Read The Marriage Game by Alison Weir Online

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Bestselling historian Alison Weir brings all her knowledge of Elizabeth I to vivid life in a novel of intrigue, sex, plots, mysteries and tragedies, amid all the colour and pageantry of the Tudor court.Their affair is the scandal of Europe. Queen Elizabeth presents herself as the Virgin Queen but cannot resist her dashing but married Master of Horse, Lord Robert Dudley. MaBestselling historian Alison Weir brings all her knowledge of Elizabeth I to vivid life in a novel of intrigue, sex, plots, mysteries and tragedies, amid all the colour and pageantry of the Tudor court.Their affair is the scandal of Europe. Queen Elizabeth presents herself as the Virgin Queen but cannot resist her dashing but married Master of Horse, Lord Robert Dudley. Many believe them to be lovers, and there are scurrilous rumours that Elizabeth is no virgin at all.The formidable young Queen is regarded by most of Christendom as a bastard, a heretic and a usurper, yet many princes covet Tudor England and seek her hand in marriage. Under mounting pressure to take a husband, Elizabeth encourages their advances without ever committing; a delicate, politically-fraught balancing act which becomes known as ‘The Marriage Game’. But treading this dangerous line with Robert Dudley, the son and grandson of traitors, could cost her the throne…Played out amidst the splendour of the Tudor court and the most famous events of a great age, THE MARRIAGE GAME is a dramatic, complex and deeply poignant tale of intrigue, love and loss. At its heart is our greatest Queen and the emotional truth of one of history’s most extraordinary love affairs....

Title : The Marriage Game
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780091930868
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 432 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Marriage Game Reviews

  • Samantha
    2019-05-15 17:48

    To start, I will admit that I have a lukewarm relationship with Weir's writing. I have rated her works between 2-4 stars, though I usually enjoy her novels more than her nonfiction. I found myself double-checking the name on this cover because it was so reminiscent of another author that I have sworn not to read again.Specifically, this novel was boringly repetitive, shallow, and a very unappealing picture of Elizabeth I. Not being a fan of Elizabeth the way many are, I was prepared for the characterization of her as a manipulative, selfish monarch who left the country ripe for civil war with her refusal to plan for her succession. This is actually worse.She is petty, cruel, and unreasonable. Elizabeth leads her suitors on for decades and then falls into torrents of tears when any man gives up on her and dares to marry another. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Robert Dudley, who gave up over 20 years of his life believing that she would eventually marry him. On the other hand, I could not fathom why he would want to marry her. Surely, even the crown of England could not be worth putting up with this vain shrew.While I do believe that Elizabeth was probably as manipulative as Weir has painted her, I hope that she was at least a little more intelligent. The focus of this novel, as the title suggests, is the constant evasions of Elizabeth when it came to her marriage. She would encourage suitors then send them away, invite them to her bed but frustrate them before culmination, and promise her hand only to quickly change her mind.Every other line spoken by Elizabeth in this novel was some version of "I will not be told what to do!" Pout, stomp, and preen. She even has irritating nicknames for the poor men lining up to kiss her feet: my Eyes, my Spirit, and my Frog. I really wish I was making that up. There is also an excessive use of exclamations!On the other hand, some aspects of Elizabeth's rule could have been used to make her look even worse. The fate of the Grey sisters is only the subject of a few sentences, writing off some of the most hateful and baseless actions of the revered Virgin Queen.Based on previous reviews, I had hoped that I may enjoy this negative portrayal of Elizabeth more than others who wish to believe that she is a wonderful example of womanhood. My lack of recommendation for this novel is more due to the dumbing down of Elizabeth and her life story than it is because I think her personality has been slandered. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for my copy of this novel. Opinions expressed are my own.

  • Orsolya
    2019-05-03 18:57

    “The Marriage Game” is immediately flooded with red flags and cringe-worthy moments starting the novel on a poor note. As soon as page 10, Weir strikes with historical inaccuracies. Whether this is due to Weir’s own beliefs on the matter or merely taking a historical liberties on the pretext of fiction; it is not of concern. The point is that the general reader will accept this as truth and run with it based on Weir’s fame for penning nonfiction history books. Even aside from this blatant error, “The Marriage Game” is no better than a YA novel and a boring one, at that. Elizabeth is depicted as a one-dimensional, shallow character; not truly exploring her womanly strengths and weaknesses. Her romance with Robert, her refusal to marry, and the proposals from foreign princes are all portrayed by Weir as nothing more than high school drama. Plus, it is the same thing on each page. Nothing truly ‘happens’ and the plot doesn’t intensify or progress. Weir over saturates the text of “The Marriage Game” with, “As you know, Bob”-style storytelling in order to set the stage and explain Tudor back stories. This is tedious and slackens the already slow pace of the novel. Also evident is a chunky narrative with clear up-and-down arcs which are too extreme: i.e. slow and exciting then repeat several times. “The Marriage Game” does have some strong moments such as the scandalous death of Amy Robsart (Dudley’s wife). Although Weir doesn’t pursue this in depth, she explores some of the possible theories providing the reader with historical context. This is also true for other topics in “The Marriage Game” such as the situation with the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots and other political forays. Weir would have done much better composing a novel focusing more on these historical events instead of an entire text on repetitive love and marriage. The conclusion of “The Marriage Game” feels like a different novel entirely by taking a complete 180-degree turn off the marriage topic and instead focusing on the Spanish Armada. This is strikingly emotional (in comparison to the former portions of the novel) but is noticeably disjointed leaving the love subject unanswered and merely forgotten. Weir utilized an ‘Author’s Note’ using it to explain some historical liberties, her opinions, and inspirations. Although, I would have preferred deeper explanations for the benefit of those general readers not as familiar with the topic; it is still quite useful. Sadly, “The Marriage Game” can be summed up as a heavy disappointment: one-dimensional, fluffy, boring, and quite meaningless. It is not only light on the history but also doesn’t really encourage the general reader to engage in further research. “The Marriage Game” is nothing more than mindless entertainment (a fast read) and is only suggested for those unfamiliar with Elizabeth and Tudor England. Those well-read on the matters will gain absolutely nothing from “The Marriage Game” and are better off skipping it.

