Just a Girl | Jane Caro

I do read books outside the historical fiction genre, but looking at my reviews so far…not very many! But they’re just so darn satisfying and interesting!

In ‘Just A Girl’ we have young Elizabeth on the eve of her coronation, passing a restless night in anticipation of her coronation. She spends the night reflecting on the path that has led her to this night. A young life beset with tragedy, pathos, danger, imprisonment, illness, glamour and death.

She is surrounded by people who change allegiance at the drop of a hat, who are quick to judge, condemn and believe the worse. Elizabeth makes mistakes and learns from them and she is quick to observe and learn the lessons from the mistakes of others as well.We see how she develops the strength of character to become a Queen that is capable of ruling her people through a period of nearly 50 years into a Golden Age.

Caro’s story is simply written, but never trite or dull. I was completely caught up in the feelings and dilemmas of the young Elizabeth. I felt empathy and sympathy for her. I finished the book wanting more. More Elizabeth and more Caro (you may know her from the Gruen Transfer on ABC TV).
Jane Caro interview SMH

Having read (and loved) Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ over Christmas I felt quite familiar with the history of that time and I was very ready to enter into that time once again. 

Caro has made some concessions to her younger, modern readers, but this simply gives Elizabeth’s story a poignancy and immediacy.

Highly recommended for 12+ readers.

I do not remember when I discovered how my mother died, it seems to be something I always knew, a horror I absorbed through my skin.

Determined, passionate and headstrong, Elizabeth I shaped the destiny of a kingdom.

Her mother; Anne Boleyn, was executed by her father Henry VIII. From that moment on, Elizabeth competed with her two half-siblings for love and for Britain’s throne. In the gilded corridors of the royal palace, enemies she couldn’t see – as well as those bound to her by blood – plotted to destroy her.

Using her courage to survive and her wits to confound those who despised her, this young woman became one of the greatest monarchs the world has ever seen.

Even though she was just a girl, she had already lived a lifetime.

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