Customer Reviews for

The Virgin's Lover

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Good characters, overall a good read

First things first. I recommend you read The Queen's Fool before reading this one. It contains a bit background information and a bit of a foundation to carry you over to The Virgin's Lover. It's not necessary but it's nice to have that extra bit of info in the small mo...
First things first. I recommend you read The Queen's Fool before reading this one. It contains a bit background information and a bit of a foundation to carry you over to The Virgin's Lover. It's not necessary but it's nice to have that extra bit of info in the small moments where the book makes a reference to the past. Besides, The Queen's Fool was a good book so why would you not want to read it? :)

There's plenty of intrigue and double crossing in here, so if you're really into that this is the book for you. I love that stuff. I love seeing characters you don't like get the axe because they were too careless and got double crossed. It's just so satisfying. Which brings me to this other point.

I hate Robert Dudley.

Everything about him made me want to grind my teeth, made me want to jump into the book and punch him in the gonads, or made me want to run a lance into him. I just can't stand the guy. He oozes sliminess and his ambition is just way over the top it made you want to roll your eyes and slap him across the head with a sledgehammer. His arrogance made me want to scream. He was all right at first but once you saw past his true colors you just wanted to curl your lip in disgust at the guy. Either I need serious help, or Ms. Gregory just did a wonderful job at character development and creation here. :P I have never hated a character so much until I came across Robert Dudley.

Amy (Dudley's wife) made you want to cringe because she was everything you didn't want her to be. She was the epitome of submissive wife. There were moments where she finally grew a backbone (and you had to cheer for her during those times) but you just can't help but pity the poor woman. Of all the characters in the book I sympathized with Amy the most. It was just painful to see her pain and suffering and the way she fawned at Dudley made you want to pity her, but at the same time be quite disgusted with her. She admirable though. She put up with a lot of issues and crap for that time.

It's hard to decide how I feel about Elizabeth. She's whiny. She's NEEDY. She's clingy. She nearly made me want to jab something in my eye. However there were moments where I thought "Heeeey..she's not so stupid after all!" so it's very hard to see Elizabeth in a different view than what you usually see (usually as a very strong character who defied the Spanish Armada). So I thought it was difficult to like her in this novel. I was on the fence with her.

Overall, I thought it was a good read. There are romantic parts but not that explicit and quickly done and over with. So to me, they were tolerable. No battle scenes here which was unfortunate but wasn't really the main part of the subject anyway (this book rather focuses on Dudley and Elizabeth). The intrigue of court life was here as usual (all of Gregory's novels have it) so that was good to see. I just really enjoyed the character development and creation in this book.

posted by Sensitivemuse on July 16, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Interesting Take on History

Based on real historical figures, it is an easy read. However, not as well-written as her Boleyn books.

posted by daisy7 on May 31, 2009

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  • Posted July 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good characters, overall a good read

    First things first. I recommend you read The Queen's Fool before reading this one. It contains a bit background information and a bit of a foundation to carry you over to The Virgin's Lover. It's not necessary but it's nice to have that extra bit of info in the small moments where the book makes a reference to the past. Besides, The Queen's Fool was a good book so why would you not want to read it? :)

    There's plenty of intrigue and double crossing in here, so if you're really into that this is the book for you. I love that stuff. I love seeing characters you don't like get the axe because they were too careless and got double crossed. It's just so satisfying. Which brings me to this other point.

    I hate Robert Dudley.

    Everything about him made me want to grind my teeth, made me want to jump into the book and punch him in the gonads, or made me want to run a lance into him. I just can't stand the guy. He oozes sliminess and his ambition is just way over the top it made you want to roll your eyes and slap him across the head with a sledgehammer. His arrogance made me want to scream. He was all right at first but once you saw past his true colors you just wanted to curl your lip in disgust at the guy. Either I need serious help, or Ms. Gregory just did a wonderful job at character development and creation here. :P I have never hated a character so much until I came across Robert Dudley.

    Amy (Dudley's wife) made you want to cringe because she was everything you didn't want her to be. She was the epitome of submissive wife. There were moments where she finally grew a backbone (and you had to cheer for her during those times) but you just can't help but pity the poor woman. Of all the characters in the book I sympathized with Amy the most. It was just painful to see her pain and suffering and the way she fawned at Dudley made you want to pity her, but at the same time be quite disgusted with her. She admirable though. She put up with a lot of issues and crap for that time.

    It's hard to decide how I feel about Elizabeth. She's whiny. She's NEEDY. She's clingy. She nearly made me want to jab something in my eye. However there were moments where I thought "Heeeey..she's not so stupid after all!" so it's very hard to see Elizabeth in a different view than what you usually see (usually as a very strong character who defied the Spanish Armada). So I thought it was difficult to like her in this novel. I was on the fence with her.