  • Michele
    2019-04-26 18:52

    Although I've never cared for Weir's historical work (well researched but too biased in my opinion), I did very much like the first historical fiction novel she wrote. This, I felt, was her true calling. It allowed her to put her meticulous research to use and at the same time employ all the bias she wanted -- it was, after all, fiction. Have fun with it, I felt. And the result was fabulous.Not so much for her follow up novel and most certainly not for this novel, The Marriage Game. The research, I must say, is still there. The technical writing of the novel is just...just...oh dear. The problems began for me as early as the third page where we find Elizabeth, soon after the death of her sister Queen Mary I, mentally going over how she plans to run her newly inherited kingdom. Her thoughts are quick to tell us that she will not make windows into men's souls (regarding the question of religion in her realm). Now. Everyone who knows anything about Elizabeth knows this is one of her most famous quotes. We've all read it. It's included in every biography and every work of fiction ever written about her. It's become an over-used trope. Was it really necessary to use it *word for word* in the stinking first chapter? But it was just a sentence so I moved right along. Elizabeth, frankly, is portrayed as a conniving bitch in this book. And this part, I loved. It was a bit refreshing and was what saved the book from a two-star review. Because when you think about it, given her childhood and the environment in which she had to struggle to keep her throne, the woman wouldn't have lasted two seconds if she had been a trusting, loving Polly-Anna. Unfortunately, Weir doesn't go much beyond the bitchy part. The entire plot of the book consists of Elizabeth's yearning for Robert Dudley and dancing around the various marriage proposals that come her way throughout her reign. Angst over Dudley, marriage proposal, weasel out of it, repeat. For 400 pages.Even that I could have forgiven were it not for the dreaded "As you know, Bob" syndrome that pervades nearly every bit of dialog throughout the book. This syndrome will drive you batty once you notice it. It happens when an author wants to fill the reader in on backstory via dialog, but it comes across at utterly stupid when you realize it's information that the characters would already know. So, for example (and I'm not going to quote from the text because the book is an advance copy and the publishers don't want you to quote from it until publishing date, so I'll just make up an example and tell you this is EXACTLY the kind of thing that goes on throughout this book):King Larry to his wife, the Queen: "Well, as you may remember my dear, my father King Joseph the Third who ruled this kingdom for thirty years died last year of consumption and the entire kingdom was in mourning."She's his wife. Of course she remembers, you idiot. She knows who your father was, so you don't need to use his full name and title, I'm pretty sure she would know what he died of, and she probably would be perfectly aware the entire kingdom was in mourning. It just sounds stupid. Gah!The Marriage Game is full of this kind of "as you know" dialog between characters that is frustrating because *of course* the other character knows this and it's meant to inform you, the reader, but comes across and utterly unbelievable and eye-roll inducing. There are better ways to get the back-story to readers (although admittedly, it's a fine line because no one likes an info-dump either. That's why writing historical fiction is hard!).So what we have here is yet another entry of Elizabeth I fiction into the already saturated Tudor market. It's hard to recommend it. For those of you who still have an interest in this time period and aren't completely burned out yet, I do still recommend Elizabeth Fremantle's two novels (her debut last year and another release this year in 2014) as very good entries in the field and suggest you track those down. If you really want to give this one a try, I'd suggest it as a library checkout.

  • Jaylia3
    2019-05-17 20:48

    Spanning thirty years from Elizabeth I's coronation in 1558 to the historic events of 1588 and with an epilogue reflecting on the events of the rest of her life, Alison Weir's The Marriage Game is a mesmerizing book that kept me racing through its pages. Information presented in story form makes more of an impression and sticks with me better than dry facts, which is why I love books of this kind--well researched, vividly written historical fiction.Basing this novel on historical fact, recorded verbal exchanges, and legend, Weir gives readers a glimpse into what may have been going on in Elizabeth's heart and mind during the years of her reign when she used marriage negotiations as a diplomatic tool to strengthen her position at home and abroad. Blending a love story (which was steamier than you might expect from the Virgin Queen) with the portrait of a strong ruler and fascinating woman The Marriage Game will hold the interest any reader who enjoys a good story, especially those already intrigued by Tudor history.

  • Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
    2019-05-17 20:45

    Setting: Elizabethan England2 1/2 StarsThe marriage games began when Elizabeth becomes the newly crowned Queen. The story of her reign as Queen, tells how Elizabeth was clever enough to keep those negotiations going for almost 30 years in hope of making England stronger.Queen Elizabeth uses her suitors as a diplomatic tool while still retaining her independence from any man...well any man except Robert Dudley, the handsome Master of the Horse and also rumored to be Elizabeth's lover.But Elizabeth is wary of marriage and she is most determined to remain free. Even in later years, as the negotiations dwindle, she still ends up ruling the most powerful country in the world with a strong hand.While I did enjoy "the Innocent Traitor"and "The Lady Elizabeth" by this author, this was rather a big disappointment. First off, the author claims it's based on historical events, letters, and conjecture. Hmmmm....My thoughts from this read:Total lack of historical detail, and the place of time was totally missing here and I felt the story was just going around in circles...no beginning, middle or end. While reading I found the narrative style putting me off, yet I carried on.. and still it became predictable, very repetitive and lacked of passion and the character development became a no-go. Speaking of character development, the author's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth was not favorable in the least. We have here in "The Marriage Game" a very unappealing picture of Elizabeth I as petty, cruel, and totally unreasonable. She pouts, stamps her foot when she doesn't get her way and is also portrayed as a tease that leads her suitors around by the crook of her finger. And then goes into a tantrum and crying fit when one of her suitors leaves and moves on. There was enough drama and sleaziness of a soap opera.If your a big "Elizabeth I" fan you might want to pass on this one, and pick up Susan Kay's or Margaret George's telling of her reigning years. Or library loan like I did if you must.

  • Erin
    2019-05-15 13:39

    I think I was disappointed in this. It got very repetitive and sometimes the writing style became very peculiar, as if Alison Weir was forgetting herself and slipping back into her non-fiction style, and just listing what had happened chronologically rather than telling a story. Her Elizabeth was a little caricature at times too.Basically, it was fine, but there are better Elizabeth I bio-novels out there.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-05-23 12:39

