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Elizabeth I (Hardback)

The Making of a Queen

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > Royal History Women of History

By Laura Brennan
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526714572
Published: 18th May 2020


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Elizabeth I is arguably one of the greatest monarchs that ever lived. Against an uncertain political and religious backdrop of post-reformation Europe, she ruled at the conception of social modernisation, living in the shadow of the infamy of her parents' reputations and striving to prove herself an equal to the monarchs who had gone before her.

This book seeks to explore some of the key events of her life, both before and after she ascended the English throne in late 1558. By looking at the history of these selected events, as well as investigating the influence of various people in her life, this book sets out to explain Elizabeth’s decisions, both as a queen and as a woman.

Amongst the events examined are the death of her mother, the role and fates of her step-mothers, the fate of Lady Jane Grey and the subsequent behaviour and reign of her half sister Mary Tudor, along with the death of Amy Dudley, the return of Mary Queen of Scots to Scotland, the Papal Bull and the Spanish Armada.

I'm always interested in studying, researching and reading about Queen Elizabeth I. I need to say I enjoyed the book.

Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen focuses on events that helped shape the course of Elizabeth and these events are thus not always about her. The writing style is easy to follow and seems to be well-researched.

‘Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen’ is written for audiences just discovering this English queen, looking for a brief overview without getting into too heavy details or politics.

This is a good introduction to some of the key events of the Tudor period. If you are new to these topics it gives a decent overview.

If you want to look at it from a wide perspective for information, this book is for you!

I enjoyed reading it and thought the writing was clear and concise, and the sources were all documented and many primary sources cited throughout.

A Tudor Reader

Video review featured on Lil's Vintage World

Lil's Vintage World

A book about select events in the life of Elizabeth I that shaped her. I found this a fascinating book that is a must read for Tudor fans.

NetGalley, Shelly Myers

Fantastic historical read I couldn't have been happier with! This book really wowed me because I thought I knew a lot about Elizabeth's life! This book really had amazing details about her life and characters that I never heard of. I loved it.

NetGalley, Jackie Shephard

I thought that the writing was clear and concise, and the sources were all documented, with plenty of use of primary sources which are quoted throughout. One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read about Elizabeth I, easy to understand and pulling all the chapters back to how the event discussed in that chapter shaped Elizabeth as a queen and woman was fascinating.

Read the full review here

Tudor Blogger

I liked that the book didn’t go into unnecessary detail about bits of her life, but focused on events which helped her become such an incredible queen. I thought this was well-written, the writing was concise which meant that it didn’t feel like someone rambling on. Sometimes with non-fiction, it can get a bit boring with the writing style, but luckily that’s not the case with this book. It’s a brilliant insight into one of our most loved monarchs and highly recommend it to any Tudor or general history fan.

Read the full review here

Life and Tea Blog

I found this format interesting because it shows Elizabeth as a human being rather than an icon she's so often portrayed as. When you look at the events that shaped her character, you'll see that although she was born as princess, Elizabeth experienced many vicissitudes of fate and often found herself close to death (if not of natural causes, like in 1562 when she contracted smallpox, then accused of treason and threatened with execution in the aftermath of Wyatt's rebellion in 1554).

I enjoyed this book very much because it's so different from other books on Elizabeth that are out there. Highly recommended.

Read the full review here

GoodReads, Constant Reader

Brennan tackles a well-covered and known character with subtle nuance and a unique voice. She humanizes Elizabeth and makes the queen a human specimen of authority and power during a time of men.

NetGalley, Shonda Wilson

Click here to listen to Laura Brennan interview on

Talk Radio Europe with presenter Giles Brown

There are plenty of books about Queen Elizabeth I but this is the very latest, and it does make for very interesting reading, explaining as it does some of her decisions and some of the more obscure and little known episodes of her life. Very well written and engaging.

Books Monthly

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Okay, I'm going to try to rein it in here and not go crazy on this review, because I get pretty excited talking about Queen Elizabeth I. Especially when I find a new biography on her life. The trouble is finding a biography that is interesting, since so many have been written about this amazing queen. And I absolutely love Laura Brennan's approach.

The author knew that the queen's history is what made the woman. And so, she focused on her family. Her father, his wives. Her mother, her sister, her rivals. Each person was given the time due to them, with an eye for how that specific person would have affected Elizabeth and influenced her in her role as monarch. I felt that it was an intimate look into the woman that Elizabeth became, and I loved every single page. Definitely one of my top favorite biographies on this historic woman.

NetGalley, Stacie Tyson

This book was very good and clear. It also served the purpose of revealing the events to the reader and how they tie in with Elizabeth.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

As featured on the Royal Reviewer Vlog

Royal Reviewer

It is good - a focus on those around her and a decent look at her life. It looks at her family, getting to the throne up to her death. Nice look for those who have an interest in her.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

I've really enjoyed reading this book, it has a great balance of primary source material and explanation of the people and events surrounding Elizabeth. As a history teacher I'm always looking for engaging books that I can recommend to my students and this one will definitely be added to my list.

NetGalley, Elaine Jackson-Hunter

A new take on a history book- not focused with the minutiae of Elizabeth’s reign, instead focused on the things that happened around her and to her throughout her life, that may have influenced her to make the decisions she did. It felt like a refreshing take, and a good psychological study at times, giving us a glimpse into the Queens psyche. A lot of detail on Tudor line, and a good interesting read.

