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The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor, by Elizabeth Norton

1547, Elizabeth Tudor, illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII, is a pawn on the political stage as well as trying to deal with teenage hormones and first love. Her place in the succession puts her at risk of being used for political gain but also puts her very life in danger…
The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor is a non fiction book about the teenage years of Elizabeth I and a potential explanation for her later transformation into the Virgin Queen.
This book had a looooong waiting list on my library app so I had very high expectations. In the event, I had very mixed feelings about this book. The research and detail is exemplary and Tudor life is vividly depicted. The personal and political are intrinsically linked as the young princess tries to survive in a patriarchal world.
However, there is a lot of focus on the political machinations of Somerset and Seymour, and sometimes Elizabeth’s name isn’t mentioned for pages. I think the temptations of Seymour would have been a more apt title as it focuses on his desire for power which he aims to achieve through personal relationships with the former queen and her stepdaughter.
The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor is a detailed historical work but the emphasis was not always on its subject.
The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor book coverBook blurb
England, late 1547. Henry VIII is dead. His 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth is living with the old king’s widow Catherine Parr and her new husband Thomas Seymour. Ambitious, charming and dangerous, Seymour begins an overt flirtation with Elizabeth that ends in her being sent away by Catherine.
When Catherine dies in autumn 1548 and Seymour is arrested for treason soon after, the scandal explodes into the open. Alone and in dreadful danger, Elizabeth is closely questioned by the king’s regency council: Was she still a virgin? Was there a child? Had she promised to marry Seymour? In her replies, she shows the shrewdness and spirit she would later be famous for. She survives the scandal. Thomas Seymour is not so lucky.
The Seymour Scandal led to the creation of the Virgin Queen. On hearing of Seymour’s beheading, Elizabeth observed ‘This day died a man of much wit, and very little judgement’. His fate remained with her. She would never allow her heart to rule her head again.

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