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The Virgin's Lover (Boleyn)
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Product Description

The National Bestseller

In the autumn of 1558, church bells across England ring out the joyous news that Elizabeth I is the new queen. One woman hears the tidings with utter dread. She is Amy Dudley, wife of Sir Robert, and she knows that Elizabeth's ambitious leap to the throne will draw her husband back to the center of the glamorous Tudor court, where he was born to be.

Elizabeth's excited triumph is short-lived. She has inherited a bankrupt country where treason is rampant and foreign war a certainty. Her faithful advisor William Cecil warns her that she will survive only if she marries a strong prince to govern the rebellious country, but the one man Elizabeth desires is her childhood friend, the ambitious Robert Dudley. As the young couple falls in love, a question hangs in the air: can he really set aside his wife and marry the queen? When Amy is found dead, Elizabeth and Dudley are suddenly plunged into a struggle for survival.

Philippa Gregory's The Virgin's Lover answers the question about an unsolved crime that has fascinated detectives and historians for centuries. Intelligent, romantic, and compelling, The Virgin's Lover presents a young woman on the brink of greatness, a young man whose ambition exceeds his means, and the wife who cannot forgive them.

Customer Reviews:

  • Wrong Turn
    Virgin's Lover / 0-7432-6926-8

    I really cannot understand why Gregory books seem to be so hit-or-miss. The Constant Princess was wonderful - great history, great story. The Other Boleyn Girl was, well, it was poor history but a decent story, and that's really all that matters. The Virgin's Lover isn't even a good story, and I really cannot understand why.

    The story ostensibly centers around Amy Robsart, Robert Dudley's wife. Amy is distressed that her husband, upon Elizabeth's recent rise to the throne, now has a place at the palace in the new queen's court. This upsets her because, in typical Gregory fashion, the political marriage between Amy and Robert is really a romantic marriage between two lovers. However, we have to take Gregory's word on this matter - the two 'lovers' are invariably nasty and cruel to each other, with Robert being unforgivably distant (he does not even send a message when he is absent over Christmas) and Amy being petty, childish, and nagging (telling him that a dream of his father's death is an omen to stay out of battle - as though Robert has a choice in the matter - and greeting him smugly after the battle when his brother has just died). Amy also invariably prays for the death of Queen Elizabeth when it would be far more realistic for her to pray for the death of her callous husband - and we are told that Robert abandoned Amy long before Elizabeth came to the throne, so this animosity towards Elizabeth is deeply confusing, at best. With these strokes, Gregory has managed to give us two characters who are totally unsympathetic, with the end result that we do not particularly care about Amy's abandonment (we would abandon her, too) nor do we care about Robert's infidelity (we would know better than to love someone so worthless).

    With the "main" characters thus rendered meaningless, all we have left is Elizabeth. This is where the novel's flaws show most badly - Elizabeth has been reduced to a silly, vacillating, pleasure-seeking, childish girl who is barely capable of making the slightest decision. She throws a very un-regal temper tantrum during her first royal mass, and leaves the pieces for the shrewd Dudley and Cecil to pick up for her. In fact, she manages to leave ALL the affairs of state to the two men, since the affairs of state are dreadfully dull and she is just a winsome 25 year old girl without a serious thought in her silly head. Until the next page, when we are told solemnly by Gregory that Elizabeth's long years of imprisonment and uncertainty seasoned and aged her and made her fit to rule. And yet, we turn the page, and there is stupid, childish Elizabeth again, because the plot demands that she be so. Honestly, if I didn't know the author better, I would assume that the writer had serious issues against women, that's how badly Elizabeth is portrayed here, and the characterization of her as a stupid promiscuous idiot flies in the face of all historical fact about the woman.

    Which brings us to another major flaw in Gregory's writing here - 99 times out of a hundred in this book, she TELLS rather than SHOWS. A good author shows a characters emotions, reactions, conversations, and so on and the reader can intuit from these glimpses that the character is immature or childish or wise or altruistic or any number of character traits. Instead, Gregory just goes the lazy route and tells us "Elizabeth is this," or "Elizabeth is that," and thus is all subtlety lost completely. Paragraphs are written in this sort of style: "Dudley handled all the coronation details, because Elizabeth did not care how the coronation was planned, only that everything be perfect. Elizabeth never cared about the how or why - she was a player on a stage and she only demanded that the other actors play their parts perfectly." Well, that's certainly VERY compelling writing, except that it isn't. Good literature is not written this way. The same point could have come across much more memorably if Gregory had fabricated a conversation where Dudley tried to involve Elizabeth in the ceremonies and she reacted coolly with disinterest. This would have given us some insight into Elizabeth without having to simply memorize what Gregory tells us.

