Elizabeth of Bohemia

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Elizabeth of Bohemia is one of my favorite historical character. I am very pleased that there is a novel about her. The novel is very well-written and is very detailed.  Elizabeth is a strong and relatable character. There are some flaws in this novel. There is a lot of telling and not enough showing. The supporting characters are not well-developed and appear to be flat. Lastly, the pacing is very uneven. There are times when the scenes drag on and others when the scenes are very fast-paced. Overall, it is a fascinating novel for those who want to experience the Winter Queen’s story. I recommend this for fans of C. W. Gortner, Alison Weir, and Jean Plaidy. Full review to come!
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Elizabeth is the granddaughter of Mary, Queen of Scots. Her father, King James I, marries her off to Prince Frederic of the Palatinate. Elizabeth was a very educated and highly intelligent young woman. She was not happy about this match, but like all royal females of that time, didn't get a choice. She conspires and succeeds at putting her husband on the throne of Bohemia. That was a short-lived reign, however, and they end up fleeing for their lives. Thus she earned the name, The Winter Queen. She had a LOT of children and the current Queen Elizabeth came from her line. 

This was described as "cinematic" and I definitely felt that. The writing style sucked you right into the world of Shakespeare and Descartes. That being said, this wasn't my favorite historical fiction involving a royal queen. I don't feel this is due to the author, Elias, at all. I just found myself not liking this Elizabeth. True, she was told who to wed, where her place was in life, and not allowed to question it. However, she came across as entitled, whiny, and spoiled. It seemed like nothing in her life ever made her happy. In that respect, Elias did a fabulous job of making me NOT like her. 

Four out of Five stars. Thanks to ECW Press and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I of England, narrates her own story in Elias’s wide-ranging novel. Her life encompasses many seismic events, from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which was meant to kill her father and install her as a puppet queen for the Catholics, to the origins of the devastating Thirty Years’ War, followed by years of strain and exile in the Netherlands. In short, her dramatic story is ripe for fictional treatment. However, the result is an uneven gallop through 17th-century European history rather than a sweeping biographical epic of a strong-willed woman’s life.

The story begins as her father arranges her marriage to Frederick, Count Palatine of the Rhine, a Protestant prince of her own age. A young woman with a flair for the dramatic, Elizabeth is unrealistically upset with her parents for not letting her choose her own husband, and later causes a scene by kissing Frederick before a large crowd. The couple settles in Heidelberg; she later goads him into taking the crown of Bohemia and bears him thirteen children. Their short reign in Bohemia gives her the famous nickname of the “Winter Queen.”

Periods of overwrought emotion (she lusts after the English statesman and explorer incorrectly referred to many times as “Sir Raleigh”) alternate with more realistic, lively scenes and staid recitations of events. Elizabeth’s defining motive seems to be rebellion, and the era’s complicated political scene doesn’t come into clear view. Frederick is called a “Bohemian prince” years too early, and a strange subplot involving Elizabeth’s cousin, Arabella Stuart, serves no real purpose. The descriptions of fashion and décor are well done, however. Unfortunately, despite evocative period language and some truly moving moments as Elizabeth reflects on her family’s tragedies, readers interested in her life may not find this novel sufficiently satisfying.
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If you are looking for a gripping and engaging read, then you are going to love this book! Once I started, I could not put it down! 
Grab this today for the perfect summer read!
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This is a story about Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of King James VI of Scotland I of England.  I will admit I knew nothing about Elizabeth so this was a joy for me to read.  I enjoyed this book very much.  It is interesting to see that everything changes and everything stays the same no matter who wears the crown.
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I requested this book because I enjoy historical fiction and have always liked reading about the royal families. This book, however, fell flat. It's overwhelmed with dialogue and circumlocutious passages. (I chose that word as a sample of the vocab the author used.)

At times, mainly in the beginning, I felt connected and engaged, while at too many other times, I felt bored and impatient. 

I will stick with Phillipa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Elizabeth Chadwick for my royal entertainment. 

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the ARC.
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I received this book for free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review. 

Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of King James (VI of Scotland and I of England) and his queen, Anne of Denmark, is one of those obscure but fascinating women of the Middle Ages/Renaissance whose lives provide material for historical novels that inform while they entertain.

