I've always heard good things about Gregory's books. This was my 1st one and I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. It was not a bad story, per se, but not the great story that I was expecting.
I was disappointed in the way Queen Elizabeth was portrayed. Gregory shows Elizabeth as an almost weak-willed, indecisive woman ruled by her love of a person she knows she can not not have. She can not make a firm decision about war with France. She's left scandal about her and Dudley to run amok, let her attention stray from matters of state and her safety, since early in her reign it was anything but secure, all for her love of Dudley.. except when Dudley is ready to be her King and not King-Consort, as Phillip was for Queen Mary. And then she was ready to scheme with Cecil to remove him as a love interest and remove any hope Dudley has of becoming her husband and King of England. The switch was too sudden for my taste. In a night's time, she is gone from not being able to function without Dudley to being able to put him aside.
Also, from the jacket cover, the story outline leads you to believe this book is about the issue of Amy's death and the impact it had on the Queen and her court, especially Dudley. This is not even really touched on. Amy didn't die until almost at the very end of the book (her death was on page 410 of about 438 pages of actual story material). The scandal of her death and Elizabeth and Cecil's seemingly forehand knowledge is barely mentioned. As a book that takes place during a period of history that I find very fascinating, I have to say it was not nearly as good as I would have hoped and didn't really explore the aftermath of the scandal in the depth I thought it would.
A very different picture of Amy Dudley than was in the Queen's Fool. Also a very different picture of Queen Elizabeth than most biographies would show. Even so, this was a very enjoyable read and follows right along with Ms. Gregory's historical novels.
I probably should've read the "prequel", The Queen's Fool, prior to reading this since there were lots of references made. I couldn't really get into this book because quite frankly, the two main women, Elizabeth and Amy Dudley, annoyed me to no end. The book started to read as a broken record esp. with Elizabeth's dialog. Started to pick up at the end, though, as we read more into foreign policy and negotiation (well, I find that stuff interesting). The historic note at the end is really thought provoking.
Well, I think this book was a bit over hyped and a let down to Philippa Gregory's prior works. Any fan of the Tutor age will love this book. The writing is sharp, clever and is written so colorfully that you really do have an idea of how people were back then. An enjoyable read full of lust, deception and plotting (not unlike our modern day politics). Go ahead and try it!
While I loved The Other Boleyn Girl, and enjoyed The Queens Fool, this book was a bit of a disappointment. While I still enjoy the way Gregory makes historical figures real, I was very disappointed with her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in this book. Instead of the strong Queen, after which an entire era was named, we have a whiny, insecure, indecisive ninny. This I took great exception to. Although I am willing to accept a great deal of leeway in fiction, this seemed over the top to me. I did enjoy the rationalization of the crime, distasteful as it may be, but for the most part found the depiction of women in this book to be rather misogynistic. Not one of her better efforts.
None of Gregory's books measure up to The Other Boleyn Girl. It took me a long time to finish this book and the only reason I did was because I knew a bit about Dudley's wife's death and I wanted to see how Gregory spun that. The aftermath of the death though is far more interesting than what came before it in Gregory's story however, and I fear that Gregory was trying to get two books out of what should have been one--and probably would have been as compelling as the Other Boleyn Girl if she written it all as one story. Apparently, Gregory is now in the same class as King and Gaboldon--no one has balls enough to actually edit them.
While I always enjoy a book set int eh Elizabethan period, I think I'm one of the few who found this book horrid. I had never thought that anyone would portray Queen Elizabeth as a weak, sniveling woman who can't function without her lover by her side.
As always, Philippa Gregory does an oustanding job of showing strengths and weaknesses of the historical characters that, heretofore, one has not seen. I love that she does such a thorough job of researching the individuals, and yet, is able to approach the stories in such a novel light.