    I really cannot recommend this book. Obviously, it has struck a tone with some readers and perhaps you will enjoy it, but I would recommend looking for it at the library before buying a copy. I felt that the history was bad, the writing was dull, the characters were irritating and uninteresting, and the story was lacking any kind of drama or interest....more info
  • The Virgin's Lover
    Elizabeth is made queen, and her long time friend Robert Dudley, is at her side day and night. Lord Robert has risen from scandal and now wants nothing more than to be part of the Queen's court. He leaves his own wife, Amy, with relatives, while he seduces the Queen. Elizabeth cannot resist Robert, and the two begin a scandalous love affair.

    This book had me hooked from page one. I found it hard to put down. This is the book I was up late at night reading, gladly losing sleep just to get one more page read. Philippa Gregory writes historical fiction like nobody's business. I've also read The Constant Princess and enjoyed that one too. I've read some mixed reviews about this one, but as for myself, I really liked it. This won't be my last Philippa Gregory novel.
    ...more info
  • Another favorite!
    I just love these books! Philippa Gregory is genius. I couldnt put the book down and even my fiance was interested in the story. Like the Boleyn girl, I didnt want it to end. ...more info
  • Not as good as her other books, but still interesting
    I so enjoy the writing style of Phillipa Gregory. This book was interesting, I just don't think she had as much "drama" to work with in this story as in the others, such as The Other Boleyn Girl....more info
  • AMAZING!
    This book was utterly amazing. I started reading Phillpa Gregory's works with "The Other Boleyn Girl" and have ravenously devoured all the series since. This was one of my favorite books, someone you feel for all three characters (Amy, Robert, and Elizabeth). It is amazingly well written as always, although I will say Elizabeth's "I'm sooo afraid of war! Someone save me! We'll fight! Wait no, I take it back! No, wait, we will fight! Oh, I'm so afraid!" routine. It kind of makes you want to grab her and shake her around! But, all in all, this book is wonderful, and if you are a fan of this author, you should enjoy it as much as I did!
    By the way, buy it from Amazon, I'd never thought to check here, and I was super mad at myself when I saw that it's only $4.00 here...I paid $18.00 after taxes from Barnes and Nobles! It was worth it, but if you have the choice, order from here!...more info
  • Great Read!
    I have read several of Philippa Gregory's books and this is one of my favorites (the first one being The Other Boleyn Girl). It continues with the same themes of love and greed that appears in the other books but they are presented from the perspective of a man. Which make is quite interesting because all her books are usually written from a females perspective.
    ...more info
  • A Good Read
    This book is well written, and flows keeping the readers attention. For a historical novel, she does a great job in keeping the reader enthralled. There are much better reviews than mine that go into more depth, but short and to the point this is a great novel written by a very good author and I do not think you will be dissapointed. I must also say that I did read two other books alongside this one called "My Enemy the Queen" by Victoria Holt, and the other, "Queen of This Realm: The Tudor Queens" by Jean Plaidy aka Victoria Holt. These three books are all great reads about Queen Elizabeth I and they do go into much depth, they do not dissapoint....more info
  • smitten with Philippa Gregory
    I am absolutely addicted to Philippa Gregory's books, and this is a great one. I just discovered her about two months ago, and I am devouring her books because they are not only good reading, but she includes so much history that I really feel it's valuable reading. This book paints an even more vivid picture of Elizabeth. I couldn't put it down!...more info
  • Another Gregory Gem!
    Just like everything else Philipa Gregory writes, The Virgin's Lover is completley enchanting! Once again she visits the Tudor period and drops us into their world of lust and intrigue. All of Her books are beautifully written and this one is no different.

