Queen Elizabeth came to the throne after her sister's passing. It seemed that all anyone was concerned about once she came to the throne was finding her a husband so that a King could rule alongside her. There were offers from the Spanish and the Scottish, along with many other noble men. Elizabeth is smitten with her childhood friend Robert Dudley though, and Dudley is a very ambitious man. There's just one problem, he's married.
As the French threaten war, Dudley pushes Elizabeth more to marry him while her advisors push her to marry someone that will help stop a war with the French. The problem is that Dudley is married to Amy Robsart and not available to marry the queen. He tries to convince Elizabeth to give him a divorce but people aren't sure if he truly loves Elizabeth or if he is just ambitious.
This novel paints Dudley as a power-seeking jerk and Elizabeth as a weak female. I'm not sure how true these portraits are. I doesn't make sense that Elizabeth is a weak person when she ruled England for such a long time and with so much success. The true victim here was Amy Robsart. I felt very sorry for her, no one deserves to be treated like that.
First Line: "All the bells in Norfolk were ringing for Elizabeth, pounding the peal into Amy's head, first the trebel bell screaming out like a mad woman, and then the whole agonizing, jangling sob till the great bell boomed a warning that the whole discordant carillon was about to shriek out again."