This is my first Phillipa Gregory novel and I enjoyed it. She interwines history, suspense, romance, and politics very well. I would recommend this book but I think the blurb at the back of the book is deceiving. It says "When Amy is found dead, Elizabeth and Dudley are suddenly plunged into a struggle for survival." Amy's death happens very late in the book, perhaps with less than 100 pages to go so the conflict between Dudley and Queen Elizabeth ends quite swiftly.
Another excellent Philippa gregory of life in the royal court, this time Elizabeth I. A good story involving Robert Dudley and the death of his wife, Amy. After years of reading only bios of historical figures, Phillipa Gregory has converted me to a fan of historical fiction.
This is my sixth Gregory novel. It was probably my least favorite to date. It was hard to like the characters. Dudley, while likeable in The Queen's Fool, was not so endearing in this book. Elizabeth came across as a weak and selfish woman. William Cecil was a likeable character. Overall, I finished it and I'll throw out a book in the first few chapters if I don't like it. Gregory is a remarkable writer.
This is one of Gregory's better ones. I'm fascinated by the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert Dudley and she did a wonderful job with this historical fiction set in the English Tudor era. The writing isn't as repetitious as her other books, such as The Queen's Fool.
Of the books I've read in the series so far, this is my least favorite. It is more of a romance than a history, but it is good to read if you want to round out the series. Elizabeth, of course, is awe-inspiring. To read the series in chronological order, read as follows: TCP, TOBG, TBI, TQF, TVL, and TOQ (The Other Queen will be available in September, 2008).
This book, all the Boelyn series from this author, were amazing books. This author takes you smack dab into the middle of the Queen's court. The intrique, the players, the treason......the scandal. I can't get enough.
Another good P. Gregory book. The story revolved around Robert Dudley (same character from The Queen's Fool) and his love affair with Queen Elizabeth. I found Elizabeth to be more whimpy then I expected. Besot over Dudley, she seemed not to be the woman that we saw glimpses of in the other P. Gregory books leading up to this one. But P. Gregory did great with Amy's character, she made you want Amy, Dudley's wife, to triumph.
This is my second Gregory and while this one is not as good as The Other Boleyn Girl, it is still very good. It covers a lot more of the political side than TOBG does, so if you are interested in that aspect, you will enjoy this. The story is intriguing and the last 200 pages or so are very gripping. The characterization of the three main characters leaves a little to be desired though. This is defintely one of those that you would have to read for youself to judge for yourself. I can't really say that you will either love it or hate it, but it will definitely make you think.
Having read Tudor history since I was in Jr Hi school (a long time ago), I simply can't believe Elizabeth was ever this whimpy. Yes, she loved Robert and yes, she wanted to marry him, but she didn't survive to 25 years old and become queen without being able to fend for herself. She was also not as dependent upon Robert for knowledge of court life as the book implies. She had been at court most of her life, off and on. Royal children had their own households but were at court for the great festivals then went home again when the King went on progress.
She did have trouble coming to a decision when all of the options were bad, but sometimes her ploy of changing her mind after the order was sent out was to make somebody else take the blame. Not very nice, but "nice" wasn't a quality she needed to survive the many hazards of her life.
I have enjoyed several other books in this series by Philippa Gregory, but skip this one.
Philippa Gregory is a master at historical fiction from the Henry XIII era. The Virgin's Lover is not quite as good as the Other Boleyn Girl, but is worth the read. I recommend you read the Other Boleyn before the movie comes out this summer!
It's 1558, and Elizabeth, daughter to King Henry VIII and 2nd wife Anne Boleyn, has just been crowned Queen of England. After the brief but strict reign of her Catholic half-sister Mary, what is England to expect from the Protestant Princess who wants to abolish the Catholic ways? In a country full of turmoil, Sir Robert Dudley, longtime friend of Elizabeth since their days growing up at court together, seeks to better his position and maneuver himself into a position of power at Elizabeth's side.
