Just a Girl

Jane Caro’s amazing Just a Girl captures the fear and confusion, Queen Elizabeth 1 must have felt growing up as a teen in an environment where nobody could be trusted and beheadings were commonplace.

Just a Girl is historical fiction that tells a true story with elegance and sensitivity. It’s a novel for young adults detailing Elizabeth’s life up to the time she became queen.

Even though there is so much death and sadness surrounding the young Elizabeth, Just a Girl is an optimistic read. Elizabeth doesn’t give up hope that things will get better and she learns to handle the complexities and treachery of the world around her. She faces the circumstances of her birth and her life with courage and understanding.

From the moment her father, Henry V111 executes her mother, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth is forced into competition with her sibling Mary and later, Edward for their father’s love. She is also in competition with them for the throne of England.

Even if you’re not a lover of history, you’ll be captivated by Elizabeth’s story. Without her intelligence and wisdom beyond her years, Elizabeth would not have survived the plots to get rid of her and the insecurities and treachery of her own siblings.

In the gilded corridors of the royal palace, enemies she couldn’t see – as well as those bound to her by blood – plotted to destroy her.

I loved the title of this book – its layers of meaning. Elizabeth has already lived a lifetime, even though she is ‘just a girl’. She also has to endure prejudice and opposition to her goal never to marry, simply because she is ‘just a girl’.

Author, Jane Caro has deftly crafted Elizabeth’s character. Elizabeth’s voice is authentic to the time in which she lived, and so believable that it draws the reader in, making you feel as if you really knew this young royal.

It was also fascinating to see other well known characters come to life on the pages of this book, and to be introduced in such detail to the era in which they lived.

Just a Girl is rich in language and setting, and full of historical detail that is both surprising and intriguing. Although the story is based on actual events that the reader may know the outcome of, there is still page turning tension to keep you hooked till the last page.

This book could be enjoyed by both teen and adult readers. Just a Girl is published by UQP