Review – Just a Girl

Just A Girl – Jane Caro

University of Queensland Press, 2011

The daughter of England’s beloved King Henry VIII, it would seem Princess Elizabeth is destined for greatness. Yet life at court is a chancy one, and before the age of four she has lost both mother and title, declared a bastard like her older sister Mary before her. The best she can hope for from her father is to be remembered. She is, after all, just a girl, and the king is obsessed with siring a male heir. But a time of change is coming, and whether she wishes it or not, Elizabeth will be at the centre of a new age.

It’s no secret I am a passionate Elizabeth fan and I don’t entirely agree with Caro’s perception of the princess, painting her as more insecure and less politically adept than I believe she really was. The structure of the novel didn’t always work well for me either, particularly at the beginning, shifting about from one time period to another without letting the reader take in the setting. Just a Girl does cover a large part of Elizabeth’s life, from childhood to coronation, and I really appreciated the focus Caro paid to the incredibly complex relationship between Elizabeth and Mary. From no queens to three – it’s a fascinating period of history. Elizabeth’s story continues in Just a Queen.

An Update of November Squee

Cranky Ladies logoEarlier this year I participated in the blog tour for Cranky Ladies of History, a FableCroft anthology themed around historical women who lived memorably unconventional lives, and now I’m thrilled to confirm I’ll be part of the book! – or more accurately, Queen Elizabeth I of England will, via my story ‘Glorious’.

As my first historical fiction, this is particularly exciting for me! I have always admired Elizabeth enormously, as a woman who not only survived to adulthood in the misogynistic powder-keg of Henry VIII’s court but rose to the highest position of power in the land and held onto it until the day she died. She will be appearing with a superb company of monarchs and pirates, poets and warriors. Some I already know amazing things about – others I can’t wait to meet. Updates on the anthology will appear on the FableCroft website, while all the posts of the blog tour are collected here. Cranky Ladies of History is set for publication in March next year.