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The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
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The Virgin's Lover (2004)

by Philippa Gregory

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Tudor Court Novels - chronological (6)

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Read during Winter 2006/2007

I picked this off my BookCrossing Meetup pile after watching the very unsatisfying The Virgin Queen on Masterpiece Theatre. It was an enjoyable read but I think any adaption of the Queen Elizabeth/Robert Dudley love affair runs into problems. I also read a verison by Victoria Holt a few years ago, I believe it was written from the point of view of Lettice Knolly, and also found some of the same problems. I think the relationship is highly tempting to a writer but there seems to be too little information to really get the story to sing. Here, Gregory paints Elizabeth as generally weak and tending to hysteria and Dudley as a practiced seducer, ruled by his intense ambitions. For both of these characterizations to work, the love affair is hard to understand. Elizabeth falls so deeply in love with Robert that she almost wastes away when forced to throw him off but, later, asks Cecil to make her free of marrying him without destroying their love. It's hard to see how these events are both possible. Robert is often deeply calculating yet always professes that he loves Elizabeth and it is not just his ambition. The build up to and the love affair are fairly well done but then it does meander into the deeply problematical issue of the death of Amy Dudley. Gregory comes down on murder by Elizabeth and/or Cecil's agents but that rubs hard against the previous love affair. At the end, I began to think that if Cecil and Dudley could just agree to wisely advise Elizabeth, instead of vying for power and distrusting each other, things might have been very different.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
This was just okay for me. I didn't really like any of the characters. Especially Dudley's wife, Amy. She irritated me so badly that I caught myself thinking that I would cheat on the crying little wimp too. Dudley was a jerk and Elizabeth wasn't really much better. I know this is historical fiction and you have to work with what you have, but surely there was some sort of redeeming quality to these people. ( )
1 vote JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
If you are a squeeing fan of Queen Elizabeth, this is not a happy read. Good hypothesis of what the mood would be at the court of the female head of a patriarchal state.
  annmariegamble | Mar 31, 2013 |
I liked it but I didn't like how she described Elizabeth. Like she couldn't make her own desicions but needed a man to make them for her. But overall good book. ( )
  Elysianfield | Mar 31, 2013 |
This book is a Historical fiction of Queen Elizabeth I and her lover. I find that in historical fictions the names of the people get in the way. I think that this is the case with this book the beginning of this book dragged a bit while everyone was being introduced. The ending was good however and worth the read.
This audio book was from a free bin at a local book store ( )
  sallyawolf | Feb 25, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philippa Gregoryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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All the bells in Norfolk were ringing for Elizabeth, pounding the peal into Amy's head, first the treble bell screaming out like a mad woman, and then the whole agonizing, jangling sob till the great bell boomed a warning that the whole discordant carillon was about to shriek out again.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743269268, Paperback)

The National Bestseller

In the autumn of 1558, church bells across England ring out the joyous news that Elizabeth I is the new queen. One woman hears the tidings with utter dread. She is Amy Dudley, wife of Sir Robert, and she knows that Elizabeth's ambitious leap to the throne will draw her husband back to the center of the glamorous Tudor court, where he was born to be.

Elizabeth's excited triumph is short-lived. She has inherited a bankrupt country where treason is rampant and foreign war a certainty. Her faithful advisor William Cecil warns her that she will survive only if she marries a strong prince to govern the rebellious country, but the one man Elizabeth desires is her childhood friend, the ambitious Robert Dudley. As the young couple falls in love, a question hangs in the air: can he really set aside his wife and marry the queen? When Amy is found dead, Elizabeth and Dudley are suddenly plunged into a struggle for survival.

Philippa Gregory's The Virgin's Lover answers the question about an unsolved crime that has fascinated detectives and historians for centuries. Intelligent, romantic, and compelling, The Virgin's Lover presents a young woman on the brink of greatness, a young man whose ambition exceeds his means, and the wife who cannot forgive them.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:26 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A fictional portrait of the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I follows the young queen as she copes with intrigues aimed at placing Mary, Queen of Scots, on the British throne, and her passion for the traitorous Robert Dudley.

» see all 5 descriptions

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