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Books that are not pro Queen Elizabeth?

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Our book club is reading The Faerie Queene, and as you may already know, the poem was written for Queen Elizabeth as an allegory that can be summed up as:


Elizabeth is awesome and the only true queen!

Mary is EVIL!

Protestants are awesome and the only true church!

Catholics are EVIL!


For full disclosure, I'm an atheist and don't have a dog in this fight. All of the other people in our book club are Protestants, and most of them have been exposed to very pro-Elizabeth films.


I am very interested in reading books that are critical of Elizabeth. So many of the titles I'm looking at on Amazon use such loaded language about "the greatest queen in human history," and seem to romanticize her as if these authors might be presenting their work to Her Majesty in court.


Do you have any book suggestions? Or even film suggestions, if applicable. I'm not anti-Elizabeth in principle, but I want something a little more objective than the usual "God Save the Queen" fare.

Edited by Skadi
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There are some books that show the persecution of Catholics under Queen Elizabeth, but they are presenting the Catholic perspective- I'm not sure if that will suit your needs. "Come Rack, Come Rope" by Robert H Benson is one of those books; my daughter read it and said it was good. There are also some books on Margaret of Clitherow, who was tortured and crushed to death as a religious dissenter under Elizabeth. I'm afraid I don't know any specific titles for her, though.


I always had a sympathy for Mary, Queen of Scots. She was a wild card, but what a passionate nature! Antonia Fraser wrote a biography of her that I suspect will not be entirely flattering to Elizabeth since Mary is the heroine of that story.


Also, books about the Irish persecution might turn up something. My husband, who is of 100% Irish descent, hates Elizabeth I so much that he wouldn't let us name our daughter Elizabeth. Apparently, there is a deep seated loathing of Elizabeth in some Irish families that I had known nothing about!


Sorry I don't have more specific titles, but there are books out there that will tell the other side!


Good luck,


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Bestseller Gregory captivates again with this expertly crafted historical about the beautiful young Virgin Queen, portrayed as a narcissistic, neurotic home-wrecker.


all three characters are sympathetic without being likable, particularly the arch-mistress Elizabeth, who pouts, throws tantrums, connives and betrays with queenly impunity.


Those are tid-bits of an editorial review of "The Virgin's Lover," by Philippa Gregory.


I really enjoyed it. While it is historical fiction, Gregory is known for her "historical correctness." It definitely doesn't show Elizabeth as a worthy Queen, and actually, the book chronologically before it, "The Queen's Fool" makes Mary seem quite strong compared to Elizabeth (though it does show *a lot* of Mary's weak character, especially once she is married).


It does have se*ual content though, and "adult themes" but it was tamer than the other books chronologically before it, although it does portray adultery.

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Gregory's books are fiction-there's very little historical accuracy in there. What's the point in reading a fiction book with the sole purpose of trying to dislike someone? I, personally, am a huge Queen Elizabeth fan, even though I have Irish blood. In fact most women in my family were named Elizabeth, so that's odd to me, looking back. I am not a fan of Mary, Queen of Scots. IMHO, she is undeserving of even that title. Passionate, yes, but to the detriment of her country and many innocent necks. I can't read enough about Elizabeth I. I've read more books just on her and her reign than is probably healthy. :lol:


There are tons of great biographies out there.








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