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The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory

The Virgin's Lover (2004)

by Philippa Gregory

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Tudor Court Novels - chronological (7)

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If this is an indication of history, then they were a nasty lot back then. Power hungry. Mean. Self centered. I don't think it's like that today, but then again, maybe I lead a sheltered life.

Robert Dudley turns his back on his wife, because he sees fame and fortune if he can hook up with the Queen. He uses the fact that they were childhood friends to worm his way in. I didn't read "love" in this story anywhere. He was motivated by self interest.

The Queen isn't sure what to do. Does she love him? I don't think so. She never truly trusts him. How could she? Many reviewers state she was unable to make a decision, but she made a clear decision. She knew what she was doing. She knew the end result.

And Amy Dudley? She loved her husband, but she didn't fight for him. She let him plot and scheme and was thrown away like a bit of old rag. But she didn't deserve the treatment she received.

Without giving away the ending, I believe the ending was right for Dudley and the Queen.

Regardless if the historic facts are right or not, I enjoyed the storyline. The characters were not likable, but that seems right for the rotten roles they played. But the writing of such characters was done well, in my opinion.

This wasn't the best of Gregory's books, but it was still a well written book that tells a good, if twisted, story. ( )
  KarenLeeField | Mar 13, 2019 |
Another of Gregory's historical novels surrounding the Tudor court, this time focusing on the enduring historical mystery of why Elizabeth I never married. Today, in a cynical age, many doubt that Elizabeth had died a 'Virgin queen'.
Had she done so the whole course of history may have been very different and she belonged to an age where unmarried women of her status were unheard of. Quite possibly it was due to her very unhappy childhood experiences exposed to the marriages of her own father and the execution of her mother, or possibly she had a fear of child-birth having lost two of her step-mothers as a result of giving birth. Her own sister's marriage was worse than a disaster so who could blame her for steering clear? Or possibly she fell in love during her formative years and had her heart broken beyond repair. Or maybe all of the above.
Gregory weaves a masterful tale suggesting that the relationship she had with her childhood sweetheart Dudley was not as innocent as she would have had people believe.

However, Robert Dudley was a married man. If the rumours are to be believed, this was an irritation to him, as it was an obstacle in his way towards marrying the queen Elizabeth. His wife Amy Dudley died, and many historians see this death as convenient for Dudley, and fishy to say the least. Did Dudley order her death? Did Elizabeth? Did Amy kill herself? Or was it truly an accident? We will never know, although Gregory portrays her own theory.
Gregory certainly paints Elizabeth in an interesting way - indecisive, unpredictable and perhaps rather foolish - not a way that we tend to regard her now. The personal `agony' she suffered as a result of her doomed relationship with Dudley is very well written. I am unsure of the alleged `betrothal' to Dudley and whether that could be considered `binding' in any sense given that Dudley was already married so it would be null and void in the eyes of the church and in law - indeed adulterous and I wonder if this actually did happen?

Amy Dudley is portrayed to be a rather weak and helpless woman - although the full misery of her situation was not one I had fully appreciated, having no home, the endless wandering from house to house and the humiliation of being `put aside' by the man she loved.
Of course, this is a novel of fiction, and not to be taken literally, although the novel bases itself around events that did happen and characters that exist. It’s very easy to empathise with all the characters, including at times - and my surprise - Dudley. ( )
  Jawin | Oct 31, 2018 |
I didn't like the way Gregory portrayed Queen Elizabeth, but this is still a fun, light read. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Another terrific entry in the Tudor series from Philippa Gregory. She hits the level of detail perfectly, and gives the reader a clear idea of what it must be like to become queen at 25. Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, as well as his wife Amy, are at the heart of a fascinating mystery. I must re-watch some of the Elizabeth movies! ( )
  TheBibliophage | Mar 20, 2018 |
I finally made it to the end of this audio book, but I really don't know why I even bothered. The Virgin's Lover was far less engaging than Gregory's White Queen....partly because White Queen covered a more interesting time for the monarchy, but partly because it was at least twice as long as necessary. And while I know it is true that history suggests Queen Elizabeth loved Robert Dudley, I hardly think the pitiful, lovesick woman depicted in this novel could have held the throne for forty-plus years. ( )
  Kim_Sasso | Mar 14, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philippa Gregoryprimary authorall editionscalculated
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.
All the bells in Hertfordshire were ringing for Elizabeth, pounding the peal into her head ... Elizabeth threw open the shutters of Hatfield Palace, flung open the window, wanting to be drowned in the noise, deafened by her own triumph ... Elizabeth laughed out loud at the racket which hammered out the news: poor sick Queen Mary was dead at last, and Princess Elizabeth was the uncontested heir. “Thank God,” she shouted up at the whirling clouds.
Cecil was a great one for lists; their march down the page matched the orderly progression of his thinking.
William Hyde summoned his sister to his office, the room where he transacted the business of his estate ... He was seated behind the great table, which was circular and sectioned with drawers, each bearing a letter of the alphabet. The table could turn on its axis toward the landlord and each drawer had the contracts and rent books of the tenant farmers, filed under the initial letter of their name. Lizzie remarked idly that the drawer marked Z had never been used, and wondered that no one thought to make a table which was missing the X and the Z, since these must be uncommon initial letters in English.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:59 -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 11 descriptions

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