by Robert Stephen Parry
A unique mixture of fact and fiction, this volume contains 14 short chapters on Queen Elizabeth I’s relationships with the various men in her life—from her cold and distant father to her trusted councilors and, of course, the well-documented round of suitors. While some chapters give a brief history and descriptions of life at court, others are dedicated to a character, including a bio as well as a vignette. These fictionalized short stories display an insightful scene between the Queen and the man in question. Also included is a discussion on what the term “Virgin Queen” meant in Elizabethan times and the significance of the Queen’s astrological sign, Virgo—a link to the author’s full-length novel, Virgin and the Crab. A brief mention of Cecil’s son-in-law, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, piqued my interest, as I lean toward the Oxfordian side of the Shakespeare authorship debate. This is a great resource for those looking for a short but informative read with an unusual twist.