Toni Osborne's Reviews > The Virgin's Lover

The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
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Feb 12, 09

Read in December, 2008

This novel addresses another fascinating aspect of the Tudor Court drama. The Elizabethan enigma left us with an unsolved crime of passion that shocked a nation through history.

At the time of Queen Mary's death, the young princess had yet to act in a significant role on the great stage of England. The plotting of other legitimate heirs and powerful bishops who fear the return of Protestant rigors and Henry's rules leave Elizabeth beset by treachery on all sides. Left with few resources to protect her position and only a few trusted counselors (William Cecil and Robert Dudley) helping her rule the country.

Cecil is a devoted man who believes England should remain in the hands of the Protestant Queen. The ambitious Dudley is constantly looking for court favors and is a childhood friend hopelessly in love with her. This poses a critical impediment, Robert Dudley is married to Amy Robsart an unassuming woman waiting patiently for his return.

Elizabeth and Dudley's romance fills the court full of intrigues, whispers, gossip and treachery while the country is on the brink of war. Problems are compounded when Amy is found dead sending Elizabeth and Robert into a struggle for survival.

This romantic historically based fiction depicts the notorious love affairs of royalty. Ms Gregory brings her main characters and events to life by covering an abundance of period details with a wonderful blend of fantasy and fact. Robert is painted as a ruthless and manipulative man with the ultimate goal of obtaining power. Elizabeth is an emotional and indecisive sovereign torn between country and love, Amy an outcast is an innocent and a resolute individual languishing with a broken heart for her husband's return.

This cross between a love story and a murder mystery presents a rich tapestry of a country torn apart by religious wrangling, poverty and one that is titillated with royal scandals. It is history brought to live in a very entertaining way.
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