Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Review of Beware, Princess Elizabeth by Carolyn Meyer

Beware, Princess Elizabeth is the second book of the Young Royals series following Mary, Bloody Mary, which I read for my genre challenge. I enjoyed the second book much much more, maybe because of a greater interest in the topic of Elizabeth I than Mary Tudor, but more likely because the novel in itself was much better written with a steadier plot. 

695219

Series: Young Royals, Book 2

Genres: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Historical Fiction

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Description:

Elizabeth Tudor’s teenage years are hardly those of a fairy-tale princess. Her father has beheaded her mother; her jealous half sister has her locked away in the Tower of London; and her only love has betrayed her in his own quest for the throne.
Told in the voice of the young Elizabeth and ending when she is crowned queen, this is the second novel in the exciting Young Royals series.

Review:

Beware, Princess Elizabeth is the second book of the Young Royals series following Mary, Bloody Mary, which I read for my genre challenge. I enjoyed the second book much much more, maybe because of a greater interest in the topic of Elizabeth I than Mary Tudor, but more likely because the novel in itself was much better written with a steadier plot.

Beware, Princess Elizabeth follows the life of Princess Elizabeth I Tudor from the death of her father, King Henry VIII in 1547 to the death of her sister, Queen Mary Tudor in 1558, covering the reigns of King Edward VI, the 9-day reign of Lady Jane Grey, and Queen Mary I. Both Kate and I noted in the reading of Mary, Bloody Mary that the portion of Mary’s life for which she gained that nickname wasn’t even addressed in that book, the first in the Young Royals series. However, it is the main focus in the second book, which is told from her sister Elizabeth’s point of view and is very accurately titled for it was a very dangerous time not only for the people of England under Mary’s rule but her own sister as well.

If history is your passion like it is mine, you drink up every word, because ever word is either a historical account (either name and title of a person, name of a place, or a date) or a historical description of the palace rooms or the ball dances. For example, Elizabeth mentions some specific dances that I looked up later because I was so interested: the lavolta, pavane, and gigue. In fact, I have added here a clip from Elizabeth (a movie I have not seen) of she and Robert Dudley dancing an adapted version of a lavolta, or volta.

Carolyn Meyer does a fantastic job of showing character’s true feelings and personalities. Although Elizabeth and Mary have similar stories in the first two books, with much trauma in their young lives, they are very clearly shown to be different people and really match the information historians have been able to gather regarding their personalities. Even more difficult, I applaud Carolyn Meyer’s ability to tell the story of Tom Seymour (who I am unfortunately directly related to) and Elizabeth’s strange courtship, showing Elizabeth’s attraction and Tom’s attentions without making it seem too implausible or too disturbing for a children’s book.

In many ways this book is better than a nonfiction book because you get to experience history unfolding from the perspective of the personage that you often learn about in a class setting, now instead fully understanding not only the events that happened but the character’s emotions as well.

Beware, Princess Elizabeth was a much more enjoyable read for me than the first book in the series, and I have high hopes for the rest of the Young Royals and Carolyn Meyer’s other historical novels, especially when I am looking for an accurate portrayal of a historical character or event.

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This entry was posted on July 31, 2014 by in Author: Gwen, Middle Grade, Review, Young Adult and tagged , , .
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