In this U.K. bestseller, Lady Arbella Stuart emerges as a most contemporary royal, a young woman determined to shape her own destiny in the midst of her plot-ridden world.
Arbella was niece to Mary Queen of Scots and cousin to Elizabeth I -- who indicated that the teenage Arbella was to be heir to her throne. A critical pawn in the struggle for succession, particularly during the long, tense period when Elizabeth lay dying, the young Arbella endured twenty-seven years of isolation at the grand Hardwick Hall, held by her scheming and powerful grandmother.
The accession of James I, Arbella's first cousin, ended the young woman's royal aspirations but thrust her into James's licentious court. Then, at age thirty-five, she risked everything to make a forbidden marriage. An escape in disguise, a wild flight abroad, and capture at sea led in the end to an agonizing death in the Tower. Yet nothing is as remarkable as the almost modern freedom with which, in a series of extraordinary letters -- more passionate and extensive than those of any other woman of this suffocating age -- Arbella Stuart revealed her own compelling personality.