Elizabeth’s Rival: The Tumultuous Life of the Countess of Leicester; The Romance and Conspiracy That Threatened Queen Elizabeth’s Court

Nicola Tallis. Pegasus, $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-68177-657-6
Tallis (Crown of Blood) has constructed a thorough first biography of Lettice Knollys that also serves as an excellent view of the Elizabethan era from a noblewoman’s perspective. For years the young Lettice was a close companion to Queen Elizabeth I, but this closeness was ruptured when, after the death of Lettice’s first husband, Walter Devereaux, Earl of Essex, Lettice secretly married Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the queen’s “favorite”—one of “those individuals closest to the monarch, who entertained them, were loyal to them, and perhaps offered the most intimate personal connection outside of their family.” Lettice and the queen seldom met again during their lives, and Elizabeth never forgave Lettice for her perceived betrayal. The queen did not display the same lasting rancor toward Leicester, nor did it initially extend to other members of Lettice’s family; her firstborn son, Robert, was for a time the queen’s favorite after his stepfather’s death. Tallis uses Lettice’s 91-year life to showcase the scandals, wars, and rebellions that marked the end of the Tudors and the beginning of the Stuart monarchy. Tallis includes pictures, genealogies, a timeline, an extensive bibliography, and notes to round out this work, which is a great choice for historians and lay readers alike. Agent: Andrew Lownie, Andrew Lownie Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 03/06/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-68177-714-6
Show other formats
Discover what to read next