The Virgin's Lover

The Virgin's Lover

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author and “queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) comes a riveting and scandalous love triangle between a young woman on the brink of greatness, a young man whose ambition far exceeds his means, and the wife who cannot forgive them.

In the autumn of 1558, church bells across England ring out the joyous news that Elizabeth I is the new queen, yet 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 advisors 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 back 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781508292807
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: 05/28/2019
Series: Plantagenet and Tudor Series , #2004
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 634,679
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Many of her works have been adapted for the screen including The Other Boleyn Girl. Her most recent novel, The Last Tudor, is now in production for a television series. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds honorary degrees from Teesside University and the University of Sussex. She is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff and was awarded the 2016 Harrogate Festival Award for Contribution to Historical Fiction. She is an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. She founded Gardens for the Gambia, a charity to dig wells in poor rural schools in The Gambia, and has provided nearly 200 wells. She welcomes visitors to her website

Malcolm Graeme has appeared on and off Broadway in Aida, The King and I, Lincoln Center's Hapgood, and M. Butterfly (National Tour). His television appearances include Law & Order, Follow the River, and Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson (with Laurence Olivier). Film credits include A Further Gesture, The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, and Reunion.


Yorkshire, England

Date of Birth:

January 9, 1954

Place of Birth:

Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa


B.A. in history, Sussex University, 1982; Ph.D., 18th-century popular fiction, Edinburgh, 1984

Read an Excerpt

Autumn 1558

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. She pulled the pillow over her head to shut out the sound, and yet still it went on, until the rooks abandoned their nests and went streaming into the skies, tossing and turning in the wind like a banner of ill omen, and the bats left the belfry like a plume of black smoke as if to say that the world was upside down now, and day should be forever night.

Amy did not need to ask what the racket was for; she already knew. At last, poor sick Queen Mary had died, and Princess Elizabeth was the uncontested heir. Praise be. Everyone in England should rejoice. The Protestant princess had come to the throne and would be England's queen. All over the country people would be ringing bells for joy, striking kegs of ale, dancing in the streets, and throwing open prison doors. The English had their Elizabeth at last, and the fear-filled days of Mary Tudor could be forgotten. Everyone in England was celebrating.

Everyone but Amy.

The peals, pounding Amy into wakefulness, did not bring her to joy. Amy, alone in all of England, could not celebrate Elizabeth's upward leap to the throne. The chimes did not even sound on key, they sounded like the beat of jealousy, the scream of rage, the sobbing shout of a deserted woman.

"God strike her dead," she swore into her pillow as her head rang with the pound of Elizabeth's bells. "God strike her down in her youth and her pride and her beauty. God blast her looks, and thin her hair, and rot her teeth, and let her die lonely and alone. Deserted, like me."

Amy had no word from her absent husband: she did not expect one. Another day went by and then it was a week. Amy guessed that he would have ridden at breakneck pace to Hatfield Palace from London at the first news that Queen Mary was dead. He would have been the first, as he had planned, the very first to kneel before the princess and tell her she was queen.

Amy guessed that Elizabeth would already have a speech prepared, some practiced pose to strike, and for his part Robert would already have his reward in mind. Perhaps even now he was celebrating his own rise to greatness as the princess celebrated hers. Amy, walking down to the river to fetch in the cows for milking because the lad was sick and they were shorthanded at Stanfield Hall, her family's farm, stopped to stare at the brown leaves unraveling from an oak tree and whirling like a snowstorm, southwest to Hatfield where her husband had blown, like the wind itself, to Elizabeth.

She knew that she should be glad that a queen had come to the throne who would favor him. She knew she should be glad for her family, whose wealth and position would rise with Robert's. She knew that she should be glad to be Lady Dudley once more: restored to her lands, given a place at court, perhaps even made a countess.

But she was not. She would rather have had him at her side as an attainted traitor, with her in the drudgery of the day and in the warm silence of the night; anything rather than than ennobled as the handsome favorite at another woman's court. She knew from this that she was a jealous wife; and jealousy was a sin in the eyes of God.