    During my time in England, I have consumed an extraordinary number of BBC documentaries (and the occasional drama) about Britain’s long, bloody, occasionally confused history. Some of these covered the Plantagenets, but the lion’s share tend to drift decidedly towards the Tudors. Even the brutal episodes of internecine family bloodshed of the Wars of the Roses have nothing on slow-motion car crash that is Henry VIII’s six wives, Reformation, and Elizabethan England. In The Marriage Game, Alison Weir focuses on the politics involved in Elizabeth I’s marriage (or lack thereof) and how this influenced her relationship with Robert Dudley, the man most historians have labelled her lover in all of the various ways.Marriage now can still, occasionally, be the bond that cements alliances in the vast dynastic power struggles between great houses. But not so much as it was in Elizabeth’s time. And Weir gives us a very good idea of the significance that Elizabeth’s marriage would have for England and for the rest of Europe. In a time where a Protestant England was a new and threatening prospect for Europe, Elizabeth’s marriage was about more than controlling or ruling England. It had direct bearing on the issues of who wielded absolute power over religious matters in Europe in that age. The religion of Elizabeth’s suitors, as well as that of her rival Mary Queen of Scots, would play a large role in determining Elizabeth’s moves in this marriage game.It’s Elizabeth who refers to the matter of her marriage as a game in an attempt to trivialize what is, for her, a terrifying prospect. Weir shows how Elizabeth has to walk a very careful line. Her Parliament and advisers are pressing her for a marriage, both because they doubt her ability, as a woman, to rule, and because it would strengthen England and provide allies against the enmity of France and Spain. Elizabeth, understandably, is worried about the effect of marriage on her sovereignty as a ruler—a fear compounded by what happens to Mary after her marriage to Darnley. But she recognizes the precarious position that England is in. Into this mix Weir adds the complicating factor of her own speculation about what befell Elizabeth when she was a teenager in the care of Thomas Seymour. The Marriage Game paints Elizabeth as every bit the complicated person she should be, even if it’s not quite the likeable character we’d like her to be.Elizabeth kind of comes across as a horrible and manipulative person. Her vacillation with regards to marrying Dudley is very annoying. Whenever she decides to renege on what was a fervent pledge to marry him, she buys him off with a title or land or a castle. (And it works, because in the end he’s more concerned with his worldly advancement than with actually being married to Elizabeth—but he still wants to get in her pants at the earliest opportunity.) As Elizabeth gets older and her marriage prospects diminish, the harsh and vindictive parts of her personality only seem to heighten. I don’t agree with those reviewers who assert that these unlikeable aspects of Elizabeth’s personality necessarily make her unsympathetic as a character. I can sympathize with Elizabeth’s dilemma and the emotions that motivate her to act in these ways, even if I don’t particularly like what she does as a result.Certainly what Weir emphasizes above all else is the sense of loneliness that Elizabeth must have felt. She was a woman without peer. Her closest friends are some of her ladies in waiting who had been companions since her tumultuous years as a young adult during Edward and Mary’s brief reigns. But they don’t really understand the pressure she experiences as a woman monarch. Her most intimate confidante is Robert himself, and he isn’t exactly an impartial party. So it’s not a surprise that Elizabeth projects her uneasiness onto Mary Queen of Scots. Though Mary is a deadly rival, she is, like Elizabeth, a woman struggling to rule a kingdom with deep religious divides. It galls Elizabeth that Mary has no problem taking a husband and producing “an heir of her body,” despite the fact that Elizabeth’s failure to do so is ultimately a decision she made. Yet despite Mary’s clear involvement in plots against Elizabeth, Elizabeth is still horrified by the prospect of executing another country’s (deposed) monarch.As a character study, The Marriage Game is an insightful look into this interpretation of Elizabeth. Yet at times Weir leans too much on character to drive the story. Her expertise as a non-fiction author shines through here. A novel, by definition, really needs a plot. I don’t remember The Captive Queen being as dull as the events here. Told in yearly chapters, the story here feels episodic but repetitive, with the same scenes being repeated over the years as Elizabeth’s advisers tell her to marry and she throws a strop (thanks, England, for the vocabulary). It is definitely interesting, but only to a point.The Marriage Game retells and reexamines Elizabeth I’s reign through the lens of her marriage negotiations. Weir does an excellent job demonstrating how important this single part of Elizabeth’s life was, both to her as a person and to her realm. She interrogates the motivations behind Elizabeth’s reluctance to marry and Robert Dudley’s desire for her hand. As a story, it feels very flat—there’s plenty of drama, but it’s of the one-note variety. As a history, however, it’s interesting and enlightening. I won’t call it the best or most memorable piece of historical fiction I’ve read, but I certainly enjoyed Weir’s perspective and speculation on England’s Virgin Queen.

  • Elizabeth Fremantle
    2019-04-28 17:39

    POLITICS, historical detail and unfulfilled love in Alison Weir's endlessly fascinating account of Elizabeth I's attempt reconcile her personal passions with public life. When Elizabeth I came to the throne, after the horrors and turbulence of her Catholic sister’s reign, she said of her religious policy that she did not intend to “make windows into men’s souls”. What Alison Weir has done in The Marriage Game is to open a window into Elizabeth’s complex and confounding soul. Spanning 30 years, the novel focuses on her protracted indecision and resistance to marriage, describing the way she played off one foreign prince against another in order to maintain her power in Europe. Weir draws Elizabeth as a woman not only haunted by the catastrophic marriage of her mother Anne Boleyn but also burdened, as her father was before her, by the pressure to produce an heir. This was by no means straightforward as 16th-century wives were subject to their husbands, handing over all they owned at the altar, so the consequences of marriage for a queen were potentially calamitous.However Elizabeth is a woman as well as a queen and woven through the fabric of her endless political procrastination is the thread of her passion for the man she loves, the married Robert Dudley. Plagued by speculation and at great risk to her international reputation, their relationship is played out in public and many suspect that Dudley has his eye on the crown. The narrator moves between Elizabeth and Dudley, allowing us a glimpse of their hopes and fears. Elizabeth comes over as difficult, intractable and exasperating for those who serve her, with all these traits becoming entrenched as she ages. However Weir also shows her hidden vulnerabilities and the fire in her belly as she conjures a compelling character. Dudley is depicted as sympathetic in his endless frustration. At its heart, this is a private story of unfulfilled love that seeks to understand the life of a woman whose mother was executed at the hands of her father and who was shadowed by scandal for her entire life.It also describes in extraordinary detail the political intrigues of the period. Indeed, there is little fiction in this novel as Weir allows only her imagination to run free with the inner struggles of her protagonists. The sheer weight of Weir’s scholarship underpins the narrative, making it endlessly fascinating, but perhaps this great strength is also a weakness as, at times, the absorbing detail distracts from the central story.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-09 13:03

    What a disappointing novel. Weir's 'Innocent Traitor' is one of my favourite books I've read, and her first novel about Elizabeth, 'The Lady Elizabeth'--prior to her Queen ship--was a good read too. This one however falls completely flat. I had to force my way through the pages as the repetition of will she/ won't she in regards to marriage went from bad to worse. Yes, I understand that Elizabeth was smart in playing her marriage card in astute political ways but seriously there was a lot more to her reign than just that. Even though this novel is entitled 'The Marriage Game' I had hoped that there would be more content than just boring talks between Elizabeth and her councilors about who to marry, why to marry, when to marry etc. There wasn't. The Spanish Armada? Limited to mere pages in comparison. Same for the trial of Mary Queen of Scots. As for the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert, it gave me a headache. The constant backwards and forewords did not make for an enjoyable read. In fact, Elizabeth's petty behavior towards him turned this legendary Queen into a bitter shrew and I cannot believe that this is the portrayal that Ms. Weir decided to take with her. I am so disappointed.The main reason I give this novel two stars instead of one is because I appreciate the author's note in which Weir explains her reasoning behind certain aspects of the book. I feel as though the research is there, it's just the character development and the narrative style that I take issue with. I think I'll stick with Weir's non-fiction from now on.

