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My Just Desire

Posted on

My Just Desire

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
58435
genre:
Biography

We gave it an A-

She was a terrible speller, but in all other regards, Bess Ralegh — wife of Sir Walter, woman of influence in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, and subject of Beer’s engrossing, well-knit biography — was a pip. Beer, a lecturer at Oxford, brings Bess alive with a brisk-veering-on-cheeky writing style, a sisterly appreciation of the challenges Bess faced protecting her family (what with a death sentence hanging over her husband for 15 years), and a bracingly unworshipful attitude toward the tragic hero Sir Walter. Beer is enthralled by the stuff of everyday Elizabethan life, and balances her erudition with the kind of fondness for the absurdities of socializing humans one expects in a Jane Austen novel, not a history book.

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