Much has already been written about Elizabeth I, and I think a book on those around her was long overdue. Susan Doran has taken up writing about those in her circle even from her earliest years.
The book is divided into three parts, Kin, Courtiers and Councillors. I was most interested in Kin, as many of her Boleyn relatives (through her aunt Mary) lived with her at court. Special attention is also paid to her relatives through Mary Tudor, and of course, the one feared the most Mary, Queen of Scots and her son. I really liked the parts about Mary and Katherine Grey.
The Courtiers spends a good amount of time on Robert Dudley, Christopher Hatton and Robert Devereaux but surprisingly (for me anyway!) also on the women who served Elizabeth and who balanced between being loved and being envied/hated by the Queen.
Lastly, the Councillors are naturally Sir William Cecil, Francis Walsingham and Robert Cecil, for me the least interesting part but still, a must have addition in a book like this.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Elizabeth’s circle and not just Elizabeth for a change. She shines through in her treatment of those around her, whether good or bad. I would highly recommend this book! (US & UK)