She put her head down and trudged on to the meadows where the cows grazed on the thin grass, churning up sepia earth and flints beneath their clumsy hooves.

How could we end up like this? she whispered to the stormy sky piling up a brooding castle of clouds over Norfolk. Since I love him so much, and since he loves me? Since there is no one for us but each other? How could he leave me to struggle here, and dash off to her? How could it start so well, in such wealth and glory as it did, and end in hardship and loneliness like this?

Copyright © 2004 by Philippa Gregory Limited

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide
1. Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley were childhood playmates and also have in common the experience of being accused of treason and locked in the tower. How does Dudley use this shared history to influence Elizabeth? Is he successful?
2. What is your opinion of Amy? She says about Dudley, "In his heart I know that he is still the young man that I fell in love with who wanted nothing more than some good pasture land to breed beautiful horses" (105). Has Amy completely misjudged her husband, particularly how ambitious a man he is?
3. Elizabeth appoints Dudley Master of the Horse and later awards him the Order of the Garter. Why doesn't she appoint him to a position of political power, such as a member of the Privy Council? Dudley and William Cecil each want to be the more favored advisor to the queen. How does each man go about trying to accomplish this? Would you say they are rivals?
4. In many ways the politics of the court is like a dangerous game, fueled by rampant corruption and scheming families angling for wealth and favors from the queen. Cite some examples that illustrate this, including the people who are closest to Elizabeth.
5. It is Cecil's "deep-rooted belief that the intelligence of a woman, even one as formidably educated as [Elizabeth], could not carry the burden of too much information, and the temperament of a woman, especially this one, was not strong enough to take decisions" (93). Is Cecil underestimating Elizabeth? Discuss the way the men of the court and the Privy Council view women in general and Elizabeth, as the monarch, in particular.
6. Elizabeth, believing she is being pursued by an assassin, runs to the Diary House at Kew to seek safety with Dudley. How does this encounter mark a turning point in their relationship?
7. Dudley remarks to Cecil about the Earl of Arran, "If it's not one damned opportunity seeker, it is another. To what end?" (226). Can the same be said of him? Does he truly care about Elizabeth, or is his courtship of her to satisfy his own ambition?
8. Elizabeth says to Dudley, "I have to play myself like a piece in a chess game....I have to keep the Spanish on our side, I have to frighten the French, I have to persuade Arran to get himself up to Scotland and claim his own, and I have nothing to bring to bear on any of these but my own weight. All I can promise any of them is myself" (228). How does Elizabeth use the marriage game to her advantage as a political maneuver?
9. When Dudley visits Amy at Hayes Court, he finds his wife changed and is at a loss about "how to manage this strange new Amy" (258). How do their conversations — while they are out riding and later in their chamber — show how Amy has changed? If you were in Amy's position, would you have allowed Dudley to walk away from the marriage?
10. Compare Robert's feelings for Elizabeth and Amy. Amy says to her stepmother, "He loved me once, but everyone thought he condescended to the marriage, and it was always true that he thought very highly of himself. But with her it is different. He is a man transformed. She is his lover but still his queen, he admires her as well as desires her....He aspires to love her, whereas I was always an easy love" (279). Is Amy right?
11. When does Elizabeth begin to realize that she cannot marry Dudley and also remain on the throne? Why is there such hostility toward Robert Dudley from the members of the Privy Council and other nobility, as well as from the commoners? Is it justified? In numerous instances Elizabeth says that she cannot live without Robert or rule without him by her side. Why, then, does she ultimately decide giving him up is the right course of action?
12. In reference to Mary of Guise, the regent of Scotland, Cecil says to Elizabeth, "I have no objection in theory to assassination as an act of state. It could be a great saver of life and a guarantee of safety for others" (314). Applying this same logic to Amy, can Cecil justify her death as "a great saver of life and a guarantee of safety for others"? Do you think Elizabeth knew Cecil was referring to Amy when he told her that if he carried out his plan to prevent her from marrying Dudley, one person would die?
13. When Elizabeth asks if he is bothered by Amy's death, Dudley replies, "She was my wife of eleven years. Of course I grieve for her" (417). Do you believe Dudley is truly remorseful that Amy is dead, or is it more about the circumstances of her death and what it means for his political ambitions?
14. When Dudley finds his signet ring among Amy's possessions, he knows Elizabeth had a part in what happened. What conclusions does he come to about why Elizabeth might have done this? Ultimately, does Dudley reconcile himself to not being the king of England?
15. The Author's Note reveals several significant pieces of information: 1) Dudley wrote a letter to Elizabeth on his deathbed, which she then had with her when she died, 2) Dudley married Laetitia Knollys, and 3) historical records verify Elizabeth made incriminating remarks to the Spanish ambassador prior to Amy's death. Did finding out these things change your view of any aspects of the story? Do you believe Amy Dudley was murdered?
16. History has remembered Elizabeth as one of England's greatest rulers. What is your opinion of Elizabeth as a monarch, as this book depicts her in the first years of her reign? From what you learned about her in The Virgin's Lover, what characteristics and qualities do you think made her a successful ruler?

