“A Christmas Carol” on my mind

One of my first reviewers has likened “Elizabeth I” to “A Christmas Carol” in its plot structure.  I wasn’t consciously doing it, but those who saw my holiday post about my affection for Ebenezer Scrooge and my ritual of seeing “A Christmas Carol” every year will know it must have invaded my very thinking pattern!  Here is the first paragraph of the review, which appeared in the Dallas Literature Examiner on 3/29.  The astute reviewer was Marie Burton.  Thanks, Marie!

Book Review: Elizabeth I: A Novel by Margaret George

Elizabeth I: A Novel (April 5, 2011 Viking) reads very much like the Dickens’ favorite A Christmas Carol. We

see through the aged Elizabeth’s eyes the ghosts of the past from her parents to her favorites who flit in and

out of her consciousness; the present with the younger courtiers who no longer have anything of value to

Elizabeth except their looks; the future of England because of course this Virgin Queen left no heir for England.

The decisions of the past and the present and how they affect the future of England are also an underlying

theme for Elizabeth as she struggles to maintain her hold on the country that she married for richer or for

poorer. The Spanish Armada was always a threat, and even though she was able to defeat it in 1589, by the

time Spain had rebuilt its forces to strike again, Elizabeth’s most trusted advisors and the strongest fighters

and nobles had withered away.

4 thoughts on ““A Christmas Carol” on my mind”

  1. Marie’s book review sounds more like a book report. Did she like the book, hate it, what??

    Regardless, I just bought the book and I’m excited to lose myself in it.

    My boyfriend is taking the book to your signing in San Francisco tonight because I can’t make it myself. He’s scoring points and I’m getting something very cool, so thank you!

  2. Marie definitely liked the book! And I’ll watch for your boyfriend tonight, anyone who asks me to inscribe to “Jennifer.” Sorry you cannot make it.

  3. I’m a huge fan of all your work…and I’ve had a long fascination with the Tudors. I’ve just now had the chance to devote to the book. Why did you choose to go with this part of Elizabeth’s life? I’m glad to see that, like many other books, she has not been romanticized or emotionally needy…made something that she wasn’t.

    Any plans on turning your pen toward Bloody Mary? It is so easy to dislike her, but she is really a very tragic woman.

    I also share your love of “A Christmas Carol”…I own a number of copies and I watch it every year.

  4. Thanks for your careful reading. I chose to concentrate on this part of her life because, one, it is the part most neglected, especially by people who focus on the romantic aspects of her life, and two, it held some of the most interesting characters, such as Shakespeare and Essex, and it was so black-and-white dramatic, with the Armada. I also wanted to examine aging and power—still very much a factor today. As she got older, this became more and more of an issue. She chose to fight it by ‘rising above it’ with the cult of the Faerie Queen (woe to anyone who commented on the discrepancy between the live queen and the model) and by keeping her eyes and ears sharp so nothing got past her.

    Bloody Mary–yes, she’s a sad character. I really felt for her. It is interesting that Elizabeth was never bitter toward her, in spite of their differences.

    Which is your favorite version of “A Christmas Carol?” I like the Alastair Sim version. The Jim Carrey one was awful, but maybe I just don’t like motion-capture.

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