But what of his wife: the forgotten Amy Dudley who doesn't come to court but instead remains back home in the country, forever waiting for her husband to put aside his ambitions and return home to her, for the love of a good woman. Unfortunately, the only love Dudley's seeking is the Queen's. But to what lengths will he go to achieve his means?
This was another great read in the Tudor series! Though the work itself is considered fiction, the author bases the stories themselves on fact. Of course, we cannot truly know everything that went through the minds of Elizabeth, Robert, William Cecil, and the others as not as much was recorded in the way of diaries and actual day-to-day events. But despite that, Ms. Gregory is able to take the facts from numerous sources and build a very real feeling story that draws you right in and makes you feel as if you were right there in the Renaissance period, experiencing everything firsthand along with the rest of the court. It's as if she's reconstructed history right before your very eyes!
I was never much for History in school; it was always one of my worst subjects and I could never garner enough interest to retain the facts that were constantly drilled into my head. However, the way these stories are composed by Ms. Gregory, I enjoy them so much that I actually find myself easily retaining all the information I so easily forgot before, even long after I finished the book. My high school history professor would be so proud! LOL
I enjoyed this book as I have all of Philippa Gregory's books. I know Elizabeth became queen at a very young age, but I have a hard time reconciling the the dithering lovesick fool of this book with the woman who ruled as long as she did and brought a country into prosperity from the brink of bankruptcy. I also think that she could be impulsive enough to promise marriage to Dudley in such an irrevokable way on a whim, but to allow him to order her around seems odd. I am ready to read something of the transformation to her adult power. Cecil could save her from folly only so long.
I agree with the reviewer who was mystified at the portrayal of Elizabeth as a "weak, sniveling woman who can't function without her lover by her side." The first 3/4 of the book reads like a Harlequin romance/bodice ripper - lots of heaving bosoms, breathy sighs, forbidden caresses, and meaningful looks. Elizabeth wants/desires/must have Robert Dudley and no one else - despite the dangers to her and her country - and he's in love with having a shot at becoming King...we get it. I did love the ending, though - a fun and unexpected surprise. Unlike The Other Boleyn Girl and, in particular, The Boleyn Inheritance, this was somewhat boring and not really that well-written.
THis book was amazing. I am obsessed with all things that involve life in the Tudor courts. Gregory is able to make a villainous powerhungary social climber into someone I can actually sympathize with.
This is a semi-engaging, beach read-y type novel. After reading "The Constant Princess" and "The White Queen", which are amazing (!), I expected this one, featuring the Great Elizabeth I, to be extra-ordinary as well, maybe more so than her other novels, but it wasn't as "deep" or intriguing. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it isn't her best. I do have to credit this book with getting me interested in Elizabethen England and I do reccommend reading it, but just don't expect the magic and "girl power" feel of some of her other books.
Excellently written period piece. This book is about queen Elizabeth I of England and her love affair with Robert Dudley.
If you have never read a book written by Philippa Gregory, you must if you enjoy stories based on history. The author magically weaves a tale of the reign of Elizabeth I and the relationship that forms between her and a man she comes to love and trust dearly. The problem is that he is not "proper" marriage material for a queen, according to her advisors. On top of that, Robert Dudley has his own motivations for loving Elizabeth. You will experience the ups and downs of some of the issues she dealt with during her reign as queen.
I suppose that I read this book with great bias because I love history, and I love any story dealing with Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley. I could not put this book down. Philippa Gregory's story is well researched and paints a very colorful picture of life in the court of the young Queen and her struggle to gather respect and maintain power. I absolutely loved it! Genny
An intriguing read on the scandal of the Virgin Queen and her lover Robert Dudley. Philippa Gregory takes you into the minds of those closest to the scandal, Queen Elizabeth, Robert Dudley, Amy Dudley (Roberts wife), and William Cecil (Elizabeths confidant and counsel) and gives an inside look into the life behind Elizabeths curtain. A remarkable work of historical fiction.