  • Marian
    2019-05-14 18:01

    Reading this book is like being on a never-ending carousel ride – the scenery never changes and it becomes tiresome. The same scenario is played out repeatedly, regardless of the suitor, and all the characters (and the reader too) quickly become exasperated with Elizabeth’s antics. It isn’t a very complimentary picture of Elizabeth. She comes off as unstable, shallow, prone to histrionics, manipulative, and even occasionally, malicious. We will never know why This Queen never married,and there's probably a few reasons.Her Mothers death?To many executions? Only twenty-five and newly crowned, Elizabeth vows to rule the country as both queen and king. But her counselors continually press her to form an advantageous marriage and produce an heir. Though none of the suitors have yet worked their way to her throne, the dashing—though married—Lord Robert lays claim to Elizabeth’s heart. Their flagrant flirting, their unescorted outings, and the appointment of Lord Robert to Master of Horse inspire whispers through the court, and even rumors that Elizabeth has secretly given birth to Lord Robert’s child.Events take a dark turn when Robert’s wife is found dead. Universal shock is followed by accusations of murder. Despite the scandal, Elizabeth and Robert manage to navigate the choppy political, economic, and religious waters around them. But the greatest obstacle to marriage between the Queen and her true love may come not from outside forces, but from within.

  • Debbi
    2019-05-13 19:38

    I was really disappointed in this book. Alison Weir is a respected novelist and writer of historical fiction. Her books are usually well researched and well done. This makes The Marriage Game that much more disappointing. The Marriage Game is the story of Elizabeth I beginning with her assuming the throne. Unfortunately, Alison Weir chose to focus on the most salacious rumors rather than creating a compelling story of one of the most powerful women in history. Weir's Elizabeth is a spoiled, capricious brat more interested in making out with Robert Dudley than ruling England. The first third of the book is scene after scene of her pouting, flirting, and doing just about everything short of actually having sex. I've read many books by Alison Weir, and this one is just terrible. I was so annoyed by it that I gave up on it before finishing it.

  • Katie
    2019-05-18 13:45

    Ever since reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, I have been borderline-obsessed with the Tudor dynasty. In fact, I read the aforementioned book at least a dozen times over the course of a couple years. Sadly, I will not be able to say the same for The Marriage Game. Overall, I found the book to be entirely too long, repetitive, and a rather shallow depiction of a Queen that has been purported to be intelligent, wise, and a good care-taker of her people and kingdom.I understood by the title, The Marriage Game, that this book would mostly focus on how bull-headed Queen Elizabeth I was about marriage, and how she managed to avoid it at all costs, despite the many dangers of leaving England without an heir. I knew there would be drama and romance, especially where Lord Robert Dudley was involved, but I was also expecting more of an in-depth look into the Queen's frame of mind in the matters of the religious upheaval that occurred during her sister's reign, the politics of the era, and the advances made in education, the arts, and medicine. Instead, I became intimately familiar with Elizabeth's childish temperament, loose ways with countless men, cowardice in dealing with serious issues, and frustrating emotional outbursts on almost every. single. page.Her love affair with Robert Dudley was intriguing at first, but Elizabeth's ceaseless cat-and-mouse game eventually wore my patience thin. She led this poor man on for 20+ years! Sure, Robert advanced very far and had all the comforts life could offer because of his devotion to and love for the Queen, but he never had a moment's rest or peace for all the emotional upheaval she brought into his life. Elizabeth's pettiness, jealousy, and impertinence was such that she refused to allow Robert the true happiness he could have found in his eventual marriage to Lettice Essex, nor did she allow him the freedom to experience the full joy of fatherhood. She was verbally, and sometimes physically, abusive to her counselors and courtiers, even when many of them had proved their loyalty ten times over. She was excessively vain and vindictive, and quite frankly, a poor leader. Any decision she (eventually) made came only after great effort on the part of her lords and counselors, and after a ridiculous amount of waffling, tears, and hysterics on her part. Can you tell I'm annoyed? I am. I have a headache just writing this review.There were some interesting bits, such as Elizabeth's infamous run-ins with Mary, Queen of Scotts and her skirmishes with the Spanish Armada, but overall, this book is glaringly lacking in one important aspect: plot. While I am more of a character-focused reader, all Alison Weir accomplished in her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I, is painting her in a very unfavorable light, which makes it hard for the reader to sympathize. This is unfortunate because when you think about Elizabeth's tumultuous early years, and how truly terrifying it must have been to be woman on the throne, there should have been a lot with which to sympathize, but Alison Weir simply did not make this a priority. And that's fine. As an author, she chose to focus, very decidedly, on Queen Elizabeth's staunch avoidance of marriage and subsequent flirtations, and left out most of the other historical aspects of her reign.If you approach this book in the right frame of mind, you may very well enjoy it, as others did. It's too shallow for my tastes, thus the two-star rating.

