Beware, Princess Elizabeth

by Carolyn Meyer

Paperback, 2001



Local notes

PB Mey




Harcourt (2001)


After the death of her father, King Henry VIII, in 1547, thirteen-year-old Elizabeth must endure the political intrigues and dangers of the reigns of her half-brother Edward and her half-sister Mary before finally becoming Queen of England eleven years later.

Original publication date


Physical description

224 p.; 8.43 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member alebarbu
"Beware, Princess Elizabeth" is a fictional account of Elizabeth I's teenage and young adult years, from the time her father, King Henry VIII, died when she was 13 to when she became queen of England in 1559 at age 25. "Lady Elizabeth" as she was known during that time had a lot to fight against,
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and worry about after the death of her father. Her mother, Anne Boleyn, had been executed by order of her father when Elizabeth was not yet three years old. Subsequently, she was declared illegitimate. With the death of Henry VIII, Elizabeth lost her main protection. Her younger brother, Edward, had become king, and Elizabeth found herself under suspicion for a while because of her association with Tom Seymour who was accused of wanting to kidnap the king, and of scheming to marry her. She knew him because he had married her stepmother after her father's death. Those charges proved groundless, but that was one early scare she had as a teenager. Edward VI died of tuberculosis in 1553, at age 15. One of the members of the privy council, John Dudley, had managed to make Edward declare Lady Jane Grey (Henry VIII's great-niece) as his successor, and not his half-sister Mary, as his father's will had stipulated. However, Mary claimed her rights to the throne. Noblemen and common people flocked to her defense because she was popular, and she was declared queen very soon after that. Mary was a fervent Catholic, and she wanted all Protestants (including her half-sister Elizabeth) to convert to Catholicism. They were burned at the stake if they refused, and hundreds of them died that way during her five-year reign. She also had Elizabeth imprisoned in the Tower of London, and then under house arrest in the ruins of Woodstock palace for several months because Elizabeth was accused of supporting Protestants rebelling against Mary. When Mary became sick and understood she was dying, she finally recognized her sister as her successor, and Elizabeth became queen on November 17, 1558. She was crowned on January 15, 1559.

This book is written with Elizabeth as the narrator, which makes the reader privy to her thoughts and emotions, as if the reader were reading a diary. This technique brings Elizabeth closer to the reader who sympathizes with her, and learns about some private facets of her personality. In this book, Elizabeth comes across as a very likeable, witty and determined young woman who faced many perils, and had to overcome many hurdles before becoming queen of England. From what I know about this period of English history, the book seems to be historically accurate. The many characters are well developed, and although the plot may be a bit hard to follow at times for readers not familiar with that period of history, the book is well-written and very enjoyable to read.

I love history, so I usually enjoy any fiction and non-fiction historical reading, but I think that this book would be interesting to read even for young adults who may not particularly like history. It reads as a story of a young adult living in the 16th century while at the same time providing valuable historical and cultural information about that time period. Also, it is not a dull book as it mirrors the eventful times in which the story takes place.

I recommend this book for purchase for a middle school library because I think the type of writing makes it more likely to be enjoyed by Gr. 6-8 students, but also because it ties into the seventh grade social studies standards.
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LibraryThing member Smiler69
Ever since I attempted to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, I realized that if I wanted to appreciate that book, I needed to gain a better understanding of the Tudor lineage, personalities and power plays. I asked around for a recommendation for a fictional account that would be easy to follow but
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was founded on solid research and historical accuracy. That's when an LT friend surprised me by sending me this book in the mail.

As part of the Young Royals series, the short novel is an first person account of Elizabeth's life from the death of her father King Henry VIII, through the trials and tribulations of the reign of her brother Edward VI, followed by the extreme discomfort she suffered throughout her sister Queen Mary's rule. Mary Tudor had such a fear that Elizabeth would take the throne from her through an organized rebellion that she banished her and treated her as a prisoner for the better part of her reign.

The simple family tree of the Tudors at the beginning of the book was a great help, and I finally feel like I've got a bit of background understanding of the dynamics at play. I'm not sure what I'll follow up with, but at least I am no longer completely in the dark.
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LibraryThing member nm.fall08.j.bean
This book is about a girl named Elizabeth you is third in line for her fathers thrown. This book tells you about Elizabeth's struggles with her sister for the crown. The good thing about this book is that you will never know what elizabeth will do next, She could be at her fathers funeral and the
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next thing you know Elizabeth is locked in a tower by the order of her sister Queen Mary, you just can't stop reading it so you will go through the book fast. the bad thingh about this book is thgat you have to rewad vary slowly because this book is vary hard to understand. the way yhey talked back in the day was and is vary different from the English that we speak today. If you like a book that is suprising and suspenceful then this book is for you.
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LibraryThing member meggyweg
Someone needs to tell Carolyn Meyer that it's not necessary to describe in detail every single outfit each character wears, and furthermore, that to suddenly introduce a character that tells the protagonist all sorts of detailed information and then conveniently disappears is so blatant a plot
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device that I'm sure the 12-year-olds this book is directed at will see right through it.
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LibraryThing member Anaxshre
The sign of good historical fiction is being engaging and natural. This Novel displays both qualities and more. I would recommend this book to both historical fiction lovers and those who are reading such a book for the first time.
LibraryThing member mollyellison
General Fiction/Historical Fiction, drama, romance, family, politics, Interest Level: Grade 6, GLE: 6.9, 2002.

Princess Elizabeth faces danger and drama during her brother, Edward's reign, and then later her sister's, Queen Mary. She experiences imprisonment in the Tower of London, political unrest,
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religious persecution, and general familial unrest. Throughout the experience she observes and learns because when she is crowned Queen of England she is determined to repair the damage her family has caused in England.
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LibraryThing member HeatherLINC
This is a wonderfully written book for younger teens about the life of the young Princess Elizabeth. It gives a fabulous introduction to the intriguing times of Tudor England as Elizabeth struggles to survive the violent rule of her half sister, Mary.

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