    This book tells a fictionalized account of the rumored romance between Robert Dudley and Queen Elizabeth. Were they truly lovers? How did it happen? Was it true love? Or simply a quest for power on Dudley's part? What might have happened between closed doors?

    I recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fictin or romance, because The Virgin's Lover fits into both genres nicely. Give it a shot, you won't be disapointed!...more info
  • Wish I could give it 6 stars!
    I thought this books was so juicy with scandal and background information of this royal family. I think I might have liked it more than The Other Boleyn Girl. This is my favorite book of the Tudor age so far. ...more info
  • Excellent Purchase!
    Excellent purchase. Book arrived in excellent condition and promptly. Pleasure doing business with seller! Thank you!...more info
  • The Virgin's Lover
    I just discovered this author and love her work. So far I've purchased and read five of her books. Have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. ...more info
  • Just plain unlikeable
    I've read several of Phillipa Gregory's books, inlcuding the Constant Princess and the Other Boleyn Girl. I thought this book was a giant disappointment. It lacks the pace of the others and as another reader remarked, it doesn't have a single likeable character. Ms. Gregory focuses a lot on telling readers what a stud Dudley is and what a conniving, weak and ignorant girl Elizabeth is. Also, poor Amy Dudley...what a sad woman. But not enough backstory to really understand her. The closest to sympathy I had for any character was Cecil who was oiften so fed up with Dudley and Elizabeth that he wished he could escape them all. Me too, Cecil, me too....more info
  • Disappointing!
    I hate to say this, but I did NOT like this book. I suppose it's a must read if one is interested in following the whole Boleyn story, but this book is not as good as the other works of Gregory's I have read. I wouldn't call it a waste of time, but it's taken me forever to get through a simple 400 page book. I kept trying to chalk it off to the story itself not being as riveting as the other books, but for whatever reason, I didn't like it.

    The only thing I liked was when Gregory flipped from the passion of Elizabeth and Lord Dudley to the dismal life of the cheated on wife, Amy, in some kind of parallel universe.

    I'd recommend this book only for those who wish for the continuity of the Boleyn saga. But then, so many books, so little time.........more info
  • The Virgin's Lover
    I just discovered this author and love her work. So far I've purchased and read five of her books. Have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. ...more info
  • Summary on Back Ruins Book!
    Taken from the back cover of the paper back: As the young couple falls in love, a question hangs in the air: can he really set aside his wife and marry the queen? When Amy is found dead, Elizabeth and Dudley are suddenly plunged into a struggle for survival.

    Nice summary, however, Amy Dudley doesn't die until page 410 (of 438). You will read 94% of the book with Amy alive, knowing that she will die. Whoever wrote the summary on the back is an idiot because it definitely ruined the book for me. I would have read it completely different if I had not known Amy would die - and that fact could have been an actual surprise. I also would not have been waiting for it for 410 pages!

    Overall a good book, I just feel like I wasted my time....more info
  • Abomination
    I finally reviewed my favorite book on Elizabeth, "Legacy" by Susan Kay, so I needed to sit down and review my most reviled book on her. That is "The Virgin's Lover".

    This book just horrified me. Not merely because I KNOW Ms. Gregory is a better writer than this. Don't get me wrong, I disagree strongly with her portrayal of Anne Boleyn as the embodiment of all that's evil in the world, but I still respected her work. This novel was simply hideous. The weakest, most simpering, spineless portrayal of Elizabeth I think I've ever read.

    She doesn't know her way around court? Come on! CECIL doesn't know his way around court? They both have to be helped by the grand Robert Dudley?

    I suspected when I read this that Ms. Gregory's lost without a spineless, bland, innocent-to-the-point-of-stupidity character to tell her story for her. However, Wideacre (told from the POV of a clear sociopath) was a good book.

    I can only second those who have suggested someone is ghostwriting books in her name now. There is no excuse for "The Virgin's Lover."...more info
  • Not as good as some of her others.
    I was a little disappointed. Primarily it's because I didn't like her portrait of Elizabeth. However accurate or inaccurate it may have been. Elizabeth is one of my heroes, but in this book she is whiny, capricious, indecisive, foolish..... I didn't like her at all. Allison Weir's portrait of the young Elizabeth in "The Lady Elizabeth" is more likeable, and yet apparently is still a version of Elizabeth that is grounded in the historical facts that are known.

