Book Review: ‘Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen’ by Tracy Borman

Elizabeth’s Women, The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen’ by Tracy Borman

My rating: 5/5

I was immediately drawn to this book when I saw it in the bookshop. The premise of Elizabeth’s Women – all about the women who shaped the life of Queen Elizabeth I – was something I had not seen written about at length before. Generally, historians tend to place emphasis upon Elizabeth’s glorious reign, her political strengths, her penchant for outrageous fashion or her tumultuous relationships with her courtiers, but Borman encompassed all this and more in Elizabeth’s Women. Throughout the entirety of this book I found myself to be sympathising with Gloriana – Tracy Borman’s in-depth and well-researched commentary of the intricacies of Elizabeth’s life presented the Queen as a human plagued by morals and anxious to do her duty, and not just as an all-powerful, saint-like figure as many historians have presented her in the past.

I particularly loved the length of detail that Borman went to write this book, covering all aspects of Elizabeth’s life, from infancy to death. I particularly enjoyed the chapters about Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, and her four successive step-mothers, as well as the relationship between Elizabeth and her sister Mary I. This book is of much value to any researcher of the Virgin Queen, or of Tudor history in general. Additionally, Elizabeth’s Women was very easy to read, and although the various names of Elizabeth’s ladies could at times get confusing (through no fault of the author!), this book was not filled with heavy jargon often found in historical non-fiction. I found myself wanting to read more and more, and was genuinely disappointed when it ended.

Elizabeth’s Women would be ideal for researchers or casual history lovers alike. Informative, well-written and easy to read, this book presents the Virgin Queen in a way never seen before. I truly am looking forward to whatever Tracy Borman has next up her sleeve.


‘Elizabeth’s Women, The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen’ is an historical non-fiction book, and was published by Vintage in 2009.

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