Young Bess by Margaret Irwin

The Girl Who Would Be Queen

Margaret Irwin

Back cover: "Growing up in the shadow of her moth, the infamous Anny Boleyn, young Princess Elizabeth has become a master at dodging the constant political games and deflecting the unpredictable royal whims that threaten to topple her precarious royal perch.  But when her distant father, tryannical King Henry VIII, dies, the future brightens for Elizabeth.  She moves in with Henry's last wife, Catherine parr, and Catherine's new husband, Tom Seymour--uncle of Elizabeth's brother, the new king Edward VI.

Handsome Tom, however, is playing a risky game.  Marrying a widowed queen is one thing; flirting with the king's daughter and second in line to the throne is another.  As the adolescent Elizabeth finds herself dangerously attracted to him, the tragedy that looms ahead seems inescapable.  Elizabeth will have to summon the strength to claim her royal destiny, even if that means facing her future alone...."

I wanted to like "Young Bess," I really did, but unfortunately was unable to finish it, which rarely happens for me.  Usually I'll pick up a book and start reading and if it doesn't click will try again later.  I tried 3 times with this one. This last time I made it through almost 100 pages to Chapter 5.  The characters thoughts were all over the place with meandering digressions upon meandering digressions until I forgot what they were talking about in the first place.  There were points of clarity in the story and just as you settled into the present, back to they go to the past and over there, twist round and go another direction.  I unfortunately could not finish reading it.    However, from reading other reviews, I'm in the minority and will leave you with some links to those who loved it.

Thank you to Danielle from Sourcebooks for providing me with an advance copy of the book.  
Pages:   400 
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Landmark
Released:  March 1, 2010
Genre:  Historical Fiction

Other thoughts: 

"This is still a well-written and fascinating tale on the early years of Elizabeth Tudor and her complicated childhood and adolescence.  The novel leaves you set up for Elizabeth's dramatic future as princess in peril and eventual queen in later books by Margaret Irwin.  This is a fine tribute to the youthful Elizabeth Tudor before she was England's beloved Virgin Queen."

"Exquisitely written, well researched, with intense and vivid imagery, Young Bess The Girl Who Would Be Queen is an absolutely amazing beginning of what promises to be a spectacular trilogy chronicling the life of Queen Elizabeth."

"I was thoroughly engrossed, feeling like I’d entered the shifting world of Tudor England. From the rule of a godlike madman to nobles full of greed while claiming high intentions, what a time it must have been to live in, and how powerless the women were."


  1. I always like to know why a book doesn't work for someone. I think you gave it a fair try.

  2. This one sounds like a mess...sorry that you didn't like it!! but I so appreciate your honesty on this one!


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