Young Bess is the first in a trilogy Margaret Irwin wrote on the life of Elizabeth Tudor and begins towards the end of Henry VIII’s life during his marriage to Catherine Parr. Upon Henry’s death Bess goes to live with the widowed Catherine who soon marries the new King’s uncle Tom Seymour – but was Catherine really Tom’s first choice for a bride or would he have preferred to marry the young princess to further his own ambitions? Bess is barely on the cusp of womanhood and Tom’s *flirtations* begin to appear most inappropriate and Catherine must step to nip it in the bud and separate the two.
The book continues through the reign of her brother Edward as Bess and Tom face the consequences for their reckless actions. The trilogy continues in Elizabeth, The Captive Princess and Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain. While I did enjoy this novel a great deal and Irwin’s writing is top-notch, this book didn’t bring any new knowledge to *the table* either. I believe this was written for the YA market and would do very nicely for today’s younger readers new to the period as well as for those who do enjoy a YA book on occasion. Readers looking for a heavier going read should look elsewhere, and I highly recommend Susan Kay’s Legacy (which is being reissued by Sourcebooks in 2010). 4/5 stars.
My copy courtesy of Sourcebooks.