I read George’s Memoirs of Cleopatra a year or two ago, and really enjoyed it, so when I spotted this in the bargain basement I figured I may as well purchase. Still it has taken me an age to actually manage to read it. Mainly because it is quite a large book, and a difficult size for carrying around. Still, when HistoricalFavorites was started up I decided this was the push I needed.
All in all it was an interesting read, but not a great one. The problem with writing a book based on the life of a real person is that you have to stick to the facts, and often reality does not make for a good read.
First off, you don’t really know the motivations like you would if you had created the characters from scratch. And there is the fact that her real motivations are very alien to the modern world. Surely a lot of her problems would’ve been solved if she had just given up the throne? But that wasn’t an option for someone of the time, believing themselves to be chosen by God to have the divine right to rule.
I found that I didn’t really like the character that George created, while I admired certain aspects of her character, overall I felt that she was just far too innocent. Of course I suppose, if she was more knowing then she would have come across as more scheming and so not quite so sympathetic.
And of course there I have the natural Irish antipathy towards Queen Elizabeth of England and never liked her, despite her portrayal here. I much prefer the Blackadder version.