as before there has to be an awful lot of information left out but this seemed to flow much better. More detail of secondary characters and a good section detailing the sacking of the Spanish Armada. I liked the side story of the Allgraves – now I need to know if they were real or made up to enhance the novel.

It’s light on the rumoured love interest with Robert Dudley but for me I’m glad because it’s been done to death elsewhere so the focus on friendship is far more interesting.

Interesting to read that these books are being re-issued 40 years after first publication and so were some of the authors earliest works. I’ll be checking out some of her other later stuff. Many, many years of reading first books of authors for book clubs it’s interesting to read the early works and see the burgeoning talent so I’m keen to read more.

It’s a lovely piece of historical fiction and as said I’m going to look out for some more.

Free arc from netgalley