I enjoyed The Queen's Fool (precedent to The Virgin's Lover) very much so thought that this would read in a similar manner. It didn't. I found the back and forth between Dudley and wife Amy to get old fast. And Elizabeth came across as mostly a kitty in his hand. The characters between the two books felt like different people with not much follow through in character development. Another friend read it and felt the same way but said to give The Other Boleyn Girl a try.
I actually loved this book so much that I'm going to need to get the printed copy to keep on my bookshelf to refer back to. Of Philippa Gregory's Books, I loved "The Boleyn Inheritance" the most, but this was close. It makes you want to learn everything possible about this period of history and about the fascinating people in it.
As my yearly renaissance festival rolls closer I decided to embroil myself for a little bit into the time period by reading The Virgins Lover by Phillipa Gregory. I have been a big fan of her stories, and am always happy to read a tale as told by her. I was however a little disappointed in this book. The same enamoring story just was not there for me with The Virgins Lover.
The prose itself was not the problem for as far as writing style it is the same style I have come to appreciate with Phillipa Gregory, but the story itself was lacking. Listening to Amy whine was just one of the barbs that annoyed me beyond measure. Now I can understand her pain, and believe me I do. But when one married a man in such a time you had to expect some of the things that would be happening. Her husband was almost killed, she should have been happy he was not. Though on the flip side, he should have been a better husband without a doubt.
The story of Robert Dudley and Elizabeth is not a new one, but I had hoped for some excitement from one of my favorite historical authors. But I was a bit disappointed. The Virgins Lover was to me the same rehashing of one of the best known assumed romances. It was a dragging read for me. So as much as I love Phillipa to me this is one to skip. But it won't stop me from continuing to read her works. They can't all be winners after all.
Not my favorite of the historical series, it appeared to have lost the intrigue and drama associated with the other books. To me the 400+ pages dragged somewhat and really nothing happened. That being said, I read it and will read the next in the series because I enjoy them, but this one was definitely lacking.
The Virgin's Love has a much darker tone than the rest of Gregory's work, but still has the same story elements -- good historical research, political intrigue, lively characters -- that make her novels so enjoyable. In fact, the dark tone is half the pleasure here... every character is pretty despicable and willing to do terrible things for personal and political gain. By the end, the reader is left asking themselves, "How far will they go!?"
continues to expand the understanding of British history.
some character's uni-dimensional, and I read several books along with wading through the chapters.
Gregory is somewhat redundant in her descriptions of court activities, however, she has her research done and is a fairly good writer.
This historical novel is my favorite by Gregory because, as a historian, I resent the absence of political/military history in many of her historical novels. I read them all anyway, they're my guilty pleasure, but I felt no guilt when reading this book.
Wonderful, rich, experience at court and of love between a man and a woman who were limited by her position and his ambition. The drama was breath taking, and scary. Sad too the life of Amy, wife of Robert Dudley, who was cast aside for his love of Elizabeth, and then her death to limit his climb to power. Loved it!
Another great historical novel by Philippa Gregory. This one is about the first three years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. It is interesting to see all the diplomacy and court intrigue that was going on to form the early English empire. A must read, if you like history! ASC
Fast easy read. Enjoyable but not up to par with The Other Boleyn Girl. If you enjoy the mix of historical information with a fictional twist to fill out the details, you will enjoy this book. Would recommend it!
It's so insane to read a about a time that women just couldn't do anything that they wished. As you read this, you realize that royalty, in order to remain royal had to do some crazy stuff. It makes you wonder what the world would be like today, if so many horrifying decisions weren't made in order to keep one person on a thrown...
Great book if you like historical fiction. I typically don't like pre 1970 fiction but Philippa Gregory is an exceptional writer. A quick read but you might need a dictionary to understand some of the 16th century vocabulary that isn't in use today.