    However the mystery surrounding Amy Rosbarth was very interesting. This is worth reading if you are a Gregory fan or a Tudor history fan. ...more info
  • amazing author!!
    I was given The Other Boleyn Girl as a gift and devoured it. Since then I have read every other book in the Tudor series. I am patiently awaiting her new book which is to hit the shelves in September. She is one of those authors who makes you not want the book to end. And her talent is consistent in every book. I highly recommend this book to any one who wants history to come alive not just remain a lot of names and dates....more info
  • Great Elizabethan Romance Novel
    I rencently watch the PBS Masterpiece Theater version of the life of Queen Elizabeth I called; "The Virgin Queen". It was quite enjoyable except, I felt that they could have expanded a little more on the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert Dudley since, Dudley was supposedly the one true love of Elizabeth's life. Thanks to Philippa Gregory's "The Virgin's Lover", we get what PBS missed.I read the book in two days and went back to the book store looking for more books by Phillippa. I am currently reading "The Other Boleyn Girl" and loving it just as much as I did "The Virgin's Lover". If your into historical romance, Phillippa is one of the best writers out there. ...more info
  • An Elizabethan Tug of War
    I love Philippa Gregory's Tudor novels and am only sorry that I have now concluded reading all of them. This one has some problems that disappointed me - Elizabeth is a giggling, easily-led dope, and not the shrewd manipulator and politician that we know her to be from historical record. I suspect Dudley and Cecil are fairly accurately represented, however, and I was very interested in the viewpoint of Amy Dudley, the innocent wife cast aside in favor of power and the title of King.

    This was an interesting read, and one that kept me turning the pages, but it was not up to the standard of the other Tudor books. I preferred Boleyn Inheritance and The Constant Princess for intrigue. I hope for better things in the future. ...more info
  • Wrong Turn
    Virgin's Lover / 0-7432-6926-8

    I really cannot understand why Gregory books seem to be so hit-or-miss. The Constant Princess was wonderful - great history, great story. The Other Boleyn Girl was, well, it was poor history but a decent story, and that's really all that matters. The Virgin's Lover isn't even a good story, and I really cannot understand why.

    The story ostensibly centers around Amy Robsart, Robert Dudley's wife. Amy is distressed that her husband, upon Elizabeth's recent rise to the throne, now has a place at the palace in the new queen's court. This upsets her because, in typical Gregory fashion, the political marriage between Amy and Robert is really a romantic marriage between two lovers. However, we have to take Gregory's word on this matter - the two 'lovers' are invariably nasty and cruel to each other, with Robert being unforgivably distant (he does not even send a message when he is absent over Christmas) and Amy being petty, childish, and nagging (telling him that a dream of his father's death is an omen to stay out of battle - as though Robert has a choice in the matter - and greeting him smugly after the battle when his brother has just died). Amy also invariably prays for the death of Queen Elizabeth when it would be far more realistic for her to pray for the death of her callous husband - and we are told that Robert abandoned Amy long before Elizabeth came to the throne, so this animosity towards Elizabeth is deeply confusing, at best. With these strokes, Gregory has managed to give us two characters who are totally unsympathetic, with the end result that we do not particularly care about Amy's abandonment (we would abandon her, too) nor do we care about Robert's infidelity (we would know better than to love someone so worthless).

    With the "main" characters thus rendered meaningless, all we have left is Elizabeth. This is where the novel's flaws show most badly - Elizabeth has been reduced to a silly, vacillating, pleasure-seeking, childish girl who is barely capable of making the slightest decision. She throws a very un-regal temper tantrum during her first royal mass, and leaves the pieces for the shrewd Dudley and Cecil to pick up for her. In fact, she manages to leave ALL the affairs of state to the two men, since the affairs of state are dreadfully dull and she is just a winsome 25 year old girl without a serious thought in her silly head. Until the next page, when we are told solemnly by Gregory that Elizabeth's long years of imprisonment and uncertainty seasoned and aged her and made her fit to rule. And yet, we turn the page, and there is stupid, childish Elizabeth again, because the plot demands that she be so. Honestly, if I didn't know the author better, I would assume that the writer had serious issues against women, that's how badly Elizabeth is portrayed here, and the characterization of her as a stupid promiscuous idiot flies in the face of all historical fact about the woman.