NetGalley, Samantha Oloughlin

This is a good introduction to some of the key events of the Tudor period. This is an accessible and satisfying read.

NetGalley, Emma Cannon

This is undoubtedly a well researched book, well written with a real feel of history and for the time and place.

NetGalley, John McCormick

The big plus for me on this book is that it’s highly accessible, and an easy introduction to the events that influenced Elizabeth’s life and reign.

NetGalley, Debra Brock

Elizabeth I : the making of a queen is a fascinating, compelling account of the events that occurred around Queen Elizabeth I and of the people in her life that made her the queen and woman that she was.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and did so from cover to cover. You get the sense that the author is extremely familiar with Tudor history because the story just seems to flow from her pen, providing great overviews of significant events. I dislike history books that give quote after quote from sources used, making you suspect that the writer did not have a good enough feel or understanding about their subjects to be able to write using their own words. Quotes were not overused in Laura Brennan's book.

Definitely not an academic book and definitely one to be read and enjoyed.

NetGalley, Flora Fung

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ms. Brennan met my expectations and beyond , felt the book was well documented . Although I knew some of the history the research brought forth was impeccable and better than I had read before. I would highly recommend this on anybody's list whom is interested in this era .

NetGalley, Mary Gallant

Very well researched and well written. Focuses on a few specific events in Queen Elizabeth’s life from her youth, from her early reign and then the mid to latter part. It’s shows how she learned from the activities around her and incorporated them into her future state and also ties the various impacts together. A different approach, which I enjoyed. Recommend as a different spin on a typical Elizabethan bio.

NetGalley, Jennifer Ruth

I loved the book - I feel as if after reading it, I have a better idea of Elizabeth personally - more insight into her personal and early life, and how watching the factions, rebellions and scandals play out in the courts of her father and siblings taught her the best way to act while she was queen. Reading about Elizabeth in the future I'll always be aware of her sitting quietly and making mental notes about what was happening around her and learning from their consequences.

Definitely one for your reading list.

Read the full review here

Love British History

I really enjoyed this book, it gave me a greater insight into Elizabeth's life and how early experiences could have influenced the way she acted once she was queen. I would have loved to see more detail on the analysis of Elizabeth's actions and her psychology, but this is probably me being a bit selfish as I'm fascinated by Elizabeth as a woman. It's a good read for beginners to the subject as well as those who have read more widely, as it explains the events discussed in detail as you go through the book. There is still a lot to learn here too for anyone who feels they have a good knowledge of Elizabeth's reign - I'd read about her for decades but never associated some of these earlier events with her later actions. After reading, I feel more aware of Elizabeth's thought processes and how she managed to distance herself when scandal hit the court as well as how she dealt with rebellion and her personal relationships. A great read, really enjoyed it.

NetGalley, Jo Romero

A clear and concise account of the life of Elizabeth I , this may be a short book but it the perfect jumping off point for someone who is interested in this powerful and fascinating woman. Laura Brennan divides Elizabeth's story into two halves, her childhood and teenage years before she became Queen and then her life as a monarch. I really appreciated the author's thoughtful approach and her insights into how the people around her affected her policies and decision making,from the influences of her father Henry VIII and his various wives, most notably the last , Catherine Howard, to the strained relationships she had with her half siblings and then in later years her rivalry with Mary, Queen of Scots. Over the course of the book Brennan shows the impact of her formative years helped to shape the way she ruled as Queen, including her decision not to marry and to delay naming an heir for as long as possible. I feel that the author did a great job of breaking down a complex and often turbulent period of British history and shedding some light on one of its most fascinating and powerful figures.

NetGalley, Annette Jordan

This was very informative in regard to Elizabeths family dynamics and how they affected her reign and behavior towards others especially men.

NetGalley, Makenzie Erickson

Don't judge me for this but I am quite obsessed with Queen Elibazeth life .So ,no wonders why I was attracted towards this book.

This book seeks to explore some of the key events of her life both before and after she ascended to the English throne in late 1558. By looking at the history of these selected events, as well as investigating the influence of various people in her life, this book sets out to explain Elizabeth’s decisions, both as a queen and as a woman

If you are fan of Queen Elizabeth regime go ahead. You won't be disappointed.

NetGalley, Pooja Banga

About Laura Brennan

Born in London, Laura Brennan initially trained to become a journalist at Bournemouth University before gaining a BA Hons. degree in History (2:1) from London Metropolitan University in 2005. While working at BBC Outside Broadcasts, she studied part time to gain her MA in History at Queen Mary University of London 2007 to 2009. It was while writing her Masters dissertation that she fell in love with the Duke of Monmouth. When not writing, Laura can be found enjoying the museums and galleries of London, snuggled up with a book or planning her next adventure in Europe.

Birth of Elizabeth I

7th September 1533

Elizabeth I – the last Tudor monarch and daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn – was born at Greenwich on 7 September 1533.

Elizabeth I crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey

15th January 1559

Elizabeth I crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey

Death of Elizabeth I

24th March 1603

Elizabeth I – the last Tudor monarch and daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn – died at Richmond Palace. James VI of Scotland was Elizabeth's successor and became James I of England.

View all events View all anniversaries

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