What a cover!! Goodness, I have to say, as one who firmly stands by the "don't judge a book by its cover" rule (though we all do just that), I would have picked this up and ran home with it, even if it wasn't a Cybils nominated title. The cover is just gorgeous! Oh...and did I mention it's written by a one Ann Rinaldi? Queen of Historical Fiction Ann Rinaldi? Well it is. Great cover, great author, pretty good book.
Rinaldi steps out of her typical American history comfort zone to tackle the life of Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and eventual Queen in The Redheaded Princess. At the time in the book, Elizabeth is in her teen years; simply a princess and not a very honored one at that. Her father, the King, only loves her when he wants to and will only allow her in the actual court of his kingdom on occasion, leading Elizabeth to believe that the royal life is not a very pleasant one. She watches her father's wives come and go, often by the way of a beheading, something Elizabeth is threatened with many times. She must remain strong and positive during times when her siblings are on the throne and she does not agree with their decisions, as well as show her will and perserverence to the people of the kingdom, neither an easy task for Elizabeth.
I am not typically the first one to pick up a historical novel, especially if it is not one of American history, however I did enjoy The Redheaded Princess. I will complain that, at times, Elizabeth sounded as if she were much older than she actual was, especially when she was professing love at age 8, but I did learn a lot about the time period and the difficult lives royalty actually led.
If someone was coming to Rinaldi's work for the first time, I probably wouldn't recommend The Redheaded Princess as a starting point, but it's definitely worth reading if you've read the author's work previously. It's filled with historical elements and relationships, a combination which many enjoy.
If you're interested in learning more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.