Title: The Virgin’s Lover
Author: Philippa Gregory
Series: The Tudor Court
Previous Books in the Series:
1. The Constant Princess
2. The Other Boleyn Girl
3. The Boleyn Inheritance
4. The Queen’s Fool
Date Started: July 1
Date Finished: July 5
Format: Paperback from library co-op
As a reader who’s really into any book set during the Tudor era, I was really excited to read this book because it deals with a queen that I haven’t read a lot about – Elizabeth I. When I was a kid I read one of those royal diaries, but she was still a child herself, I was really looking forward to reading something from her as she ascends the throne of England. I should have known better. Don’t get me wrong, The Virgin’s Lover is a really good read and insight into Elizabeth’s reign, but my god. Was she really a queen at all, or just a puppet to be used?
I’m getting ahead of myself though, anyway, The Virgin’s Lover starts out where The Queen’s Fool pretty much left off, the bells of churches around the city of London are chiming the death of Queen Mary. But there’s a woman in Norfolk who is not so happy about the queen’s death, for that means another queen, one her husband has been in love with since they were children. Amy Dudley – Sir Robert’s wife – knows that with the new queen’s ascension, her husband who is barely home as it is, will probably never set foot in their home again. Something she doesn’t understand, considering his last try for power left him with nothing and very close to the chopping block. Robert does stay away from his wife as he falls in love with the new queen and even proposes marriage to her, because they both know the truth, they can’t be without each other and she can’t say no to him despite knowing that most of the lords at court and the people would not accept this marriage.
William Cecil – Elizabeth’s most trusted adviser – knows the pull that Dudley has on her, and keeps trying to not only force them apart, but put forward his own political agenda. Elizabeth becomes a pawn between the two men, until she only looks to Cecil for advice and a dastardly plot is put in place.
As I said above, this book was rather disappointing. It promised to be a book about more court intrigue – especially when Robert Dudley’s wife ends up dead – but it kind of fell flat. I was more disappointed with Elizabeth’s character more than anything. Considering her bloodlines, I’m surprised at how she acted like a young fool in love than a queen of a country. She is easily manipulated by both Robert and Cecil and I just wanted to slap her upside the head more than a half dozen times throughout the book. The Golden Age of Elizabeth, my ass. Amy’s mysterious murder doesn’t happen until the last thirty pages, and it isn’t really all that mysterious. Elizabeth asks Cecil for help once she realizes that Robert isn’t the man she thought she was, and he orchestrates the whole thing so that suspicion (and suspicion only) falls onto Robert. Even when he’s cleared of all charges, Elizabeth can never marry him because of the fact that some people still believe he did it. The end.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Gregory has a craft for telling stories, but I was really disappointed in this book’s characters and the ending.
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