Poor Shakespeare doesn’t really get a fair shake in this book. He is a complete selfish scoundrel with the morals of an alley cat and the sexual appetite of a sex starved swinging rock n’ roll star. Not very pretty at all and not exactly an homage to the worlds most famous playwright.
Queen Elizabeth I was determined to control her own destiny and not be dominated by men, hence her unwillingness to wed. She did have men she was enamoured with throughout the years, but they were never allowed to rise high enough to take a position of power above her. She is usually described as quite severe in her reactions towards people who slighted her in any way, and yet she tried very hard not to become the tyrant her father was.
In this book I felt the author allowed the Earl of Essex far too much leeway. More than would have been realistically possible in that environment. He was rebellious, he did disobey and he did commit acts of treason against the crown. In fact he was charged with treason, after trying to raise a rebellion, and was beheaded a few years before the death of the Queen herself.
However it might just be the disappointment about the fact the Queen was but a mere mortal. At that time a middle-aged lonely woman in the middle of a constant power struggle and battle to sustain her authority as a monarch.
Unlike the previous books this one has too many sub-plots going off in different directions.
It was a good conclusion to the series. The author brought everything round full circle with a lot of drama and heartbreak.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.