Katie's Reviews > The Virgin's Lover

The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
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Sep 13, 10

bookshelves: boooooring, historical-fiction
Read in September, 2010

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 caring king with zero spunk.

And YET. Here we're punished with Gregory's weasely Dudley and spineless Elizabeth, two characters so off-putting that I could hardly muster the concern to keep reading, though of course I did because I'm for some reason incapable of abandoning a book. These characters weren't the kind you love to hate; they were just the kind you hate. I can forgive the glazed-over, watered-down history and the writing that aspires to Australian soap opera level, but give me something to fall for, Phil!

NB, and a personal grievance: Must Gregory use the phrase "Good God!" every two pages? In every moment of shock, awe, exasperation, disbelief, etc. (of which there are many), someone is bound to solemnly gasp "Good God!" on the page. I started to say it aloud each time I read it...in an overly-dramatic, fake English accent, of course. Unfortunately now it's become part of my lexicon (hopefully just temporarily), and anytime someone plots to murder me or steal my crown (or just takes the remote, doesn't put his dish in the dishwasher, etc.), I have to drop a "Good God!" to show my displeasure appropriately.


*Just to clarify, I've also never attempted to publish a book. My pride had to sneak that in.

**Given my loathing of every other Philippa Gregory book I've ever read, I'm starting to wonder if I was on crack when I deemed TOBG a stellar historical soap opera. Was Gregory's success a fluke? Or did I just temporarily lower my standards?
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Stevie J (new)

Stevie J Good God! This book sounds terrible, not that I was planning on reading it anyway. But I support anything that encourages you to speak in an English accent (which apparently includes this book, drinking at Dirty Jack's, and Love Actually) and write scathing reviews.

N.B. I'm better with the remote and (generally?) put my dishes away.


Nicole I think TOBG was a better book than any of her others. Every other one of her books I've read has been a disappointment.


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