Elizabeth of Bohemia: A Novel about Elizabeth Stuart, The Winter Queen by David Elias begins in October 1612 when the young princess is about to meet the man who will become her husband, Frederick V of the Palatine. Elizabeth is tired of being paraded in front of potential suitors. Beautiful, clever, and stubborn, she has strong opinions about everything, including her extravagant parents for whom she feels mostly contempt. The only person she cares for is her older brother Henry, who she believes would be a much better king.

Frederick woos her persistently, befriending Henry in the process. Unfortunately, Henry suffers from a recurrent illness that seems suspiciously like chronic poisoning. During Frederick’s visit, Henry dies. Elizabeth accepts Frederick’s proposal while in a deep depression. This is more than simply mourning; it appears Elizabeth suffers from bipolar disease, which influences her later behavior.

Frederick’s primary appeal, aside from his devotion to her, is his potential claim to the throne of Bohemia. In the novel, Elias portrays Frederick as a sensible, sensitive man content with the title and riches he possesses. Elizabeth, on the other hand, finds an outlet for her discontent: ambition. She bullies her husband into pursuing the throne against the advice of his counselors.

The novel closely follows the historical timeline. Frederick obtains the crown but cannot hold it for more than a couple of months. (Hence Elizabeth’s nickname, the Winter Queen). They are driven from the castle into exile. Frederick spends the rest of his life fighting a war he cannot win. Elizabeth falls from being a pampered, wealthy daughter of a king to being an impoverished exile, living on the charity of sympathetic nobles. 

The historical detail is superb, bringing this woman out of the shadows. However, Elizabeth is not a warm protagonist. She does not love her husband. (She never really loves anyone but her dead brother.) She takes no interest in her many, many children until they are adults. She has no qualms about using men who fall for her to help her achieve largely selfish aims. Her political acumen is lacking. It’s difficult to root for her success.

Nevertheless, despite a somewhat unlikeable protagonist, the story itself is compelling enough to make this an enjoyable read.
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I knew very little about Elizabeth of Bohemia before reading this book and was excited to learn more. I found the book well written and researched and would recommend to any historical fiction reader
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This was exciting to have a historical fiction based on Elizabeth Stuart and to learn more about the history surrounding her time.
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An interesting novelization of the life of a woman who has felt like a footnote to me in the past.  Elizabeth Stuart was a pawn of her father when she was married off to Prince Frederic.  Surprisingly, things aren't as bad as they could be, especially as Frederic ascends to the Hapsburg throne.  Sectarian moves through Europe, however, see him deposed and the family in severely reduced circumstances.  There's a lot packed into what is a fairly short novel, given the amount of history it covers.  Those looking for emotion or minutia should look elsewhere but those who value gaining insight into lesser known figures will find this a good read.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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I don't know how, but I finished this book. The description sounded so interesting, but to me the book fell flat. The dialogue was very... odd. Like it felt like the writing kept going between modern writing and the way they would have written in the 1600's. So it kept throwing me out of the story swapping between the two writing styles. Also it was really boring in parts. This was mostly Elizabeth's thoughts (and she was so super unlikable!), so it didn't feel like I got a real feel for the story. If this had been written from a more objective viewpoint (such as an observer), I probably would have liked it more. I will admit I skimmed the last 6 pages. The author kept prattling on, and it got to the point where I just wanted the book to end! Not one of the better historical fictions I've ever read!
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This is the story of Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of King James VIth of Scotland Ist of England.As a child of a king she was expected to marry for political and alliance reasons. She had many eligible suitors to choose from including Frederick, Elector of the Palatine, whose suit eventually was successful. Even though her marriage was a political match she and Frederick genuinely fell in love and of the course of their marriage had 13 children. She has been called the Winter Queen as her husband reigned in Bohemia for one year only over the winter months before being forced into exile in the court of the Dutch royal house of Orange.