  • Matt
    2019-05-05 12:57

    Queen Mary is dead! Long live Queen Elizabeth! So begins the latest Weir novel, in which the reader is carried through the life of the final Tudor monarch and her strong-willed beliefs. Labelled the "Virgin Queen", Elizabeth held firm to her beliefs that she need not marry, which all but kept her from producing an heir. Weir examines Elizabeth's sentiments on the matter, while juxtaposing the worst-kept secret in Elizabeth's life; her longtime, scandalous royal love affair with Lord Robert Dudley. While Elizabeth happily runs the country as both queen and king, her closest advisors attempt to find a suitor to create needed political alliances and bring forth a child. Elizabeth continues a sordid affair with Dudley, crossing all thresholds save that of intercourse, with a devastating fear of pregnancy and its associated pains. While Dudley pledges his heart to her, even while still married, their relationship never takes the step that he wants and Elizabeth fears most, marriage. Weir parallels the marriage search with the Elizabeth-Dudley strain, spanning decades, which eventually sours their long friendship. Dudley's patience wears thin and Elizabeth cannot stand criticism of her eventually consideration to wed in order to save England on the continent. What began as a game has turned into a war of emotions, where no one is safe from decimation.Weir uses her fictional accounts of historical events to bring the reader deep into the goings-on of the Tudor family. While exploring the role Elizabeth feels she has in the larger Tudor/Henry VIII drama, vindication of Anne Boleyn is at the heart of her reign. Weir also addresses the struggles of the few short-lived monarchs after Henry VIII's death and the vicious treatment Mary took on her half-sister while re-Catholicising England for a short period. With Mary Queen of Scots raising issues in the north, Elizabeth's struggles were by no means solely her own, as she sought to cement her place in history, knowing she had no heir to take over once she left the throne. As the continent explodes and alliances may be the only way for England to save herself, Elizabeth must play the role of monarch and negotiate for the best of her people, putting her own preferences aside. Powerfully written and thoroughly researched, Weir amazes readers with such a smooth and easy to follow novel at the height of English monarchical rule.Kudos, Madam Weir for another powerful novel. You have a great handle on the Tudors and the drama they created. I look forward to your future stories, as they always teach an entertain simultaneously.Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/

  • Brittany
    2019-05-08 12:41

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers of this book for providing me with a copy for my unbiased review. I have read Alison Weir's historical fiction in the past--namely, The Lady Elizabeth, that until the author's note told me I had no clue was intended as a prequel to this novel rather than a standalone book. Basically, the title says almost all there is to say about the bulk of this book-Queen Elizabeth, playing her "Marriage Game" to keep all the men of the nations around her vying for her hand, while all the while stringing along several domestic suitors as well, none for longer and more cruelly than Robert Dudley. Oddly, I started out rooting for the romance, like I think I was supposed to(?), but the longer Elizabeth strung him on the less I liked her--despite the attempts to drum up sympathy for her in this area by bringing in a sexual assault as a girl as one of the primary reasons for Elizabeth's fear of sex; but since it is not really touched upon any more, all it really did was serve to put me on the side of Robert Dudley, frustrated and waiting for Elizabeth to stop being so fickle in a variety of ways. I do not think it was the author's intent to make Elizabeth a wholly frustrating, unsympathetic person--especially in her descriptions near the end of the novel, and regarding execution, we are supposed to see her as good-hearted, if not gripped by fear due to what happened to her own mother; but in the end Elizabeth comes off as manipulative, childish and vain--which was somewhat refreshing if thought about from the standpoint that every other book about her can't seem to stop singing her praises--but I found that I would have much rather Weir spent more time on the parallel she had sketched out in Elizabeth's mind between herself and the Queen of Scots. I am no historian, so I am not sure if the real Elizabeth I was known for giving everyone in her court nicknames--but even if she was, I tired of that, too. I was almost glad when a few people were spared of nicknames, because they just came across as ridiculous once she started giving them to absolutely everyone and using them constantly.While all in all a decent read, I did have some formatting gripes in that the chapters are far too long--and difficult to pick up mid-chapter. I read on commutes, generally, so I rarely had hours at a time to read through huge chunks of the book. So, commuters and 30-minute-a-day readers might find this one hard to get through for that reason alone, as it is extremely difficult to get 'into' this book in short stretches. I didn't love it, didn't hate it...it was just okay. Not enough to keep me from reading Alison Weir again, but also not enough for me to immediately search to see if she has another book out.

  • Jo Barton
    2019-05-23 19:01

    The mystery which surrounds the relationship between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley is the focus for this deadly marriage game, which entices the reader into the very heart and soul of the Elizabethan court. With Elizabeth’s capricious behaviour at the centre of the intrigue there is much speculation as to whether the couple were actually lovers in the physical sense, but what is obvious is that there was a deep and abiding affection between them, which lasted throughout the whole of their lives, and which survived all the speculation and gossip.What Alison Weir has done in this fictional account of the relationship between the young Queen and her courtier is to add weight to the argument that other forces were behind the reluctance of a match between them. William Cecil, Elizabeth’s chief advisor, not only insisted that Elizabeth could only be a successful queen if she had a husband by her side, but was also shown to be instrumental in keeping Dudley and Elizabeth apart. As with all speculative fiction surrounding Elizabeth’s relationship with Dudley scurrilous accusations abound, and the fact that Elizabeth continued to keep her politically correct marriage suitors at bay, only added weight to the scandal that Dudley was more than just her master of horse.As always, Alison Weir brings the scandal of the age alive with her usual skill and fine attention to detail. The story flows well, like a well ordered romantic novel, with more than a hint of intrigue, and even though there are no astonishing revelations, what still shines through the political shenanigans is a remarkable love story, which is made all the more intriguing by the fact that we will never truly know what happened between them. And if I’m honest I rather enjoy the speculative aspect of their relationship rather more than the knowing, and feel that after all this time they are entitled to keep some of their more intimate secrets to themselves.Well worth a read if you like Elizabethan history, but don’t look for any extraordinary revelations just enjoy the love story.My thanks to NetGalley and Random House Uk for my e-copy if this book.

  • Lisa B.
    2019-05-13 18:47

    I am not able to speak to the historical accuracy of this novel, as the only exposure I have had to anything close to this time period is from the TV show The Tudors. It is that show that brought about my interest in British history, especially anything related to the Tudors.From a fictional aspect, I found The Marriage Game to be very entertaining. I love the intrigue of the royal court - back stabbing, politics, power struggles. This story had it all! I thought Ms. Weir had a wonderful ability to weave a story that held my interest. All in all, this was a very enjoyable read.My thanks to Random House Publishing - Ballantine Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to reaf this in exchange for an unbiased review.3.5/5.0

  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*
    2019-05-18 13:03

    This veteran writer of British historical fiction with pinpoint accuracy focused on Queen Elizabeth I's dithering about marriage over 400 pages, and managed to keep it interesting. Tudor history is one of my passions, but I have never been lured in by the story of Queen Elizabeth I. However, for the first time in my decades old romance with Tudor history, I am inspired to watch movies and read more about "Queen Bess" after the excellent manner in which Alison Weir brought this iconic Queen to life. Elizabeth R's voice crackled with life off the pages with Weir's command and authenticity of dialogue.This book spans the period of Elizabeth's ascension to Queen following her coronation up until her death. I am sufficiently moved by this tome to explore "The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel," the prequel to "The Marriage Game."

