Friday, October 21, 2005

Dispatches from the Tower

Today's book: Finally finished "Arbella: England's Lost Queen" by Sarah Gristwood. I ended up sympathizing more with the author than the subject, because Arbella's character and motives are pretty obscure. She was the niece of Mary, Queen of Scots, and stood a good chance of inheriting the throne from Elizabeth I. Instead, Mary's son James acceded, and Arbella was thrust to the side, eventually to marry without the king's consent and spend the rest of her life in the Tower as punishment. Gristwood obviously loves her and wants her to be a strong, self-motivated woman, but the author's historical discipline keeps having to rein in her imagination. Certainly Arbella wasn't given the opportunity to accomplish much. I would probably have enjoyed this book more if I'd been more knowledgeable about the Elizabethan era going in; I'd never even heard of Arbella. It's always satisfying to finish a big nonfiction book, though.

Next: "At the Mountains of Madness," which has finally been located at the library. Today it is quite dismal out, so I expect to spend the afternoon baking and reading.

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