Awarded three stars on Goodreads. A thoroughly researched and well-documented biography of Bess of Hardwick, a woman WAY ahead of her time. Through four marriages, Bess managed to build a legacy of considerable wealth and property for her descendants, many of whom still occupy prominent places in the British aristocracy. Her lifelong friendship with Queen Elizabeth I and her involvement in royal politics made Bess a powerful figure for her time. She is also remembered as one of the great builders of sumptuous manor houses, like Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth. Not to mention her role, along with her fourth husband, as chief jailer to Mary Queen of Scots. Or the fact that she was grandmother to Arabella Stuart. However, while Bess was fascinating, this book is not. Despite my interest in Bess, my passion for Tudor England, and the drama inherent in the stories of this era — I found much of the book tedious to read. In fact, I admit I began to skim. Simply too many excerpts from source material providing too much detail that did not advance the story of this remarkable woman. More about Mary S. Lovell who has written many other biographies.