Bantam, Sep 28 2010, $28.00
This is a fascinating refreshing biography of Elizabeth I as Tracy Borman concentrates on the women in the monarch’s life and how they directly or indirectly influenced how she ruled and how she lived. Her father decapitated her mother Anne Boleyn and one of her stepmothers Katherine Howard, which led to young Elizabeth to beware of all men. When her older half-sister Mary became queen, Elizabeth observed how her sibling had to bow to her husband, the Spanish monarch; which affirmed her theory no man will rule her life. She learned to be flexible and not an ideologue on the hot button social issues of the times like religion; unlike “Bloody Mary”. Men were beneath her because she distrusted them to allow her to be an equal so she kept them bowing at arm’s length; yet still she preferred male company as women were perceived as her true competitors so those rivals whom she felt were a threat like two female cousins were incarcerated.
Making a strong case that the women in the early life of Elizabeth I was major influences on how she ruled, historian Tracy Borman refreshes the look at the monarch. Using the females including those at court who feared the Queen, Ms. Borman makes a strong case that the ladies, especially the queens who preceded her, taught Elizabeth lessons in survivability, which is why she allegedly remained an unmarried virgin. Although there is some speculation filling historical vacuums, Elizabeth’s Women is an entertaining glimpse at the famous queen from a unique perspective.