I couldn’t resist picking this one by Phillipa Gregory up, since I enjoyed The Queen’s Fool so much. I wasn’t disappointed, really, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had the earlier book. As far as historical fiction goes, it’s okay — it’s got lots of soap-opera style stuff, from war, to love and lust, adultry and jilted wives, and ambition… gotta love the 16th century, right? Still, it lacked a sympathetic character. Queen Elizabeth was a bit of a pushover — in love with Robert Dudley and completley at loose ends during her first two years of her reign (the time period of the book). Dudley, himself, is a bit of an arrogant prick, and not at all likeable. His wife, Amy, is — probably true to her time — weepy, boring, and garners no sympathy when she ends up dead. The only really likeable character is William Cecil, and even then, he’s not exactly endearing, being manipulative and harsh on everyone (though by the end, he’s the only one acting like an adult, and I was grateful for that). Still, it’s not a bad read — I’ve read, and finished, books I’ve liked less — it’s just that The Queen’s Fool is much better.