PositiveHistorical Novel SocietyBoth a biography of an exceptional woman and an account of the architectural explosion of elaborate houses built by the Elizabethan aristocracy to demonstrate their status and wealth ... Hubbard’s account of Bess’s life is intelligent and enjoyable. She uses a range of primary sources – letters, wills and household accounts to bring Bess, her family and retainers to life. This is not only a biography of a forceful and determined woman, however. The accounts of Bess’s extensive building works at Chatsworth, Hardwick and others are used as a jumping-off point for Hubbard to explore architecture at this time and its meaning within the social and political world of Elizabethan England. An enjoyable and interesting read.