Monday, 24 October 2016

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The Girl in the Glass Tower - Elizabeth Freemantle

Release Date: 02/06/16
Publisher:  Michael Joseph


Tap. Tap. Tap on the window.

Something, someone wanting to be heard. Waiting to be free.

Tudor England. The word treason is on everyone's lips. Arbella Stuart, niece to Mary, Queen of Scots and presumed successor to Elizabeth I, has spent her youth behind the towering windows of Hardwick Hall. As presumed successor to the throne, her isolation should mean protection - but those close to the crown are never safe.

Aemilia Lanyer - writer and poet - enjoys an independence denied to Arbella. Their paths should never cross. But when Arbella enlists Aemilia's help in a bid for freedom, she risks more than her own future. Ensnared in another woman's desperate schemes, Aemilia must tread carefully or share her terrible fate . . .

The Girl in the Glass Tower brilliantly explores what it means to be born a woman in a man's world, where destiny is strictly controlled and the smallest choices may save - or destroy - us.


History is written by the victors as they say and whilst virtually forgotten today, in the time in which she lived, Arbella Stuart was considered a possible heir to Elizabeth 1st's throne.

Whilst we know now how that turned out for her, the history into which she's embroilled is a rich tapestry of double dealing, back room manipulations and of course political machinations/alliances that the principle character was mainly sheltered from by her grandmother.

Its a book that is well written, gives readers the chance to look into the life of a noble who was a virtual prisoner and allows us to see how her short life and character were effected by everyone around her. Whilst this in itself is tragic, what Elizabeth does well is allow the reader the chance to glimpse not only the face that she presented but her secret thoughts that she kept in a diary, told through the part of a second protagonist. Back this up with great prose, solid dialogue and a plot that allows you to live iwthin a turbulent time all round makes this an emotional read, which, when the reader turns the final page, leaves them wondering whether the rich were as privaledged as we, the modern generation believed them to be. Cracking.

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