    Overall, I thought it was a good read. There are romantic parts but not that explicit and quickly done and over with. So to me, they were tolerable. No battle scenes here which was unfortunate but wasn't really the main part of the subject anyway (this book rather focuses on Dudley and Elizabeth). The intrigue of court life was here as usual (all of Gregory's novels have it) so that was good to see. I just really enjoyed the character development and creation in this book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Dramatic and stimulating.

    Extremely informative about royalty and their interacction with "seers". Also,the long time persecution of the Jewish faith or anyone in conflict with the Church was eye-opening. Well written and well researched.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Virgin's Lover, a different look

    This story is an interesting take on the alleged love affair between Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. I have read many books by Philippa Gregory and I always like her stories. She has a way of making stories about the Tudor period very interesting when if you listen to other historians it sounds dull. The story of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley is an emotional rollercoaster with many twists and turns. Philippa does a great job at painting a picture and in this story, Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley are ruthless, selfish and menacing people. I rarely liked either of them in this story, but a good villan makes for a riveting story. All in all, this story is classic Philippa. It's not as involved or passionate as The Other Boleyn Girl, but that one has no equal.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

    Great read

    I really liked the book, and could not but it down. Phillippa Gregory did a great job writing the book. The plot was well thought out, and one that presented an interesting theory to a real historical event. She did a great job showing the complex court life and politics of the Elizabethan era. I liked her characterized of Elizabeth I, which was more complex then other historical novel's I've read. She added a ruthless side to her that was refreshing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Fascinating look at a young Queen Elizabeth.

    I thoroughly enjoy Philippa Gregory's Tudor series, and was not disappointed in this offering. The book offers a different view of Queen Elizabeth and the turmoil England was going through at the start of her reign.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    TAKES YOU TO A DIFFERENT TIME

    I really enjoyed this book. It took me to a different time and place. I liked the language. Impressed with the scandolous stratergy of women and tugged on my heart string a little. I will definately read another Phillipa Gregory. Excellent for bookclubs,even has discussion questions at the end of the book. KUDOS!!!

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  • Posted October 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    great story

    The characters in this book are so amazing. I love that there is so much history involved. I can imagine all of the costumes that people wear and the plotting going on. It is a great adventure to read. I have read all of the books by Philippa Gregory in this series and I loved them all. I was hooked from the very beginning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2008

    An interesting perspective

    Written from the point of view of the woman scorned, The Virgin's Lover tells the story of Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley's 'relationship' during the first part of her reign. I like that it doesn't portray Elizabeth as perfect. She was young and inexperienced and easily influenced by the man she loved. As for how historically accurate it is, I can't say, but if you enjoy a good story, filled with intrigue and romance, then you'll enjoy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    The Virgin's Lover

    I love this book, but my favorite is The Other Boleyn Girl. This comes at a second though I really reccomend it. It opened my eyes to see the deciet in the elizebethan court

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2006

    A Student's Review of 'The Virgin's Lover'

    The Virgin¿s Lover, by Philippa Gregory, is filled with all the basic elements to tell a good story: sex, scandal, and murder. It is a story about Queen Elizabeth I and a childhood friend of hers, Robert Dudley. The story begins during the first year of Elizabeth¿s reign, the year in which the crown is still unsteady on her head. She faces many problems such as whether to go to war with Scotland and France and having to bring back the Protestant church in which her sister, Queen Mary took away. In this book, it is separated into different sections, into different characters and their part in the life of Robert and Elizabeth. Two people in this story play an important role in these lover¿s lives, Elizabeth¿s Lord Secretary William Cecil and Amy Dudley, the wife of Robert Dudley. William Cecil wants Elizabeth to marry an eligible bachelor, not Robert who is a married man and a former traitor. The love between Elizabeth and Robert does not form until the first summer of Queen Elizabeth¿s reign. She gives him new and better titles, allows him to have his rooms next to hers so she can slip in without anyone knowing. Stories and rumors of the romantic affair between Robert and Elizabeth reach Amy, who is living in the homes of her friends. She starts to believe these rumors and grows jealous of the queen, leading to heartbreak. Knowing that the Queen is in love with him, Robert tries to use him charm in making Elizabeth to grant him a divorce, so he can leave Amy, marry Elizabeth, and become King of England. Many obstacles come in the way of Roberts dream, and in the end, Elizabeth makes a choice that changes her and the lives around her. I completely recommend reading this book, to adults and to teenagers. It takes you back to a time where there was danger to anyone who had any connections to a reigning monarch. It is a story about treason and fear. A story about forbidden love between two soul mates, it is a book you wouldn¿t want to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2006

