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Publisher's Summary

Following the tremendous success of her first novel, Innocent Traitor, acclaimed historian and New York Times best-selling author Alison Weir turns her masterly storytelling skills to the early life of young Elizabeth Tudor, who would grow up to become England's most intriguing and powerful queen.

Before she is three, Elizabeth learns of the tragic fate that has befallen her mother, the enigmatic and seductive Anne Boleyn, and that she herself has been declared illegitimate, an injustice that will haunt her all her life. What comes next is a succession of stepmothers, bringing with them glimpses of love, fleeting security, tempestuous conflict, and tragedy.

The death of her father puts the teenage Elizabeth in greater peril, leaving her at the mercy of ambitious and unscrupulous men. Like her mother two decades earlier, she is imprisoned in the Tower of London - and fears she will also meet her mother's grisly end.

Power-driven politics, private scandal, and public gossip, a disputed succession, and the grievous example of her sister, "Bloody" Queen Mary, all cement Elizabeth's resolve in matters of statecraft and love, and set the stage for her transformation into the iconic Virgin Queen.

Sweeping in scope, The Lady Elizabeth is a fascinating portrayal of a woman far ahead of her time - whose dangerous and dramatic path to the throne shapes her future greatness.

©2008 Allison Weir (P)2008 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Splendid....In giving narrative voice to her subjects Alison Weir brings us into emotional contact with them in a way that an unadorned historical account does not." ( Boston Sunday Globe)"A chilling epitaph on a period of history that continues to fascinate and bewitch us today." ( San Antonio Express-News)

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  • Overall

hard to stop listening

With so much already written about Elizabeth I, it would be hard to find anything new about her. Which is why the fresh approach of "The Lady Elizabeth" is so captivating. The meticulous research and fluid writing style make the book very easy to listen to and remain focused the whole time. Even knowing what was going to happen only made the account more fascinating. The narrator's skillful delivery and amazing voice range added to the enjoyment of this book.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Zhao
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 12-31-11

An unbelievably extraordinary tale about a girl!

Period pieces are a dime a dozen - many are written, but few are so engaging as Alison Weir's tale about an extraordinary figure in English history who starts off as an already quite extraordinary little girl whose life is affected deeply for years by the death of her mother Anne Boleyn. Telling the tale of the trials and tribulations of a young girl of royalty up until her coronation as queen turned out to be one of the most riveting historical portrayals I have ever had the pleasure of having anyone read to me. Throughout, I found myself witnessing the way Elizabeth navigates her way through the many dangers of life at court by sheer ingenuity of her intellect, growing up as a teenager who succumbs to the life-threatening perils of love, and always as a woman who, though modeled by her late mother's beauty and father's staunch bravado, takes these qualities and makes them her own in order to prep herself to become a successful ruler one day, sometimes unwittingly.

But this is a considerably lengthy read, and one character solo can only be engaging for so long, I believe. That is why some of the side characters are crucial to the engagement of the reader/listener. Getting to know the ones closest to Elizabeth, especially the wonderful Kat Ashley, was a treat in itself. If it weren't for some of these characters, my interest would surely have waned.

However, this story would not have had such an effect on me, were it not for Rosalyn Landor's wonderful performances. Not all her impersonations are perfect (most of the males sound too much the same), but those are far too few compared to the many other excellent performances. The novel overflows with characters, and it's a wonder Landor is able to keep up such an exquisite job of being able to "age" Elizabeth throughout her years as a young girl, a teenager, and as a budding young ruler - all the while conjuring up enough accents of all sorts (and of all ages for that matter) so that the listener is able to distinctly remember each persona she plays is no mean feat at all. I can only imagine how mentally taxing it must have been to switch between all those impersonations on the fly while maintaining consistency and differentiation. To me, Landor was the missing element of this story. I honestly felt that had I read this book in actual print, it would not have been impressed upon me anywhere as strongly as it did with Landor's narration. Through her, the history of young Elizabeth just comes alive. She is officially one of my favorite audiobook narrators.