    Which brings us to another major flaw in Gregory's writing here - 99 times out of a hundred in this book, she TELLS rather than SHOWS. A good author shows a characters emotions, reactions, conversations, and so on and the reader can intuit from these glimpses that the character is immature or childish or wise or altruistic or any number of character traits. Instead, Gregory just goes the lazy route and tells us "Elizabeth is this," or "Elizabeth is that," and thus is all subtlety lost completely. Paragraphs are written in this sort of style: "Dudley handled all the coronation details, because Elizabeth did not care how the coronation was planned, only that everything be perfect. Elizabeth never cared about the how or why - she was a player on a stage and she only demanded that the other actors play their parts perfectly." Well, that's certainly VERY compelling writing, except that it isn't. Good literature is not written this way. The same point could have come across much more memorably if Gregory had fabricated a conversation where Dudley tried to involve Elizabeth in the ceremonies and she reacted coolly with disinterest. This would have given us some insight into Elizabeth without having to simply memorize what Gregory tells us.

    I really cannot recommend this book. Obviously, it has struck a tone with some readers and perhaps you will enjoy it, but I would recommend looking for it at the library before buying a copy. I felt that the history was bad, the writing was dull, the characters were irritating and uninteresting, and the story was lacking any kind of drama or interest....more info
  • Disappointing!
    I hate to say this, but I did NOT like this book. I suppose it's a must read if one is interested in following the whole Boleyn story, but this book is not as good as the other works of Gregory's I have read. I wouldn't call it a waste of time, but it's taken me forever to get through a simple 400 page book. I kept trying to chalk it off to the story itself not being as riveting as the other books, but for whatever reason, I didn't like it.

    The only thing I liked was when Gregory flipped from the passion of Elizabeth and Lord Dudley to the dismal life of the cheated on wife, Amy, in some kind of parallel universe.

    I'd recommend this book only for those who wish for the continuity of the Boleyn saga. But then, so many books, so little time.........more info
  • Not the worst, but not the best
    I don't know if the writing was just really good, or if I just felt sorry for Amy Dudely, but I can honestly say that by the end of the book, I thoroughly hated Robert Dudely. Queen Elizabeth is written to be a weak lovesick woman, which I'm not sure if I agree with, and the book takes about 100 pages or so to get interesting. There's a brief cameo of Hannah Verde (Green) from the preceding book "The Queen's Fool" and Catherine Knolly (Mary Boleyn's Daughter) also has a cameo in this book. Overall, I give the book 3 stars, not my favorite by Gregory, but not the worst either....more info
  • Inexcusable trash
    I would be ashamed to put my name to this rubbish. That Philippa Gregory put her name on this is an embarrassment.

    When reading reviews of products or books, I tend to take into most consideration those "middle-area" reviews, since they seem likely to be the most accurate. If only I had seriously read the 1-star reviews of this book. Nothing infuriated me more than to read a female novelist who wrote the Constant Princess (one of my more favorite historical novels - which gave a new, intelligent perspective to Catherine of Aragon) writing a novel about two women who are the most idiotic, insufferable and utterly unrelatable women I have ever heard tell of. The characters are first of all, not even remotely plausible - historically or in fiction.

    Amy Robsart is portrayed as a wet blanket of a woman who cannot stand up for herself much less get over the fact that her marriage is ending. She is forever waiting for Robert Dudley, shown here as a miserable louse of a man, to return and live happily ever after with her. Cecil's character is tiresome, simply because he is rendered impotent by Dudley's and Elizabeth's characters, and instead of retaining dignity and poise is resentful and bitter.

    Walsingham gets nary a mention and is instead merged into Cecil - pure laziness, really, especially since it's Cecil's made-up spy network that gets all the write up. Elizebeth herself is a woefully indecisive wanton tart, better suited to grocery aisle book cover than anything in a Philippa Gregory novel. Elizabeth, a woman considered to be fairly politically savvy in a time when women weren't even considered viable rulers, is utterly dependent upon men. When Cecil is away, she turns to Dudley to manage all of her affairs.

