Lasky's account starts when Elizabeth is 10 and ends almost 3 years later after her father, King Henry VIII, dies. The author provides a clear portrait of upper-class life in 16th-century England-the filthy living conditions, games and recreations, holidays, food, and education. Oddly, there is little mention of clothing. Her study of the young princess focuses on Elizabeth's frequent loneliness and her desperate desire for her father's attention. Readers will enjoy the family intrigues but also will identify with Elizabeth's surprisingly modern doubts and concerns. The book concludes with a family tree, black-and-white portraits, and a historical note; this, however, never mentions what happened to Lady Jane Grey and Robin Dudley, key characters in the story. Unfortunately, the history in the novel itself is not always accurate, and Elizabeth's voice veers inconsistently from contemporary to old-fashioned. Still, it's enjoyable light reading.
Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr 4-8-In this addition to the series of fictional diaries focusing on royalty by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic, 1999), Elizabeth, the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, shares her day-to-day life from the ages of 11 to 14. She feels herself the "forgotten" or "invisible" princess, being exiled from court life to a country estate due to an unfortunate turn of phrase which earns her father's displeasure. She swings from melancholy to exhilaration as she is finally allowed back at court. Her longing for her father's approval, along with the typical pastimes of an upper-class child in mid-16th century England and her friendships with Robin Dudley and Lady Jane Gray are Elizabeth's main concerns. Her father, his many wives, including the current Queen, Catherine Parr, and other members of the Tudor household are superficially developed. History is conveyed, accurately for the most part, in an entertaining fashion. Narrator Josephine Bailey's light British accent is perfect for a young Elizabeth's first person point-of-view set in diary format. A good choice for libraries where the series is popular.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.