This was by far one of my favorite audiobooks. It was a big help in getting me through the tedious 8-hour work days. The only true downside to the audiobook was that by the time the story ended, I was a little sad to hear it ended. Throughout this 20+ hour tale, I felt that I had grown up with Elizabeth and unfortunately had to let her go simply because it was her time to go and that I had to stop holding on to her. That's how much this story and audio narration has affected me. I haven't regretted a single minute of the audio.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting portrayal of Elizabeth's early life

This book was captivating and interesting. I like this particular period in English history and have listened to a majority of these historical fiction books by Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory. This book is on par with the rest of this group. The reader is excellent and the story intriguing. I would highly recommend it.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Having read a great deal aboutTudor England, I was certain I would be bored with the repetition. I found myself happily surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The narration is wonderful and the history accurate for the most part. The sections Weir fictionalized for the sake of the story were believable and rang true to the actual historical reports. Whether you read about this period of history or not, I think you'll find this portrait of Elizabeth I before she becomes Queen, a compelling and fun listen about a smart, wily, and human woman. Cudos to the narrator! Just listening to her voice was a pleasure.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Love the narrator!

This is one of the best books I've read about the fictional life of Elizabeth I. I enjoy Alison Weir's non-fiction books and trust her work as scholarly and well researched, and so because of that I relish her fiction as well because I know it is based on as much fact as possible.

This book is just plain great. The development of Elizabeth from a small child to a woman is interesting and follows along very smoothly and we see how she changes and the pivotal moments in her life. The "what if" moments where fictional license is taken makes the book fascinating!

But what makes this audio book worth downloading is the narration! Rosalyn Landor is an incredible narrator! Sometimes I have to remind myself that there is not an entire cast of narrators. She did a wonderful job. I love how she ages the voices of the characters as they progress through the story. She has a wide range of accents as well. For example, the accent she gives to Kat Ashley is sweet and endearing. Whereas sometimes narrators take too many liberties with their voices during a narration, this narrator does a perfect job! I am very impressed!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent writing and narration

Historical fiction, faithful to fact but also with some intriguing speculation in certain areas. Weir captures the voice of Elizabeth extremely well as she tells the story of the princess's life from the time of her mother Anne Boleyn's execution to the death of her sister Queen Mary, when Elizabeth finally comes to the throne. She brings the entire court, with all its intrigue and danger, to life, and makes Elizabeth real and vibrant. I found "The Lady Elizabeth" thoroughly entertaining. I didn't want it to end and I hope Alison Weir will pick up the story again and continue after Elizabeth's coronation.

As for Rosalyn Landor, I have listened to other books read by her and she is simply a delightful, accomplished narrator. So much so, that I often search for books narrated by her, rather than authors or titles, and I'm always pleased with what I discover.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent Piece of Fiction

The narration is excellent and the material is an interesting take. Alison Weir does an excellent research job and uses fact to create an interesting story.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Garland, Texas, United States
  • 02-09-12

Engrossing tale

This was a very engrossing picture of Elizabeth I. The research of Elizabeth in Tudor England was well done. Weir brought a newness to a thrice :o) told tale that was enjoyable and held my attention. The narrator has a pleasant voice and cadence to it that draws you into the the story. Throughly enjoyable.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Left me pining ...

... for a Rosalyn Landor / Alison Weir match-up again. Landor does a great job with the voices and I hope that Audible is working on the next installment so we can hear the continuation in the same style. Please?

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • benoibe
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 10-23-12

Excellent! The best historical fiction I've read.

Exceptional MUST READ!!!!
It is abominable to listen to a Philippa Gregory's The Virgin's Lover, which is nearly complete fiction, after finishing this extraordinary book.
Alison Weir had a rise to fame with The Innocent Traitor, but this book is far superior. Weir has written many of the the best non-fiction books available about the Tudors and other 15th and 16th century nobles and monarchs. She has written many non fiction biographies on Elizabeth.
Thus, her historical fiction is based on her knowledge of what was true, only embellishing on what Elizabeth may have thought or said, or how exact incidents may have occurred. It was the best historical fiction I've come across on the subject of the Tudors.

I only wish more of Weir's historical fiction was available on audible.

Don't pass this up. I've downloaded every audiobook I could find on Elizabeth, and none are as grand as this!

15 of 19 people found this review helpful