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The Virgin's Lover (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels #13)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  41,405 Ratings  ·  1,999 Reviews
Elizabeth I has acceded to the throne of England, a position she has waited and schemed for all her life. She is surrounded by advisers, all convinced that a young woman cannot form political judgements. Elizabeth feels that she can rely on just one man: her oldest friend, Robert Dudley. It is soon plain that he is more than merely a friend.

In a house in the countryside wa
Paperback, 438 pages
Published 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 19, 2008 Hanley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book taught me something about myself: I have to have someone to root for in fiction. I was disgusted by the three main characters: Elizabeth for her selfish, destructive weakness, Robert Dudley for his selfish, destructive ambition, and Lady Amy Dudley for her stupid, pathetic devotion. Even William Cecil, who clearly fought every day for what he thought was best for his country, was ultimately a smarmy man. Why would I want to read about people who revolt me? Especially when it's a fictio ...more
Jun 19, 2008 Debs rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debs by: Judy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 10, 2013 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
AMY ROBSART WAS NOT ILLITERATE. The historical record shows that she was well-educated and there are letters that were preserved written in her own hand. She also was the financial manager of the Robsart estate. It bothers me that, rather than relying on the historical record, Gregory chose to portray Robsart as poorly educated, flaky and with no money of her own in order to make her seem more dependent on those that surrounded her. Gregory also omits Robsart's visit to court in 1559, when she s ...more
Kendra Kettelhut
Again, my love for this author grows. I have watched the movie Elizabeth a long time ago, and really remembered none of it....but following the history from each book, and building on all the events in these stories, I have gained such a wealth of knowledge, and appreciation for this period of history.

Since my knowledge of Elizabeth and her reign of power is very limited (pretty much nonexistant) I found her love affair with Dudley very intriguing; especially after following The Queen's Fool and
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2010 Robin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love Gregory's books and was looking forward to this one because I love to read about Elizabeth I, but I was a bit disappointed in the way she is portrayed in this version. She comes across as a weak woman who is letting herself be bullied by the ambitious man she is in love with. While I don't know that much about Robert Dudley, this book makes him seem very selfish and determined to do anything to be King of England. I also switch between hating his first wife, Amy, and feeling sorry for her ...more
Jul 22, 2007 Yvette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this novel, after the lovely experience I'd had with Phillipa Gregory's The Queen's Fool.

I love just about anything to do with Queen Elizabeth I, and a historical novel of her romance with Robert Dudley was intriguing, to say the least. However...

The novel was weak at best. Oh, the writing is not bad, although the number of typos and grammatical errors really threw me for a loop--how can a work of this calibre fail so miserably in basic grammar and punctuation? Moreover, the
Sep 10, 2011 Ryan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2008 Vani rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book absolutely enraged me. I normally like Phillippa Gregory for a trashy historical read but what she did in this novel made me not want to read her anymore. She takes Elizabeth the Great, arguably the greatest woman in the history of Western civilization, and turns her into a stupid whining weak, vapid character. There is literally a line in the book something where Elizabeth says something like, "Oh shut up. At least you have a man to make your decisions for you!" Boo! Hiss!
Aubrey Coletti
This is one of the worst books I've ever read from one of my favorite authors.

Now, that that is out of my system, let me begin: I am a big Gregory fan: "The Other Boleyn Girl" is one of my favorite novels. However, when a writer abandons filling in what we don't know, for downright changing the facts, they are no longer writing historical fiction, but fantasy: and that is what this book is. The problem? Gregory's attempt at maligning Elizabeth the First's character.

Now, I knew she had a strong l
Feb 01, 2008 Jackie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Mar 25, 2008 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 sid ...more
May 11, 2009 Undomesticgoddess rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read quite a few of Gregory's books, and I have noticed one thing:

She likes to turn the tables on the way her characters are portrayed.
Elizabeth I was a strong, smart, independent woman, right? WRONG, at least in this book. Essentially, all of the main characters are unlikeable, for one reason or another, and I do not think they are consistently written, especially when considering The Queen's Fool.

Other than that, I think that the plotline she chose simply was not that interesting. There
I may be speaking out of turn here, having never published a book,* but I imagine a "best practice" fiction writers may want to follow is to develop characters that readers can't get enough of. Some writers have figured this out on their own, and as such, Atticus Finch isn't a Southern stereotype with nothing to say, Anna Karenina isn't as sparklessly dull as a Siberian winter, and (to throw our reviewed author a bone here) Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl** isn't a kind-hearted, just and car ...more
Feb 16, 2009 Riley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't even finish this book. I didn't care about what happened to any of the characters, because none of them were good or even decent people. She made one the greatest female monarchs a total whore who couldn't decide anything and didn't seem to care as long as she was stealing her precious Robert Dudley away from his wife Amy, who, let's face it, is a dimwit. I couldn't bring myself to finish it, so the ending had better not have been totally impressive, because I am done with this book.
Jun 13, 2007 Sammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-the-good
Philippa Gregory is still unable to catch up to the success of The Other Boleyn Girl. Her past two books have just not been quite up to par with her first one. While I still enjoyed the The Virgin's Lover I was far from impressed because I know what Philippa Gregory has the capability of doing.