I am not quite through reading it yet, but I am enjoying it thus far. I have the feeling that Gregory is not the biggest fan of Dudley, but she does portray him at least somewhat sympathetically. So I'll give her points for that. :)
This wonderful story imagines the love affair between Robert Dudley and Queen Elizabeth carefully researched using documents and evidence fromthe era. The jacket copy is the best description of the tale that I can offer....[An] almost magical insight into the desires of Robert Dudley and his lovers, paints a picture of a countryon the brink of greatness, a yuong woman grasping at her power, a young man whose ampition is greater than his means, and the wife who cannot forgive him. A great read.
Part of the Tudor series, this book focuses on a young Queen Elizabeth I, and capitalizes on the historical speculation that Elizabeth was sexually involved with her childhood friend, handsome and charming Robert Dudley. As if Elizabeth weren't an interesting enough woman on her own, this fun insight into what she might have been like as a young woman in her prime lends a delicious nuance to her.
I loved this book! Though admittedly I'm already someone who thoroughly enjoys reading about Elizabethan history... I thought the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Dudley was a fascinating exploration of a power play during the 1500s. Especially like how Gregory weaves fact with fiction to create a believable story. My only problem with this book is that it was too short! It only covers the first few years of Elizabeth's reign, and I would have loved to read more about Dudley and Elizabeth in later years, after she decided not to marry anyone. Still, I have not been disappointed with this author yet. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
The story of England under the Tudors is fascinating, complex and confusing. The Virgin's Lover takes the story of young Queen Elizabeth I and untangles much of the web. It is the story of her relationship with Robert Dudley and all the intricate twists.
Gregory continues her Tudor chronicles with this lively tale of young Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley, supposing that they were in fact lovers, but that Dudley's lust for the throne was as great as that for the Queen, and that when she realized it, she had him framed for the death of his wife, tainting him with such scandal that he finally accepted the futility of his quest. The Elizabeth of this book is shown as very young, malleable, and inconsistent -- hardly the picture of majesty shown by most accounts.
Bestseller Gregory captivates again with this expertly crafted historical about the beautiful young Virgin Queen, portrayed as a narcissistic, neurotic home-wrecker. As in her previous novels about Tudor England (The Queen's Fool, etc.), Gregory amasses a wealth of colorful period detail to depict the shaky first days of Elizabeth I's reign. The year is 1558, an especially dangerous time for the nation: no bishop will coronate Henry VIII's Protestant daughter, the treasury is bankrupt, the army is unpaid and demoralized. Meanwhile, the French are occupying Scotland and threatening to install "that woman"Mary, Queen of Scotson the throne. Ignoring the matrimonial advice of pragmatic Secretary of State William Cecil, the 25-year-old Elizabeth persists in stringing along Europe's most eligible bachelors, including King Philip of Spain and the Hapsburg archduke Ferdinand. It's no secret why: she's fallen for her "dark, saturnine" master of horse, Sir Robert Dudley, whose traitorous family history and marriage to the privately Catholic Amy make him an unsuitable consort. Gregory deftly depicts this love triangle as both larger than life and all too familiar; all three characters are sympathetic without being likable, particularly the arch-mistress Elizabeth, who pouts, throws tantrums, connives and betrays with queenly impunity. After a while the plot stagnates, as the lovers flaunt their emotions in the face of repetitious arguments from Amy, Cecil and various other scandalized members of the court. But readers addicted to Gregory's intelligent, well-researched tales of intrigue and romance will be enthralled, right down to the teasingly tragic ending.
For me, this was not as good as The Queen's Fool and The Other Boelyn Girl. I am reading these books in chronological order instead of the order in which they were written. I only have The Other Queen left to read. Philippa Gregory is very talented and can weave a masterful story built on sometimes scant historical facts. Just take a deep breath, remember it's fiction, and enjoy it for the taudry romp that it is!
Im never disappointed with a Philippa Gregory book, and this one is no exception. I love the way shes able to imagine a beautiful story into the facts we already know, this time about the early years of Queen Elizabeths reign and her relationship with Robert Dudley.
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