It's taken awhile because I've developed the bad habit of reading several books at once: but I've finished Alison Weir's Life of Elizabeth.
If you're at all into Tudor history, this is the book to read. Weir has this amazing gift of really bringing the nitty-gritty of the period to life. While the major events of Elizabeth's remarkable reign get the full "History Book" treatment, the narrative is interspersed with bits about the clothes, architecture, recreation, and other everyday things that make the period seem fresh and relevant.
I honestly don't read book reviews very often, so I'm not sure why I'm writing one, other than to say "I liked it." However, what stuck with me most (aside from the fact that I would love to go back in time and visit with this iconic lady) is what fertile ground the Tudor period is for gaming (everything always comes back to gaming with me).
The best RPG set during this period would focus on espionage, I think, as Elizabeth had one of the first truly modern secret service type agencies. Read all about it and tell me that wouldn't be a fun campaign!
Finally, I saw some guy called Manuel posted this at Good Reads, and I thought it summed up Elizabeth's life rather nicely.
"Talk about having a disfunctional family.
Your Dad marries your Mom when he's still technically married to his first wife. No matter; your Dad is the King of England.
Your Dad gets bored with your Mom and she looses her head (literally). You then go from princess to bastard and get sent away until your Dad likes you again.
Your Dad remarries, and yet again a few more times. You cant help feeling a little insecure in such an unstable enviroment. You grow up loved and then hated then loved again.
Your younger brother becomes King and he has a few ideas of his own about how you are supposed to pray to God. Your elder sister gets her turn being Queen and she isnt too keen on you or your religion either.
Finally at last you get your turn at the helm and much to everyone's surprise and joy, you actually do a pretty good job. Just watch out for all those suitors asking for your hand or that nasty Spanish Armada coming your direction and how about that pesky Scotish Catholic Queen and cousin. She came for a visit and stayed twenty years, bad-mouthing you the entire time.
Such is the exciting life of Elizabeth Tudor; Queen of England for 43 years."