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 th
Dec 17, 2008 Cleolinda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really, really... not good. I think it really suffers from not having a Hannah Green or a Mary Boleyn--a character who's either fictional or relatively unknown to history who can view historical events from the sidelines. As it is, we're left with nothing but ridiculous Elizabeth/Dudley sex scenes. Gregory does have the courage, however, to make Amy Dudley both [sym]pathetic and really, truly annoying.
Crystal Navarro
After a lifetime of hearing what a strong, brave, and effective Queen Elizabeth I was, this book was an extremely difficult read. I did not like her at all. I thought Robert Dudley was a terribly selfish man who made me want to tear my hair out. I felt that Amy was a ridiculously weak willed and dependent woman ... I literally did not have one character to root for. That made this read a long, difficult one for me.

The closest lovable character I could find was Cecil. And even he had traits I di
I am a huge fan of Philippa Gregory but this book I almost couldn't finish. I’m not big on reading about infidelity in the first place but what annoyed me the most was Ms. Gregory’s depiction of Queen Elizabeth. I have always believed Elizabeth was a rather unpleasant person but she was a great queen who refused to compromise her beliefs or be persuaded she was less of a person because she was a woman. However, in this novel Elizabeth is portrayed as a weak woman who cannot rule with out a man b ...more
Ooh, I think I have a crush on Robert Dudley! He's such a bad boy, swoon. Although I love Philippa Gregory's books, I wasn't particularly impressed with her treatment of Elizabeth I. Rather than the strong woman history has always led us to believe, here she's shown as weak and easily led and incapable of making a decision without a man's guidance. Amy Dudley is presented as a dullard and Robert Dudley veers from romantic hero to ambitious bastard.
It took me FOREVER to finish this book... primarily because of how the author portrayed Queen Elizabeth. If this was an honest depiction or not, she was a truly annoying and whiny woman! Which typical novels/movies about Queen Elizabeth are quite the opposite. The novel didn't ever seem to be going anywhere either. Patience definitely required for this book.
Nov 30, 2009 Margie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
I must stop reading Gregory's dreck! This is a bodice ripper thinly disguised as historical fiction. The repeated analogies of Robert Dudley treating Elizabeth I as a horse were repellent, and her characterizations of the three main characters left me disgusted.
Sep 14, 2011 Ginny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great fast paced read.
Feb 24, 2011 Iset rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Iset by: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is my 2nd book by Philippa Gregory, the first being "The Other Boleyn Girl" which I really quite enjoyed, and so I was looking forward about reading another book from this author, particularly one about Queen Elizabeth whom I have always been fascinated by. Needless to say I was left disappointed in this book for various different reasons.

In the first place I discovered that this book was more about Robert Dudley and the queens love affair with him than it really was about the queen herse
Aug 30, 2010 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My second least favorite Gregory novel. After having seen both "Elizabeth" films starring Cate Blanchett and loving them, I expected the Elizabeth in this novel to be just as strong-willed and inspiring. I'm sad to say I was thoroughly disappointed.

I do realize that this was about the earlier years of her reign when she was young and naive but I think Philippa took that a bit too far. I felt like Elizabeth had no mind of her own. It seemed like she had to go to William Cecil or Robert Dudley fo
Jul 17, 2014 Meghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely LOVED this book - but bear in mind that it was all the more pleasing because I read it AFTER "The Queen's Fool." Like many other Gregory novels, this book has repeat characters that tell the same, or continue, the story from a different viewpoint. For instance, "The Queen's Fool" was told from the view of Hannah Green who was in love with Sir Robert Dudley. "The Virgin's Lover" is told from the view of Lady Amy Dudley, Sir Robert's wife, then later as an all-seeing narrator focused on ...more
Amanda Patterson
I am a fan of the author, Philippa Gregory. I enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl. I was intrigued to know what happened between Queen Elizabeth and Lord Robert Dudley. It is a well known story and I wanted how this author would handle it.

Gregory produces a wealth of period detail about Tudor England. She shows the first dangerous days of Elizabeth I’s reign in 1558. No cleric will coronate Henry VIII's Protestant daughter, the army is unpaid and demoralized, and the treasury is bankrupt. The French w
Amber Eats Books
As usual the author doesn't disappoint with her beautiful period descriptions. Though I did find the storyline a little lacking when it came to the romance in comparison to some of her other novels. Otherwise the prefect quick read over the course of a few summer afternoons.
May 06, 2014 Eli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First and foremost, I like Gregory's writing style. This book is well written and it flows smoothly. Before I go on I'd like to acknowledge that the book is written as proposed fact - ie, based on substantial research and historical accounts, this is attempting a realistic rendition of events. I understand that this inherently limits the author's ability to change characters or plot to suit the readers.

However, I have chosen to read this over other books which are entirely crafted by the author,
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  • In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, #6)
  • Between Two Queens (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #2)
  • The Queen's Bastard
  • The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3)
  • A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower
  • The King's Daughter (Thornleigh, #2)
  • The Uncrowned Queen (War of the Roses, #3)
Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acc ...more
More about Philippa Gregory...

Other Books in the Series

The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins' War, #3)
  • The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1)
  • The Red Queen (The Cousins' War, #2)
  • The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War, #4)
  • The White Princess (The Cousins' War, #5)
  • The Constant Princess (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #6)
  • The King's Curse (The Cousins' War, #6)
  • Three Sisters, Three Queens (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #8)
  • The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9)
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #10)

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“The truth is the last thing that matters,' she said. 'And you can believe one thing of the truth and me: I keep it well hidden, inside my heart.” 35 likes
“Dinner was a meal where good manners overlaid discomfort.” 2 likes
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