I was very much looking forward to reading this book. I love historical novels based on royal rulers. It is a fun way of learning more history as well of the times they lived in. I was sorry then when I became a bit bored in the opening pages. Suddenly i was confronted by seemingly endless references to Shakespeare's  plays that left me wondering what the point was. I hate not finishing a book but it ceased to be much pleasure for me. The thought I'm left with is that if perhaps it had been 'spoken' by a third party looking at the situation and the characters I may have been more interested but it is all 'spoken' by Elizabeth with all her thoughts and no balance.
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This book tells the story of the life of Elizabeth Stuart, a daughter of James I of England. It builds up to be marriage to Frederick of Bohemia and then tells us about her life from there. The beginning was engaging and excellent but then I felt the story began to flag. It felt like the author lost direction somewhat and characters became stilted in their words and their actions. I found the second half of this a a struggle which was a shame as it began to promisingly.
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I enjoyed this book as a work of historical fiction - meaning it should be well-researched, an interesting story told well, and teach me something new.
This book was well-researched, and there's no doubt that I learned lots of new things. Although some bits I found astonishing - like learning that there was such a thing as a flushable toilet during this time.
The story was interesting but either I had unrealistic expectations or the story telling itself fell flat towards the end, when it seems all the interesting stuff was going on.
I would have liked to know more about her children, what she was like as an emotionally complex person, how she felt about things.
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I will have to say I could connect with the characters and the book was lacking in depth. This was a struggle to finish.
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I absolutely adored this book!! I always seek out novels that are set in Tudor England, and can practically recite the life of every single Tudor figure. I knew that I wanted a novel about ancient nobility, but I wanted something different from the norm. So I branched out and decided to give Elizabeth of Bohemia a try. What an incredible story!! The author did a brilliant job of introducing me to the cast of characters, establishing early on what their quirks, personalities and part in history would be. He did an amazing job at setting a scene, allowing me the opportunity to be immersed in the plot. As the story grew, so did my admiration for Elizabeth and my love for this author. A definite recommend.
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This book is a novelization of the life of Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I of England. It tells the story of her marriage to Frederick of Bohemia and her subsequent life. I enjoy studying the time period of this novel, so I was excited to read a book about the time period. However, the dialogue was often stilted, and the characters often took modern-day perspectives that would not have been held during the time period, which I disliked as a historian. However, the initial part of the novel was engaging, and it could be used as an introduction to the time period.
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I found this to be a highly enjoyable book based on little known Elizabeth of Bohemia. She was the daughter of King James I, sister to King Charles I. King James was the sucessor of Queen Elizabeth I.  She lead a fascinating life and I was glad to read her story. 
Not to be missed by Historical Fiction Lovers!
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thank you so much,Netgalley!
All opinions are my own.
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London 1612: Sixteen year old Elizabeth Stuart meets Frederick V as he was chosen to be her husband. The match seems to be pleasing to both of them. The following year, they get married. The story follows their move to Heidelberg Castle, further with help from Bohemian rebels, Frederic takes over royal duties in Prague. Thus, Elizabeth becomes the Queen of Bohemia during a brief reign. 

The story is intertwined with many letters including ones from her cousin Arabella Stuart, who is imprisoned at the Tower due to a fact that she married William Seymour, the man she loved, in a secret ceremony, instead of picking one of the suitors picked by King James, Elizabeth’s father. Elizabeth promised to persuade her father to be merciful. 

The story is tangled with such names as Alfonso Ferrabosco – Italian composer working in England and Ingo Jones – the most notable architect in England. It was interesting to come across such distinguished names. 

I was looking forward to reading about the Queen of Bohemia, so called Winter Queen as I’ve never read a book about her. But the issue is the progression of the story overwhelmed with dialogue and not well-developed characters. Probably most of the story is written through dialogue and I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters. Also, the way the story is presented it’s more of explanatory execution instead of being presented in action.
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Hearty thanks to ECW Press and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest and fair review.

It took me a long while to figure out how to review this book fairly. 

I love Historical Fiction and was excited to read a novel about different branch in the European Royal Family Tree! I was excited to have Shakespeare, Raleigh, Hume and Descartes make cameo appearances in the novel.

I would recommend this book for someone preparing for the SAT's because there are a lot of advanced vocabulary words. The author has a dry, meandering and circumlocutory writing style and that seems off putting when reading for pleasure. It very much felt like the author was saying, "Let's use a sesquipedalian word when a singularly unloquacious and diminutive linguistic expression will satisfactorily accomplish the contemporary necessity!"

I disliked this book, to me it read like a fleshed out version of a Wikipedia article. There was too much History and not enough fiction! Where was the court gossip? Where were the descriptions of fantastic clothes, banquets, glittering balls? Where was the romance? Even the letters between friends and family in this book lacked depth. The writing was tedious and I wanted to stop reading by chapter 4 but I always finish a book no matter how pedestrian. 

Sorry, it's a no from me.
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