Review: Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen

Title: Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen
Author: Laura Brennan
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Elizabeth I is arguably one of the greatest monarchs and women of English history. Against an uncertain political and religious backdrop of post-reformation Europe she ruled at the conception of social modernization, 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 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.

Amongst the events examined are the death of her mother, the role and fates of her subsequent stepmothers, the fate of Lady Jane Grey and the subsequent behavior 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 Amanda.


This book talks about important events that shaped Queen Elizabeth I’s life. These include the marriages of her father, Henry VIII, her feud with Mary Queen of Scots, and her battle with King Philip I of Spain.

I was disappointed that this book showed things that happened around Elizabeth, rather than her actual life. The book is supposed to be about events that shaped her life, but there was not much reference to Elizabeth’s actual life. The explanations of how these events affected Elizabeth’s life were quite short compared to the long descriptions of what happened. Almost the entire first half of the book was about Henry VIII and his wives. He was Elizabeth’s father so he greatly shaped her life, but she didn’t live with him at that time, so she wasn’t actually present for most of the book.

There was also a lot of the author’s opinion in the book, rather than just stating the facts. There were many parts where she talked down to the reader. For example, she said that people used paintings to see what other people looked like because they didn’t have cameras. If you’re reading this book about Tudor England, it’s presumed that you know they didn’t have cameras hundreds of years ago. She didn’t need to talk down to the reader to explain things like that.

This was a disappointing book that talked about events that happened during the life of Elizabeth I, but not her actual life.

Thank you Pen and Sword for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory

Mary Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

Have you read Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

One thought on “Review: Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: