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The Virgin's Lover

(The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels #13)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  50,729 ratings  ·  2,362 reviews
From the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool comes a stunning portrait of the first perilous years of Elizabeth I's reign.

As a new queen, Elizabeth faces two great dangers: the French invasion of Scotland, which threatens to put Mary Queen of Scots on her throne, and her passion for the convicted traitor Robert Dudley.

But Dudley is already married, and his
Paperback, 441 pages
Published September 7th 2005 by Washington Square Press (first published 2004)
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Sharon Austin She appears in the beginning of the book but as a fictional character I don’t believe there are other books on her. Although her character is based on…moreShe appears in the beginning of the book but as a fictional character I don’t believe there are other books on her. Although her character is based on a real fool that served Mary so there might be other books on the real person(less)

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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  50,729 ratings  ·  2,362 reviews

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Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Virgin's Lover (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #13), Philippa Gregory

As a new queen, Elizabeth I faces two great dangers. The French threaten to invade Scotland. But more perilous still is her passion for the convicted traitor, Robert Dudley. Dudley is already married. Amy, his wife, refuses to set her beloved husband free to marry the queen, but she cannot prevent him from becoming the favourite of the plotting, pleasure-seeking court. Yet the queen must marry.

Her wisest councillor, Will
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Debs by: Judy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
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! ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Kendra Kettelhut
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Aug 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2007 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
Nov 03, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2008 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
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 13, 2011 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.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Gregory just doesn't get Elizabeth I correctly here, IMHO.

Only my opinion, but Elizabeth I lived through some very harrowing experiences under Henry's last two wives, when her half brother was alive and then when her sister Mary was Queen. She never forgot what happened to her Mother. Never.

She was also a marketing genius, in SO many aspects. Way ahead of her time, in myriad methods to please and consolidate all the power that was in her hand- she used each and every one. And she always knew a m
May 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Nov 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
I felt that at times there were too many POVs, so it could e difficult at times to remember who was who, but it was an overall enjoyable novel - historical fiction being the key word here as the author delves a lot into the thinking of the historical figures that provide the narrative here. As long as one is willing to hold some suspension of belief, this can be an entertaining read.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
By far the weakest. The women weren’t portrayed as strong at all which is something this author is known for
Theresa Smith
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And so my pilgrimage with Philippa Gregory’s Plantagenet and Tudor novels continues, this time with The Virgin’s Lover, the story of Queen Elizabeth I in her early years of ascending to the throne. Clearly, I am not reading these novels in order, instead approaching the series in hodge-podge manner based on whatever character I’m interested in at the time. Such as these novels are though, they hold up perfectly well as stand-alone reads and I haven’t encountered any instances that have given me ...more
May 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Crystal Navarro
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned, historical
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
Jun 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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. ...more
Katherine "Kj" Joslin
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2020-june
I was prepared to really love this book and it was good but not as good/strong as some of the other Philippa Gregory novels. Katherine of Aragon and The Virgin Queen Elizabeth are two of my favorite historical fiction topics. I love how strong and independent both women were and was so interested in their very different backgrounds and lives... However, this book didn't make me love Good Queen Bess, she came across insecure without Robert Dudley and William Cecil in what appeared to be constant ...more
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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Philippa Gregory is one of the world’s foremost historical novelists. She wrote her first ever novel, Wideacre, when she was completing her PhD in eighteenth-century literature and it sold worldwide, heralding a new era for historical fiction.

Her flair for blending history and imagination developed into a signature style and Philippa went on to write many bestselling novels, including The Other Bo

Other books in the series

The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Lady of the Rivers (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #1; Cousins War #3)
  • The White Queen
  • The Red Queen (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #3; Cousins War #2)
  • The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War #4)
  • The White Princess (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #5; Cousins War #5)
  • The Constant Princess (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #6)
  • The King's Curse (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #7; 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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