  • Caidyn (BW Book Reviews; he/him/his)
    2019-05-15 18:39

    Alison Weir does it again.Towards the end of last year, I had quite a few failures with Tudor fiction, something I absolutely love to read. Mainly, my qualms were with Katherine Parr, but it sort of spread over into a general choice to abscond it. The last book I read by Weir (if I remember correctly) was The Lady Elizabeth. I really enjoyed the writing, but disliked the liberties taken. Since these events happened centuries ago, I'm not going to mark anything I write as spoilers. You can look all of this up on Wiki and get a pretty good summary.In The Lady Elizabeth, Weir toyed with a "what if" scenario. What if, Thomas Seymour (Elizabeth's stepmother's, Jane Seymour, brother and her stepmother's, Katherine Parr, husband -- yes, Tudor times were crazy with family marriages) actually did have sex with Elizabeth when she was a young girl? And, even further, what if she got pregnant from that encounter and then had a miscarriage/still birth from it? That was what I hated about that book. I had no problem with the liberties taken because it was plausible. My review aptly puts it, so I won't go further into my qualms.However, in this book, almost a sequel to what happened in The Lady Elizabeth, she carries on with those events having happened. The continuity, I enjoyed. And, I absolutely loved how Weir captured that deep-rooted fear Elizabeth did have of sex and marriage. She, excuse the pun, married her fiction and the documented history very well. I completely agree with her theory about Elizabeth's fear of marriage and sex. She saw it get people killed. Hell, she killed and imprisoned people for it herself, truly making herself no better than her father, a man she constantly craved acceptance and love from despite how he unjustly murdered her mother.Weir characterized Elizabeth perfectly. She captured her fears, her loves, her moods. She did a very good job of showing how Elizabeth was just like her parents. Like her mother, Anne Boleyn, she knew how to toy with a man, to play the marriage game well. Anne was one of the first to really do that. She would bring a man close to her, make him feel special and loved, then push him away and force him to beg for her, then slowly reel him back in with sweetness. Elizabeth played it just as well, even better than her mother. For twenty years, she kept Robert Dudley at her side, hoping they would be wed.Their relationship is at the heart of this book. While she toys with other marriages, she plays him the most. Since this begins at her ascension to the throne in 1558 and ends, technically, in 1588 with a epilogue of her death in 1603, it truly shows the course of her life and their relationship. You see it begin with the perfect relationship triangle. (I was taught this in my developmental psychology course, so bear with me here.) On one side, you have passion; you love each other, there is sexual tension and usually some sex, you want them constantly. Another side, there is emotional bond; you trust them completely with yourself, emotionally and physically. And, on the final side of our triangle, there's commitment; you'll stay with them no matter what because you love them and feel that passion.For Robert and Elizabeth, it starts off like that. Then, the passion wanes; she won't have sex with him, she can't marry him because of her fear. Next, the commitment goes; he has affairs and secretly marries, breaking apart what they still could have had. The only thing that remains, and remains for the rest of his life, is the bond; despite the passion and commitment gone, they still love each other.It was depressing to read it. Each time, I just wanted to shake each of them for different reasons. Robert, stop pressuring her! If you stop, then likely she'll come around to it eventually! Elizabeth, stop playing this cat and mouse game! Someday you'll push him too far and you'll never get him back again!I literally turned into this:and this:All over these two idiots.Now, I'm not too knowledgeable on Elizabeth I's reign and all the suitors that came knocking at her door once she became queen. I'll never claim to be anything like that until I've read the massive biography of her by Anne Somerset, or the one by my dear Alison Weir. But, I know how Weir is. She is fantastically accurate, or as accurate she can be. She might take liberties, but she still sticks as close to the facts as she can. (*cough*unlike Philippa Gregory*cough*) I can trust her account of the history completely. (*cough*Gregory*cough*)Definitely a high rating for me, and if I think about it, I might just have to round it up to five stars. What issues I had were just my annoyance with characters, all of which was historically documented and true to how they were in real life. A very minor issue when it comes down to it.

  • Jane Rose
    2019-05-08 18:59

    I didn't finish this book which is very unusual for me. I probably got to about 40% and it just seemed to go over the same thing over and over again. Elizabeth is being urged to marry and have children to secure succession to her throne but she doesn't want to. And so we go round and round in circles.

  • Lori
    2019-04-28 19:37

    While I really enjoyed this author's take on Lady Jane Grey in "Innocent Traitor" and also found the prequel to this novel, "The Lady Elizabeth," engrossing, I was quite disappointed with this follow up. While I have read, it seems, countless accounts of Elizabeth and the Tudors (one of my favorite historical periods), and the material presented here is not anything new to anyone who has, I was ultimately let down. One element that probably matters to no else but drives me around the bend is a stylistic pet peeve: the excessive overuse of exclamation points. I detest them. If I were Goddess of Writing they would be taken out of all text unless someone is actually screaming for his/her life a la a Freddy Krueger rampage. I teach college writing and even scold my freshman students about NOT using that punctuation mark as the "go to" sentence ending, so imagine my surprise when I realized that seemingly every, other, statement in this novel ended with an !! It got to the point I wanted to scream (using !!!) while wielding a red Sharpie across the pages. But as I said, that's probably just me.I also became utterly dragged down by the seemingly endless repetition of Elizabeth's mind-numbing behavior. As other reviewers have noted, if you're looking for a sympathetic or even glossed over portrait of Elizabeth--look elsewhere--because this is NOT it. This portrayal is of a neurotic, manipulative, unreasonable and ultimately shallow woman who takes great pleasure in casually cruel behavior toward virtually every man in her life. She demands total control of their entire lives; she accepts no responsibility nor does she seem to have any sense of self awareness of what she does or the consequences of her actions. Elizabeth's true character will probably always remain enigmatic, but what we do know from history is this was a fierce woman who was determined to rule and live on her own terms. She was a true survivor, a powerful ruler who pushed England forward in ways other monarchs, before and after, could not. So I found myself cringing when she comes across as whiny, resorting to crying jags to get her way, and the unending, ridiculous, mind games she plays. I kept asking myself why Dudley would stand for this insanity? Why would any of her councilors continue, decade after decade, falling for the same ridiculous ploys? It is hard to imagine the woman depicted here as inspiring any loyalty or confidence. I kept thinking how dumb all these characters--including Elizabeth--come across. How could this woman be the tremendous monarch we know Elizabeth I was? My final takeaway thought is that THIS Elizabeth does little else but figure out ways to string along half the men in Europe. By the end I was honestly asking myself, "Uh, when did she have time for that whole Armada situation?" Weir's take on Elizabeth's obsessive fear of childbirth and sex is intriguing, but if you're looking for insightful views on the Dudley affair or just her reign, in general, there are any number of better offerings out there or watch Cate Blanchett's portrayals. This is not an Elizabeth who seems capable of doing what we know the real person accomplished--and that is a letdown.

