Friday, January 28, 2011

Review: Elizabeth, the Golden Age

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

I thought it would be a good idea after my Hobbies revelation to discuss my latest read.  The book, Elizabeth, the Golden Age, is based on the movie of the same name and follows Queen Elizabeth I of England during the height of her reign.  The story starts out in 1585.  It shows Queen Elizabeth's wisdom and grace as an attempted assassination takes places and as the threat of war with Spain looms over her.

It was very interesting because instead of just seeing the affairs of state that a ruler had to deal with, you see her personal life as well - her friends, her loves, her sorrows.  You get insight into why she never married, why she is the "Virgin Queen." 

Every little girl's dream is to be a Princess.  But after reading this book, you probably will never really want to be a Queen.  Elizabeth was always leery of getting too close to people because she never knew who loved her for her and who loved her for her status.  As a result, she was lonely most of her life.

Even though the book is fiction, there are many accurate historical points in there that I never realized.  I didn't realize the division that religion caused in Europe.  After Henry VIII (who was Queen Elizabeth's father) abandoned Catholicism and created the Church of England, Catholics were brutally treated in England.  They were tortured, interrogated and branded as traitors.  In fact the whole war with Spain during Elizabeth's reign was over religion.  The Catholic King of Spain wanted to bring the heathen English back to the "true religion" of Catholicism.  Even now there is a law in England that if any royal marries a Papist (someone who is of the Catholic faith), they give up all rights to the throne!  Wow, that's harsh!  No wonder the Puritans left to gain religious freedom. 

Overall, it was a great read.  It was easy to read and I finished the novel very quickly.  It was interesting and makes me want to see the movie (it's in my Netflix queue).  It also makes me very appreciative for the country I live in and governmental system we're under.  It may not be perfect and I may not approve of all the people in charge, but it's better than a monarchy.

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