"No historian's Queen Elizabeth was ever so perfectly a woman as the fictitious Elizabeth of Kenilworth," wrote Thomas Hardy. Scott's magnificent novel re-creates the drama and the strange mixture of assurance and profound unease of the Age of Elizabeth through the story of Amy Robsart. A woman of great beauty and integrity, Amy is married to the Earl of Leicester, one of the Queen's favorites, who must keep Amy confined to Cumnor Place and the marriage a secret, or incur royal displeasure.
Rich in character, melodrama and romance, Kenilworth (1821) is rivaled only by the great Elizabethan dramas. Scott amply justified V. S. Pritchett's accolade: "the single Shakespearean talent of the English novel."