  • Robin
    2019-05-22 17:45

    Advanced review copy from NetGalley, my opinions are my own.In Weir's second biographical novel about Elizabeth I, it opens with Elizabeth attaining the crown and settling into her role as Queen Regnant. I admit I didn't read her first novel on Elizabeth's earlier life, but I am already familiar with Elizabeth's background and didn't feel like I needed to in order to read this sequel. I also admit this is my first novel by Weir, surprisingly. I don't know why it's taken me so long to give her fiction a go since I've read and enjoyed several of her non-fiction works.It started of well, with Elizabeth exhilarated by the sudden freedom and security of being queen. But at times I felt like there was a lot more telling then showing. Weir's status as a biographer showed when sometimes the narrative slipped almost into a factual recital.The story itself was also lacking. I realize the title makes it clear that it's primarily about all the prospective marriages Elizabeth considered or seemed to consider - and I realize that at the time, it was a very big issue. But that is literally what the novel is solely about. Will she marry Robert? Will she marry this foreign prince or that one? When we already know the answer, it's gets old fast. It could have easily been more multidimensional by adding other sub-plots, politics, and character development into the story but even when the issue wasn't of Elizabeth's marriage, it was about her cousin Mary's marriage! The constant cycling of Elizabeth's relationship with Robert, two characters who aren't even likable, got so repetitive that I was sick of it before I got even half way through.There is so little going on in this book that it's a wonder it could fill a full length novel. And unless you love your main characters to be selfish, vain, spiteful, and resentful with little to no depth, I don't see how this novel can be enjoyable. I won't deny that the historical Elizabeth had many personality flaws, she also had many strengths that weren't used in the novel, making her character flat and unlikable. And if you're going to take a wholly negative approach on the main character, you need to compliment it with another, more likable character. Cecil could have filled this role but we don't get to see enough of him to save the story. While it is written in third person from multiple points of view, it still manages to be very one dimensional and entirely focused on Elizabeth and Robert.About the last quarter of the novel finally eases up on the obsession of Elizabeth's marriage and her relationship with Robert but it's too little too late. What a shame that my first Weir novel had to be so disappointing. It seems like her novels, not unlike her biographies, can be a little hit and miss so I haven't ruled out trying some of her other novels.Historical Readings and Reviews

  • Alison
    2019-05-22 19:49

    Elizabeth I is one of my favourite women in history and I was really excited to come across this novel by one of the authors I admire in the historical non-fiction world. However, I was slightly disappointed with this book. At times, the story felt slow-paced and dragging. The repetitiveness in the messages conveyed by the Queen especially in relation to her stance against marriage and childbirth portrayed her as an annoying character some times. I am aware that the title of the novel points to the queen's adamant opinion that she will always remain a virgin and never a wife however I felt that the author's take on the Spanish Armada and her love-hate relationship with Mary Queen of Scots were not given their deserved importance in the novel. I wished the last two issues played a greater role and should have been intertwined with the 'marriage game'. Nonetheless, I appreciate the attention to historical detail in the novel and the research done towards this novel is superb. I read the last part of the novel while I was on holiday in London and I was excited that I got to see the tomb of surely one of England's greatest queens - Elizabeth I!

  • Mrs. Reed
    2019-05-12 18:35

    I keep returning to Weir because her historical fiction strikes a good balance for me. It doesn't assume that I don't know anything about the time/person/event, but it doesn't assume I know everything, either. I can always count on a few fruitful Google searches to help me ferret out what the historical record says, and I usually find that she's spun a good yarn around the basically accepted facts. A hardcore historian might hate her and find that she's taken too many liberties, but a reader like me is okay with slight inaccuracies (and probably won't even notice them).Queen Elizabeth I is, in my opinion, pretty much the most fascinating person ever. She's the child of Henry the Eighth and Anne Boleyn, a queen in a time when women simply didn't rule countries, and a damn good leader. She's a feminist icon from 400 years before feminism. For as long as I have realized that she was such a powerful and respected leader AND the daughter of Anne Boleyn, I have figured that she must have had really complicated feelings about her father. I love that this book delves into that--everything else I've read about her kind of ignores it. But how can you honor and respect your father when he ordered your mother executed? Weir gets into the layers of this issue, showing how it probably strongly influenced Elizabeth's decisions to not marry, but also her desire to clear her mother's name and explain her reluctance to execute her enemies.This book got really tedious there for a while, but it's because of the focus. I can feel Weir trying to decide when to elaborate and when to just summarize what's happening, because it's all happened before. The book is called The Marriage Game, and for Elizabeth it was the same game countless times. Again and again, Elizabeth pretends to be interested in marrying the same old princes, flirting with the same ambassadors, trying the same old tricks to string everyone along. As a reader, I got bored reading the same situations over and over again, but I do understand that this was necessary in order to stay true to history. Weir wisely begins glossing over or ignoring entire years as things get too monotonous.

  • Miss Melly
    2019-05-18 18:37

    This is perhaps the most complex character-portrayal of Elizabeth that you will ever find. I have never found her more real than within these pages. She is everything you ever thought her to be, and then she is the opposite: petulant and patient, decisive and procrastinating, wise and stupid, cold and passionate. She played the marriage game like a pro and cared little for the egos she bruised - including that of Robert Dudley.The relationship between Elizabeth and Dudley is beautifully drawn - full of tension, broken loyalty and politics. Dudley is shown to be much more than the preening, shallow courtesan that we have grown to expect.The one thing that has always puzzled me about Elizabeth is her failure to secure the succession with an heir of her body. This has always been a huge focus for every monarch preceding her, and never more so than with her father, Henry VIII. Why then, did Elizabeth fail in this monarchical duty?Weir gives a more than satisfactory answer to this question. Elizabeth had no equal in England and therefore would have to marry a foreign prince, who most of England would hate. She would then be obliged to use English armies to fight foreign wars, further inciting the anger of her people. Added to this, she may well have died in childbirth, leaving her country in the hands of a foreign King. If she survived childbirth and had a son, any baron could rise and rebel in the son's name, ousting Elizabeth from her position. Its a good answer, and although it's not the first time it has been suggested, it is the first time I have been able to swallow it. THIS is an Elizabeth who would preserve her own power at all costs. THIS is an Elizabeth who could fear being a wife, even though she is afraid of little else. This is a woman who could fail at securing the succession. She has cracks. We are shown the little fissures of weakness and anxiety.Well done Ms Weir. It is no easy task to breath freshness into a much told tale. This is a superb effort.

