Title: Young Bess: The Girl Who Would Be Queen
Author: Margaret Irwin
Release Date: March 1, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Young Bess follows the life of a young Elizabeth I beginning during the time of her father’s marriage to Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s last wife. The first in a trilogy, this book is the story of Elizabeth’s journey to the throne and all the obstacles that were in her path.
Young Bess is an interesting look at the young Elizabeth I. Irwin did a great job writing the character – she is tempestuous, changeable, and prone to follow her heart rather than her head. Though Elizabeth can be frustrating at times, she is an extremely convincing teenager.
The historical details in Young Bess are interesting and well-researched. Additionally, since the book was originally written in the 1950’s, there are none of the graphic sex scenes that seem to have become prevalent in today’s historical fiction novels. It’s definitely a welcome change.
One very minor quibble I had with Young Bess was that Anne Boleyn was constantly referred to as Nan Bullen in the book. Now, Nan Bullen was a derogatory name used to emphasize Anne’s common origins by those who despised her. I was surprised to see, then, that she was referred to this way by those who really should have known better. Like I said, a minor quibble, but an irritating one.
Young Bess was a solid read, though it didn’t really capture me as well as I’d hoped. Still, if you’re looking for a good historical fiction novel on Princess Elizabeth, this is a good place to start!