The Virgin's Daughters: In the Court of Elizabeth I
New American Library, 2009 (2009)
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
he subtitle of this novel is '
In the Court of Elizabeth I
', and author Westin really does take us into Her Majesty's company. We live at the pleasure of the queen, enjoying her music, jokes and laughter, cowering from her anger and the imperial will so strongly expressed. All of the sights, sounds and smells are here, along with the superstitions, rivalries and jealousies.
wo ladies of the court are presented to us: Lady Katherine Seymour and Mary Rogers, granddaughter of Sir William Rogers. They each become one of the queen's ladies, Kate when Elizabeth is still quite young and Mary when she is at the end of her life. Each lady desires to serve the queen, but cannot live up to the queen's expectation of giving up romantic love as part of the service. Both have to learn how to deal with the queen and, through their adventures, we learn much about Elizabeth and how she earned the title of
his is a well-researched work. I think the conversations are especially well done. They put us in that place at that time. But the underlying psychology of love and loving feels more contemporary than what could have been known and expressed in that era; in some passages I felt I was reading a romance novel. Also, some very anachronistic expressions managed to creep in, for example
. But, all in all, this was a very satisfactory read.
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