  • HalcyonDaze
    2019-05-04 14:46

    Alison Weir wrote a marvellous non-fiction book The Six Wives of Henry VIII. In The Marriage Game, a fiction offering of Elizabeth I's marriage turmoil and relationship with Lord Robert Dudley, Alison Weir has fallen so short of the mark that I wonder how she felt when she finally put pen down or pressed 'save' on this work. I know that I felt some relief that on page 192 I decided enough was enough. The lack of historical detail, that sense of place of time was completely missing which for a writer who has such an historical knowledge bank, was hugely disappointing. Key characters who we know to be larger than life, almost mythical, were reduced to clipped, rather hurried and undeveloped vignettes of repetitive dialogue about Elizabeth not making up her mind to wed. Dudley's constant glowering, or catching his breath or falling into love sick puppy swoon at Elizabeth's twists and turns did allow for a rather one sided, I bet I will win guessing game as to how he was going to react to her uncapricious, unrevealling statements and actions. I'm sorry but simply telling us that someone is troubled, or complicated or powerful or dazzling or a situation is dangerous or complex or that a night is balmy does not make it so.Her courtiers and advisors we have been led to believed were beyond exasperation at her vasciliation. But I know I felt 10 times more exasperation than any Cecil or Norfolk or Dudley and would vascilate no more on whether to keep reading.Round and around we went, going nowhere interesting or insightful, to such an extent that the characters became a blurry, dun colour, daubed on a canvas that should have been vibrant and sharp. I felt no empathy or curiousity, just a feeling that we all know what is going to happen, so lets just cut to the chase and get this over and done with. I fell about 200 pages short but I think Alison fell further short than even this.

  • Julie
    2019-05-19 16:55

    I typically love everything that Weir writes, but I cannot even say that I liked this book. I found it surprising that Weir would portray Elizabeth I in such an unflattering light. This novel portrays the various marital prospects during Elizabeth’s reign, and details her tumultuous relationship with Robert Dudley. Flat out, I detested how Elizabeth was depicted here. She was a blatant tease, leading men on while unabashedly flirting with Lord Robert. I never thought I would say this, but I actually sympathized with Robert at times. Elizabeth strung him along for decades with promises of marriage, but insists on his patience while she made up her mind. They constantly quarreled and reconciled, she was often bitterly jealous, and it became tedious and aggravating. Her reluctance to do “the deed” and her ultimate fear of childbirth are somewhat justified, but her prudishness always overcomes the necessity to produce an heir. As she advanced in years, she only wanted men to flatter her vanity. Not only did she vacillate with Robert, but with the Duke of Anjou. Even her indecisiveness about making an example of the treasonous Mary of Scots was infuriating. I really struggled to finish the book, and though I enjoyed the final 20 pages more than the rest, it never redeemed itself. Elizabeth was just too unpleasant of a character to read about for over 400 pages.I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.

  • Megan Jones
    2019-05-09 18:35

    'The Marriage Game' follows Elizabeth I through a large majority of her reign and on the battle both internally and with the people to marry and provide an heir. Set against this is the love story between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley and the diffculties with Mary. I have read all of Weir's books and loved them all both fiction and non-fiction but sadly I did not find this one to be a great read. I found it very hard to get into and very easy to put down, it did not grip me at all. I also thought it was too long and too repetititve although the last one hundred pages or so move at quite a pace and I found that to be a bit more enjoyable. As with all historical fiction novels liberties are taken concerning what conversations occurred and other events that took place but I felt that some of this novel was too unbelievable which again is unusual for Weir's novels. The people are well written and Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and Cecil are particualrly well portrayed I felt, but it was just a shame that it did not hold me as much as other books do. You do not need to have much knowledge about Elizabeth I and her times as it is explained quite well but to someone who does know about it then the repetitive background makes for dull reading. Overall this is an ok read just not a spectacularly good one.

  • Fiona
    2019-05-12 17:45

    Less "finished this book", more "finished with this book" after 77 tedious pages (and I love them together! I love this era of history! I wanted to enjoy this!).As other reviews have mentioned, the writing is clunky and it's full of cringe-worthy moments. Lots of ridiculous "As you know, Bob" style awkward exposition. The characterisation is shallow and (in my not overly experienced opinion) seems to show a fundamental lack of understanding of not only Elizabeth and Robert as individuals, but of their relationship and the nuances of it (of which it does not lack). Elizabeth's character is set in stone almost from the first page, leaving no room for growth and development, especially in regard to marriage and the politics that surrounded it. It leaves her, as a character, looking petty and immature when there was plenty of room to explore a young, intelligent, and forthright woman negotiating a balance between her personal desires and what was politically expedient.Honestly, just read Sarah Gristwood's Elizabeth & Leicester - compelling and juicy all the while being a fantastic work of nonfiction.

  • Aoife
    2019-05-23 15:59

    I love anything to with the British monarchy, tell me Tudors and I'm in. Though Elizabeth has always been shadowed for me in contrast to her legendary father and his wives, I have always found her intriguing so I was looking forward to the book.The story is well-written and certainly gives us a look into Elizabeth's mind, manner and her court. At times, I really felt like I was there and involved in all the back-and-forth marriage rumours, jealousy and spats. But I really felt like there was so many times the book seemed to be going in a circle."Yes, Robert, I'll marry you!""When Bess?""Not right now My Eyes, I need to keep the French sweet." X250 times.After a few chapters of the same thing, it got a bit dreary. It's the only bit that let the book down, as I enjoyed the going-on's in Elizabeth;s court as well and her dalliance with the Duke and her teasing of the Emperor and of course, her tortures over Queen Mary. I think I may prefer Weir's non-fiction books as they are truly impressive!

  • Rebecca Abler
    2019-05-12 18:41

    I started this book with high hopes; it seemed as if it would make vie quickly and tell an interesting story of Elizabeth's reign from her perspective. However, by midway through I knew it was not meant to be. Instead, it is almost 400 pages of "hey, Elizabeth, get married already," and Elizabeth saying, "ok sure....j/k nope!" She's painted as a neurotic, selfish woman--the strategy with which Elizabeth I used relationships to successfully rule and defend her country in real life is alluded to, but treated as secondary to her traumatized fear of sex....yup. And poor Robert Dudley, the biggest sap of them all, according to this novel.