Monday, June 29, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: My Enemy the Queen, by Victoria Holt




Here’s a story that webs the lives of Elizabeth I, Lettice Devereux (granddaughter of Mary Boleyn), the Earl of Leicester and finally the Earl of Essex (Lettice’s son)…

In reading this novel, it would seem that Elizabeth had few other interests besides the Earl himself firstly, other young gents, and finally, power. She was portrayed as being ruthless, self-centered, vain, quite nasty, frivolous, superficial and vehemently jealous and possessive. Gee what wonderful traits for a monarch.

Lettice, was actually not any better. This one was portrayed as scheming, devout of morals, sexually insatiable and having very few other interests at heart. Boy did this one need a hobby!

The Earl of Leicester was a man hungry for power, endowed with incredible chameleon prowess when it came to keeping himself latched onto the Queen. Oh, yes, and if one can get past his penchant for murder- I suppose you can call him quite gallant.

The Earl of Essex, being another bird of a feather, had noone else in mind but himself. Totally arrogant, unyielding, a womanizer and royal disturber- this Earl totally enraptured the Queen.

What can I say… absolutely irresistible characters! Talk about an entertaining read. I especially enjoy when Plaidy, oops, Victoria Holt, uses the first person. It’s carried superbly in this novel. There were times when I thought the story dragged a bit (I mean how many shallow details can you read about in just one paragraph?)

So what made this book so interesting for me? Basically, there wasn’t much to the story except the intricacies of the characters’ relationships towards eachother. In one way or another they were all linked like a magnet to the Queen. Despite the fact that I loathed her completely in this novel, in the end, Elizabeth still shone majestically.

Lettice only began to grow on me towards the end, where I finally sensed she could actually care for someone other than herself. Before that I couldn’t quite understand her love-hate need for the Queen.

The Earls were quite secondary in this novel. Their representation only strengthened their humiliating choices to serve and revel in foreplay to an end they could never attain. The ultimate prize for all those concerned : Queen Elizabeth; magnificently unattainable to all.

Another enjoyable read.

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19 comments:

  1. I've always liked Victoria Holt's books and this sounds like one of the really good ones. I just finished reviewing a book with 17thC royal intrigue - Charles II of England and Louis XIV of France. Heady stuff. The Devlin Diary is a pretty good historical mystery with lots of devious characters and events. You might like the author's comments re her research in London for the book.

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  2. Ms Lucy, thanks for the review. I think that women of the past either focused on essentials if they were poor or sex/love play if they were in the higher royal class. Some were able to wield power, true, but many times it was reflected power...that came through an important man. I enjoy learning about the day to day life of people in the past...and I think I would like the slip into first person too. It gives the story a bit of "it's real because it happened to me" feel.
    Btw I gave you an award over at Oasis Writing Link (OWL) blog. I hope you come over and read my new post. I look forward to your visits and love your comments! <3

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  3. I really enjoyed this book, as a look from one of the victims of Elizabeth's petty jealousy. It was quite fun.
    In your first paragraph you need a little editing as to who Lettice D was (wasn't she Mary Boleyn's granddaughter?)
    Otherwise, good review, I enjoyed reading your opinions.

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  4. Thanks for the info Book Bird Dog! Checked it all out and commented too:)

    Hey Cynthia! I'm so excited! Thanks for making my day:)

    Hey Marie:) Pretty basic, huh?? Don't know what I was thinking- that was an obvious one;) Thanks for noticing that- you're a doll!

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  5. I read this book a few years ago and remember thinking that this whole episode is one that deserves a bit more attention! Thanks for the review.

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  6. I agree with you Marg. This was like a whole 'behind the scenes' happening! Thanks:)

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  7. Great review Lucy! I'll be reading this into July. A headache for a good long while sure puts a damper in one's reading. I have been enjoying it though.

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  8. Hey Dar...poor you. A headache's the worst. You'll love this read though once you get through it:)

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  9. I have just finished it 2 hours ago, review will follow soon although sheep shearing this afternoon.

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  10. Can't wait for your review, Zetor:) Thanks!

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  11. Great review Lucy! I see you didn't give any of the characters a kind word, lol! Can't wait to post my review!

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  12. Arleigh...I just couldn't bring myself to it...'what a piece of work (all 4 of them...well in this novel- that is! lol!)

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  13. Great review! I also read this earlier this year, wanting to see Lettice's side to the story. I've never liked her and this didn't really change my opinion but it was a good book!

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  14. I read this ages ago, it was great. You've made me want to read it again.

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