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The Virgin's Lover 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 305 reviews.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
First things first. I recommend you read The Queen's Fool before reading this one. It contains a bit background information and a bit of a foundation to carry you over to The Virgin's Lover. It's not necessary but it's nice to have that extra bit of info in the small moments where the book makes a reference to the past. Besides, The Queen's Fool was a good book so why would you not want to read it? :) There's plenty of intrigue and double crossing in here, so if you're really into that this is the book for you. I love that stuff. I love seeing characters you don't like get the axe because they were too careless and got double crossed. It's just so satisfying. Which brings me to this other point. I hate Robert Dudley. Everything about him made me want to grind my teeth, made me want to jump into the book and punch him in the gonads, or made me want to run a lance into him. I just can't stand the guy. He oozes sliminess and his ambition is just way over the top it made you want to roll your eyes and slap him across the head with a sledgehammer. His arrogance made me want to scream. He was all right at first but once you saw past his true colors you just wanted to curl your lip in disgust at the guy. Either I need serious help, or Ms. Gregory just did a wonderful job at character development and creation here. :P I have never hated a character so much until I came across Robert Dudley. Amy (Dudley's wife) made you want to cringe because she was everything you didn't want her to be. She was the epitome of submissive wife. There were moments where she finally grew a backbone (and you had to cheer for her during those times) but you just can't help but pity the poor woman. Of all the characters in the book I sympathized with Amy the most. It was just painful to see her pain and suffering and the way she fawned at Dudley made you want to pity her, but at the same time be quite disgusted with her. She admirable though. She put up with a lot of issues and crap for that time. It's hard to decide how I feel about Elizabeth. She's whiny. She's NEEDY. She's clingy. She nearly made me want to jab something in my eye. However there were moments where I thought "Heeeey..she's not so stupid after all!" so it's very hard to see Elizabeth in a different view than what you usually see (usually as a very strong character who defied the Spanish Armada). So I thought it was difficult to like her in this novel. I was on the fence with her. Overall, I thought it was a good read. There are romantic parts but not that explicit and quickly done and over with. So to me, they were tolerable. No battle scenes here which was unfortunate but wasn't really the main part of the subject anyway (this book rather focuses on Dudley and Elizabeth). The intrigue of court life was here as usual (all of Gregory's novels have it) so that was good to see. I just really enjoyed the character development and creation in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Based on real historical figures, it is an easy read. However, not as well-written as her Boleyn books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
read this book in one day! couldn't put it down. great for a rainy day or if you just want to escape for awhile. i love the tudor dynasty and just love philippa gregory's books and style of writing. its intriguing and sucked me in instantly!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As somebody who really looks up to Elizabeth, I was very disappointed in how she was portrayed in this book. She was one of the greatest monarchs in England and this made her look weak, like she would do anything for a man's love. Elizabeth was a strong woman who went against everyone's wishes and refused to marry. She didn't want anyone to come in and tell her how to run her country. She was badass. I loved all of her other books in her Tudor series but this one was very hard for me to get through.
SouthrnPrincess More than 1 year ago
Ok this is one of my favorite authors, and my favorite genre of reading. Yet this reduced Elizabeth I to a whiney, simpering mess. No one has ever done a worse or more annoying portrayal of her that I know of. I do not recommend unless you look forward to rolling your eyes at every turn of the page.
Nite-ReaderKH More than 1 year ago