    Worse, there are redundant phrases in the book, one being that Cecil rarely, if ever, puts his name on documents. Oh yes, because Cecil is the spymaster, right? And he's quite careful? This dumbed down repetitive tripe is a poor excuse for a novel, much less anything written by the Philippa Gregory I had come to respect as a writer. I am offended and insulted that this would pass among her fans, and I am dismayed to see so many giving it positive reviews. It's trash. Dressed up historical trash, but trash nonetheless.

    The story is told from the perspectives of Robsart, Dudley and Cecil - never from Elizabeth's perspective at all. While this is somewhat typical of Gregory's work and writing technique, Elizabeth is too central and too enigmatic to benefit from it. Instead, the book seems lazily written, as if it's too much effort to imagine any plausible explanation or motivation for her behavior. Because Elizabeth was such an enigmatic ruler in reality, it's a shame that Gregory didn't think to writer from her perspective. Instead, Elizabeth is almost a sideline character, while the Men do Men things like rule her realm and tell her where to stand and what to do (quite literally - evidently, Elizabeth had no clue how to behave during royal entertainments, and depended upon Dudley to tell her exactly what to do).

    There is nothing queenly about Elizabeth in this book. Nor is there anything dashing or appealing about Dudley. In a time when one's bed partners meant life or death, and Elizabeth had first hand experience with that (consider Seymour's beheading as a result of his treasonous plots including Elizabeth herself), it's impossible to believe that she would be so casual about her affairs. It's insulting, especially, considering the real Elizabeth was so careful and calculating.

    Suffice it to say, I did pay money for this book (humorously, only because Alison Weir's book was out of stock). I fully intend to write a strongly worded letter to both Ms. Gregory and her publisher requesting a refund....more info
  • The journey that began with a bang ends with a whimper.
    After tearing through The Other Boleyn Girl, I made up my mind to read all four of the other books in Gregory's Tudor series, sure that each one would be the equal of the fascinating, soapy and wonderfully rendered first novel. Unfortunately, none of the others succeeded in matching that one, either in the writing and storytelling, or in my own enjoyment factor. This one comes closest, but it is still a far cry.

    My main problem with this novel is that it has to be judged more by what it ISN'T that what it IS. For instance, it ISN'T horribly repetitive like The Constant Princess and The Boleyn Inheritance. That's kind of like judging food by saying "Well, it didn't make me sick." Food isn't SUPPOSED to make you sick, and books aren't SUPPOSED to be horribly repetitive. Yet somehow that's a compliment to Gregory.

    Readers of Gregory's other books will be alternately rewarded and disappointed by the inclusion of other characters and/or historical figures in this novel. For instance, Hannah the Fool, a fictional character Gregory employed as the star of The Queen's Fool: A Novel makes a brief appearance and is referenced a few times when it's relevant to the plot. Mary Boleyn & King Henry VIII's illegitimate daughter Catherine is brought back as a minor character, and while it's wonderful to see her come into such a good future, it's puzzling that her brother Henry was omitted -- especially since Gregory writes in the author's note of TOBG that he grew to be a minor player in his half-sister/cousin Elizabeth's court.

    And then we come to my primary problem with this novel: Elizabeth herself. In every single history book, historical fiction novel, television special and movie I have ever seen on Queen Elizabeth I, she has always been portrayed as an intelligent, cunning and capable ruler with the strength and conviction needed to run a Kingdom alone for nearly fifty years, and position it to be one of the most powerful nations in the world for centuries to come. In short, she's always portrayed as nothing more or less than what she was: the greatest ruler in Great Britain's history. Gregory's interpretation of this character turns her into a sniveling, whining child who is incapable of making even the simplest of decisions without going to a man for guidance and spends more time moaning about the fate of her Kingdom than she does actually taking a hand in deciding that fate on her own. This may be seen by some as a novel approach by Gregory, but I was annoyed and dismayed by the Elizabeth she created. How could such a powerful female icon be reduced to this dependent, paralyzed, and frankly stupid woman? I've never considered myself a feminist, but even I was appalled by this.

    However, it's easier to dwell on my problems with this novel than to itemize all the little things I did actually enjoy about it. In fact, if it weren't for the utterly abrupt, rushed and disappointing nature of the ending, I might have even been moved to give it five stars.

