Book Review: “The Heretic Heir” by G. Lawrence

Jane Seymour (17)

As a follow-up to “The Bastard Princess”, author G. Lawrence out-does herself in the second book of the Elizabeth of England Chronicles – “The Heretic Heir”.

If you enjoyed the first book, “The Bastard Princess” you will definitely enjoy this book. The writing is superb and leaves you rooting for Elizabeth through the reign of her sister, Queen Mary I of England. As the sister of the queen, Elizabeth finds herself in trouble more than once throughout her years under the Catholic monarch. Elizabeth plays her cards right to ensure her life is spared more than once. There were only a few that Elizabeth could trust with her life, Kat Ashley was at the top of the list. She and Kat were separated several times during Mary’s reign because the queen believed Kat was a bad influence on Elizabeth. There are several other notable names you’ll recognize in the book like – Cecil, Parry and Dudley, to name a few.

It’s always interesting to see an author’s take on Elizabeth’s courtly skills. Lawrence did a masterful job at capturing the essence of Elizabeth’s character, one that we would see play out again and again throughout her life. Elizabeth had a way with choosing her words carefully, but never so skillfully as when she was fighting for her life against her sister, who was paranoid that Elizabeth was involved in any rebellion against her.

With that we also see the sensitive side of Elizabeth who had natural fear and sadness like the right rest of us. Being thrown in the Tower, in the same rooms as her mother must have been terrifying and we see Elizabeth’s strength grow from all of these experiences. When Mary is sick and near death, Elizabeth feels the loss of a woman who took great care of her when she was a child and felt pity on a delusional Mary when near the end she still believed herself with child.

This story is told from Elizabeth’s death-bed in 1603 and covers her life in the entirety of the reign of Queen Mary I of England. Each event is skillfully covered and was obvious that Lawrence did a magnificent job researching Elizabeth.

I would easily rate this book 5 out of 5 stars and would highly recommend it for anyone who loves Queen Elizabeth I.

-Rebecca Larson

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