Extremely informative about royalty and their interacction with "seers". Also,the long time persecution of the Jewish faith or anyone in conflict with the Church was eye-opening. Well written and well researched.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love historical fictions, yet found this book to be extremely disappointing. I have read other books by Phillipa Gregory which have proved to be quite good, yet The Virgin's Lover was sadly lacking. This book was far too long and drawn out. The story was that of an interesting one, yet due to the manner in which it was written became strangely boring and, frankly, annoying to read. Gregory spends far too much time emphasizing what each and every character thinks during moments of dialog, which results in the dialog becoming tedious to read and also makes the characters seem silly and immature. The story of Elizabeth and her lover should have been very interesting and passion filled, but even the slightest hint of these things was brought down by extreme boringness. I generally read books 'especially ones that I like' in 1-2 days. This book took me a whole week to get through. Unfortunately, the ending was just as boring and terrible as the rest of the book. Nothing really happened. The last page was almost completely pointless. If you are looking for a book with long and great detail, this book is worthy, however if you want great detail with an interesting story, it isn't.
VampyrDrusilla More than 1 year ago
This story is an interesting take on the alleged love affair between Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. I have read many books by Philippa Gregory and I always like her stories. She has a way of making stories about the Tudor period very interesting when if you listen to other historians it sounds dull. The story of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley is an emotional rollercoaster with many twists and turns. Philippa does a great job at painting a picture and in this story, Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley are ruthless, selfish and menacing people. I rarely liked either of them in this story, but a good villan makes for a riveting story. All in all, this story is classic Philippa. It's not as involved or passionate as The Other Boleyn Girl, but that one has no equal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Un hi j no no n
Trinity on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think it was a good book and well written. I think a very important thing to remember when reading this book is that it is fiction. The story is based on people who actually existed but veers off from there. Ms. Gregory did her research (check her sources in the back of the book) and formulated her own version of Elizabeth's life. I didnt like how weak and wishy washy Elizabeth was but the story was very interesting none the less. It pulled me in, I was rooting for Elizabeth and Dudley for part of the book and hating them the next. I even gasped out loud at the ending. Im looking forward to Ms. Gregory's new book.
michdubb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Recounts the supposed affair between a young Elizabeth I and her Master of the Horse, Robert Dudley. Dudley is a master manipulator who is seeking his way to the top. His wife, Amy, dies mysteriously and suspicion falls to him. Another great tale by Phillippa Gregory. Believable and relatable account of a historical tale. The reader really feels that they know these famous characters.
DSLynn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Philippa Gregory always makes our historical characters come alive and this novel is not disappointing. You actually feel part of the young queen's court and see many of her enemies. Truly skillful pro and con listings of available husbands, for Queen Elizabeth, with a unique murder mystery twist involving the young queen's true love interest. Long after the final page, one wonders if young Queen Elizabeth murdered the spouse of her lover?
pdxwoman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are plot spoilers, but if you know the history of Elizabeth and of Lord Dudley, you know the spoilers already...The Virgin's Lover left me cold.Philippa Gregory¿s fictional tale of Lord Robert Dudley¿s relationship with Elizabeth Tudor, The Virgin¿s Lover, overlaps minimally with Gregory¿s The Queen¿s Fool. Hannah, the Fool, thankfully plays no active role in this lackluster book full of unlikeable characters.And phenominally unlikeable they are! Lord Dudley continues to manipulate, plot, and lie his way toward Elizabeth¿s bed and the throne of England. Does he actually love Elizabeth or is she another pawn in a long-line of Dudley family pawns? Most disgraceful is Dudley¿s treatment of his wife, Amy, who does nothing but love him, dote on him, and pine for him.Amy, though, was so unlikeable, I couldn¿t muster and ounce of pity for her. Simpering, self-depreciating, too forgiving of her husband¿s lusts for power and for Elizabeth, Amy Dudley is a two-dimensional caricature of a weak, childish woman too anxiety ridden to be considered devoted. I actually skipped ahead to see how many more pages of her I¿d have to suffer through before she finally died.The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth, is portrayed similarly here as in The Queen¿s Fool. She is sickly, paranoid, so anxious she bites her nails