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HIS LAST LETTER: ELIZABETH I AND THE EARL OF LEICESTER
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, England, Elizabethan Period
Basing her novel on the actual letter sent by Robert Dudley to Elizabeth I on the eve of his death, Westin explores the depth of their relationship. This realistic, well-researched portrait of Elizabeth answers questions about her lifelong friendship with Dudley — her “Sweet Robin” and beloved “eye.” Westin walks a fine line, depicting the sweetness and sadness of Elizabeth’s middle years when political turmoil supersedes personal needs. Her lively storytelling and remarkably real characters make for compelling reading.
As children Elizabeth and Dudley are playmates drawn together by their unusual places in the political milieu. Even as youngsters they understand the dangers inherent in their lives as England changes dramatically due to the mercurial moods of Henry VIII. As young adults Dudley becomes Elizabeth’s “Robin” and might have become her husband, except Elizabeth was always wary of choosing one man. However, she is possessive and jealous of the women in Robin’s life. Yet their love survives his two marriages, rumors of murder and her need for political and personal flirtations until his death. (NAL, Aug., 400 pp., $16.00)
Reviewed By: Kathe Robin
Published: August 2010