    I didn't like any of Gregory's other books enough to make reading her non-Tudor efforts a high priority. I like historical fiction enough to know that I'll certainly read them one day, but that day is a long, long ways off. And hopefully that will give her plenty of time to come up with something else that matches the power of The Other Boleyn Girl....more info
  • This books holds you at arm's length
    I absolutely loved THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, it really gave insight into the inner thoughts and motivations of the characters. But THE VIRGIN'S LOVER, although lush and entertaining to begin with, was, in the end, extraordinarily frustrating.
    By the time the book was over, I had no sympathy for any of the characters. Elizabeth was a completely unlikable brat, Dudley was an insensitive and self-centered jerk, and Amy was a whining self-loathing child.

    Philippa Gregory has such great talent, I was doubly disappointed by how annoyed I was by the way the characters came across in this novel. It was a very different view of these historical figures with whom I am very familiar. I admire her for taking some great risks in the telling of the machinations between Elizabeth, Dudley, and Amy, but I don't think it came out as well as it could have.
    I never felt that I could "get into" any of the characters, they seemed unfamiliar, distant, and unreachable. Her overall style and steady use of phrasing was strong and made the book generally enjoyable. But whereas I have read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL twice now and keep a lending copy on-hand, I have already sold my copy of this novel to a used bookstore. But I did trade it for another Philippa Gregory book. ^_~
    ...more info
  • I really hate to do this, but...
    I had to force myself to finish this book, basically because I spent 16 bucks on it. Had I borrowed it from the library, I'd never have finished it. And Gregory is my favorite "guilty pleasure" author. This thing has taken me weeks to finish. A book this size I usually finish in 2 days or so. The plot is loose and boring. It just goes on and on and on, and you wait for something to happen. Dudley is a jerk, again and again. Elizabeth has no idea what she's doing. Amy just stares blankly into the distance or prays. The characters are SO shallow and I just really don't care about them. She'd have done better making the novel from Cecils point of view. At least he seemed to have an opinion. It's like reading the diaries of three very stupid, conceited (except Amy), boring people who are unaware of how badly they are being used. If you've never read Gregory's books before, do NOT start with this one! A great book of hers, is "The Queen's Fool" and if you want a good (if a little slow in parts) book about Elizabeth, try "I, Elizabeth" by Rosalind Miles. ...more info
  • Good but not as good as her others
    I would give it 3.5 stars if I could. I'm a big fan of Ms. Gregory. This read a bit like a Harlequin Romance Novel after reading Allison Weir's "Innocent Traitor." It still held my interest (which is hard when there are so many great books out there deserving of one's time). I did not love it as much as The Other Boleyn Girl or the Boleyn Inheritance but it was nonetheless a a good read. ...more info
  • Excellent Finale
    The Virgin's Lover is definitely an excellent closing novel to read after the other four in this "series." I found it to be bittersweet and true to the true nature of the characters. The ending in particular will break your heart; Gregory's treatment of Amy is so gentle and yet honest that you cannot help but hurt for her.

    For reference, the order to read these books is:
    The Constant Princess
    The Other Boleyn Girl
    The Boleyn Inheritance
    The Queen's Fool
    The Virgin's Lover
    ...more info
  • Great book!
    I really like Gregory's books that deal with the Tudor dynasty. I haven't liked her other books quite as well. The Other Boleyn Girl remains my favorite Philippa Gregory book....more info
  • Good Read but Questionable
    I find Ms. Gregory's fiction enjoyable and very readable. However, I find it a little disconcerting that one can see at a glance just what her view is on Queen Elizabeth I - she just does not have a good opinion of this queen and has made someone who changed the shape of the world into an almost manic sex-crazy flirt. Yes, documented facts say that Elizabeth was a flirt and she certainly had tons of scandal to live down over her behavior with Robert Dudley (at the time, Mary Queen of Scots was a saint in comparison). But her characterization in this book was totally unbelievable. To believe that she was so sex-crazy that she couldn't do a think without a morning visit from Dudley is stretching the imagination. Clearly, Ms. Gregory is on Catherine of Aragon and Bloody Mary's side, and is against Anne Boleyn and her daughter....more info