and picks her cuticles until they bleed, and so unable to overcome her baser desires that she can not protect her own throne. After more than 20 years in and out of court, fighting to obtain the throne, you¿d think she would have a minimal idea of how to sit on it. Instead, she requires the guidance of strong and guileful men in order to make and stick to the tiniest decision.For most of the book, the only main character I found appealing was Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth¿s Secretary of State. Cecil was intelligent, kind to the Queen despite how she exasperated him, and looked first to the good of England. In the last quarter of the book, though, he set in motion something unforgivable. Granted, his thoughts were always to keeping Elizabeth on the throne in order to protect England, but he went too far and lost all the respect Gregory had endowed him with.The only likable character in the entire book was Amy¿s companion, Lizzie Oddingsell, who was a true friend. She protected Amy from rumor and scandal, defended her reputation against gossips, fretted over her health, stood up to the head of her own house when he wanted Amy to leave, found Amy new accommodations when no one wanted her, and was honestly and heartily distressed at her death. Lizzie, though, was a minor character, hardly seen on 30 pages.Lack of likable characters in not this book¿s only fault. As was The Queen¿s Fool, The Virgin¿s Lover is repetitive. Page after page, Elizabeth changes her mind again and again; page after page, Amy longs desperately for the love of her husband; page after page, Elizabeth can¿t live without Dudley; page after page, after page, after page. There are entire paragraphs of dialog that seem to be re-wordings of paragraphs that were re-wordings of yet other paragraphs.More importantly, the writing style lacks depth and nuance. There is no rising and falling action with The Virgin¿s Lover, no climax, and the end comes abruptly. I looked closely to see if pages had been torn out of my copy; they had not. I can¿t say I was disappointed about it.Two Stars: Read if DESPERATE
barraclough on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I Just started it but so far I like it. In the style of the Queens' Fool.
Lizziebee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read most of Philippa's other books and I found this one very hard to get into. Out of all the stories I liked Amy Dudleys the best.
cindyloumn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time getting into this book. Finally did. It's about Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. Their romance and his wanting to be king. He was married, and it tells her story, Eliz's and Amy, his wife, who is killed towards the end of the book Ruining his reputation, as it's thought he killed her.6/26/05
lindymc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel begins with Elizabeth gaining the throne, and deals with her relationship with Robert Dudley. I find it interesting that in The Queen's Fool, Dudley was a very likeable character, and his wife Amy is portrayed as so weak as to be a near cypher. In Virgin's Lover, we Dudley's arrogance and ruthless ambition; he's manipulative, selfish. And Amy, though weak, is a sympathetic character. Although Elizabeth proved to be a strong and capable ruler, historically, in this book we do not see that strong woman. These early years of her reign were a time of turmoil as the noblemen jockeyed for positions of influence.I wish I had more a definitive answer regarding Amy's murder.
pzmiller on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable story of the early years of Queen Elizabeth I's reign.
blondestranger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enticing book that captures the youth of Queen Elizabeth Tudor and her coming of age struggle with learning how to be a "Woman-King". You don't have a strong sympathy or connection with Elizabeth until the end of the book. Also, even though history tells us she remains a "Virgin" Queen, you still kind of wish she could have her cake and eat it too.
jacketscoversread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Philippa Gregory is unable to reach the success of The Other Boleyn Girl with The Virgin¿s Lover. While I still enjoyed the The Virgin¿s Lover I was far from impressed because I know what Gregory is capable of producing.The writing was still beautiful, as always, but the story line, though taken from history and elaborated upon, was lacking. This time the story was not told from one person¿s perspective, but several. I think it gave the story less dimension because you found yourself unable to figure out who you wanted to root for and she usually has such engaging, sympathetic characters that you get attached to them almost immediately like Mary Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl.The ending was a bit sudden, so much that I thought I had at least twenty more pages to go and next thing I know I¿m reading that author¿s note. And I¿m still scratching my head over the ending.The body of the novel was good. A little jumpy in the beginning but it begins to smooth itself out.I loved seeing a different side of Elizabeth. We are usually presented with her as a tough-as-nails queen, unwavering and unyielding. Here she is shown as an outcast at first, ruthless in her rise to power, blinded by love/lust, and manipulative as she grows into her place as a queen.
