The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I.

The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I. Ballantine. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780345511911. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780804177306. F
Following The Lady Elizabeth, which traces the Tudor princess's route to the English throne, Weir focuses on the monarch's love affair with Robert Dudley and her lifelong ploys to avoid marriage. Depicting the political and personal considerations that went into Elizabeth's attempts to be loved but remain outside any man's husbandly influence, the novel attempts to touch on the reasons why she shrewdly played games with her marriageable state during her reign. The plot, though, reads like the movement of a checkers piece between unskilled players, with constant back-and-forth that goes nowhere and becomes redundant, thereby failing to catch a reader's attention. Although a touchstone of historical fiction is the retelling of a factual story that cannot change, to some extent the work must present something new. Weir's novel does not accomplish this.
VERDICT Purchasing a copy ensures that readers can complete Weir's series, but don't be surprised if it gathers more dust than the first installment. [See Prepub Alert, 8/11/14.]
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