qarae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As always, Philippa Gregory's writing is fabulous. What I typically love about her books is that she takes on a different perspective from what we've all learned in the history books (and Hollywood). However, the subject of Elizabeth and Dudely has been done so many times that I actually surprised that Philippa decided to do it as well.
bachaney on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my first Philippa Gregory book. It was a very enjoyable read, and I especially liked how she integrated historical events into the narrative. If you enjoy Elizabethan era history and movies like "Shakespeare in Love" you will enjoy this book.
LaBibliophille on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Virgin¿s Lover is another historical novel by the popular British writer Philippa Gregory. Gregory has very obviously done a tremendous amount of research on British history in general, and the Tudors in particular. The Virgin¿s Lover tells the story of the early years of the reign of England¿s Elizabeth I.Elizabeth was only 25 when she ascended to the throne. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She succeeded her older half-sister Mary I, the daughter of King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. Mary died at the age of 45, leaving no heirs. For a time during Mary¿s reign, Elizabeth had been imprisoned in the Tower of London. There were, of course, a number of other candidates with claims to the throne but, shortly before her death, Mary recognized Elizabeth as her heir. Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on January 15, 1559.Matters at the Court were not easy, particularly for a young and inexperienced Queen. Elizabeth relied heavily on her advisers, particularly William Cecil. These are the generally accepted facts. From this point on, Gregory takes the story into the realm of fiction. She presumes that Elizabeth falls in love with the married Robert Dudley (later named Earl of Leicester) and begins a passionate affair with him. This book follows the trajectory of their affair and its consequences.Elizabeth, of course, never married (hence the sobriquet ¿Virgin Queen¿) but, for much of her reign, she entertained various royal suitors. Most of these proposed matches were considered for political purposes. In The Virgin¿s Lover, Elizabeth negotiated with emissaries from King Philip II of Spain (the widower of her late sister) as well as from the Hapsburg Archduke Charles of Austria.This book doesn¿t grab your attention like The Other Boleyn Girl. It took me a while to get into the story. For me the interest was more about life in sixteenth-century England. However, as more of the back story was revealed, and as the machinations of the Tudor court were depicted, I got more interested in the story. So, if you don¿t care for this book at first, it is worth reading a bit further on.
susanpenter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, it is my favourite of Gregory's Tudor series that I have read do far, I find the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert believable bearing in mind the Royal upbringing and the regular infatuations her father went through.
TonyaSB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have long been interested in the Tudors. Actually, one of my fascinations has been Jane Grey (not a Tudor but close enough). I saw Lady Jane when I was in high school and it has been one of my favorite movies since. I know an awful lot of useless things and one of them is the life of Jane Grey. She was a tragic figure. I read a wonderful book of historical fiction on her life about a year or so ago called Innocent Traitor, by Alison Weir.Anyway, The Virgin's Lover is another book of historical fiction about the romance between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley (not coincidentally, the brother of Jane Grey's husband, their father was terribly ambitious). I really enjoyed this book. I was constantly on the edge of my seat as if I didn't already know what was going to happen! The only criticism I have is that I really didn't like Queen Elizabeth in this book. I've always thought of her as a strong woman who did not need to lean on men to rule. She was painted very differently in this book; fairly weak. Although, she stood up for herself in the end, throughout the book I kept thinking: "Why are you so weak and stupid?"