    A Great Historicaly Fictious Account of an Amazing Event

    Although many of the details in this book are based on imagination and not facts, its a wonderful historical account. Its a comepletley innovative way of writing about an event in history. Philippa Gregory adds character and life into characters and gives them personality. Although historians speculate that some of these accounts and behaviors are false its still a fascinating book. Be sure to read it with an open mind as well. It's not like most historic accounts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    love to read

    I througly enjoyed this novel. I was trapped with curiosity in the first few lines because I wanted to know why Amy did not like the new queen. I am not much of a romantic reader but even though this had its romantic moments I guess you could call it that i still enjoyed the story and the plot. i am not very happy with the outocme but i think it was a fitting outcome. i think that if you like history, romance and mystery then this would be the right pick for you!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2006

    Don't listen to other reviewers

    I have read many novels and some nonfiction books on Elizabeth and the entire Tudor era. And i will agree that Ms. Gregory did take a much different twist. Elizabeth was a lot more week, and Robert more ambitious. Some people say that this is the wrong interpretation, how could they possibly know that this isnt really what it was like? It seems to me Ms. Gregory's version is more believeable, no one is perfect to never have a selfish thought. I think that the characters imperfections made the story more realistic. I also like how this novel showed alot of Amy's side of the story and gave an intresting possible answer to one of history's unsolved riddles. One of the few things i can say negetive about this book is the lack of an ending. It simply finished, when i was looking forward to how this Elizabeth would react to Roberts marriage to Lettice Knolleys but it never got there and rather that was explained in the epolouge.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2005

    Another good Philippa Gregory book!

    I also disagree with the negative review below. It was a very good book and very well written. I think a very important thing most of the Tudor fanatics are forgetting when reading this book is that it is FICTION. The story is based on people who actually existed but veers off from there. Ms. Gregory did her research (check her sources in the back of the book) and formulated her own version of Elizabeth's life. I didnt like how weak and wishy washy Elizabeth was but the story was very interesting none the less. It pulled me in, I was rooting for Elizabeth and Dudley for part of the book and hating them the next. I even gasped out loud at the ending. Im looking forward to Ms. Gregory's new book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2005

    Oh My

    I really enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queens Fool. This book was just as good a the first two but so sad. I guess I can believe that people with that much power back then would do such things. Elizabeth is portrayed as a spineless woman and it makes me hate her so. I had hoped for a happier ending for Amy than what she got and she truely deserved more but Philippa could not make a new ending in what is already history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2005

    Not Gregory's Best...But Still Good

    As someone who became instantly addicted to 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and followed quickly with 'The Queen's Fool', I was somewhat disappointed by the way this latest installment turned out. As I see many reviewers have already remarked, Elizabeth I came across as a somewhat whiny, spineless woman...not at all like the figure we have in our minds. But I'm willing to forgive for that, taking into consideration the fact that this is portraying the first few years of Elizabeth's reign, when she was still very unsure of her place on the throne, and trying to win the affections of the people in an era when it was believed women could not accomplish anything without the help of a man. If there are more books to come about her reign, I'll be interested to see if Gregory develops and matures her character, for we already see some part of that at the end when Eliabeth rejects Robert Dudley, going against her heart to do what is best for her country. What I was disappointed with was the way the story seemed to move so slowly. Whereas with the other two (though it was the best with 'The Other Boleyn Girl') where I could not put the book down for fear of missing something important, this one seemed somewhat tame...though there was plenty of steamy scandal, so that compensated somewhat. Rating this against some of Gregory's other works, it was not her best, but I still highly recommend it as I feel it is still far better than many of the books I come across on the shelf. She does a wonderful job of bringing the past to life, and I immensely enjoy her works, even when they are not her best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2005

    Read The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool first!

    This book is a great read if one has already read the previous two volumes of the trilogy. I enjoyed this book and loved the insider's view of the intrigue and constant scheming within the court. I see the characters' constant jockying for position, trading gossip as currency and brown nosing mirroring what takes place in businesses and boardrooms in today's world. I laughed out loud at the 'marketing techniques' Dudley used in planning the Queen's public appearences. The portrayal of Elizabeth was consistant with what one finds of a person more or less born to power, and who is surrounded primarily with 'yes men'. The characters come across as being very human and their situations, timeless. Ms Gregory has a great gift for bringing historical figures to life and I appreciate her dedication to historical integrity in her work. On the downside, in reading the novel, I had the feeling that Ms. Gregory (no doubt, a brilliant writer) had a deadline to meet in order to publish this book. It seems to have been written in haste and the writing lacks the prescision found in the previous two novels. I found some of the material repetetive and the dialogue sometimes forced. This may be a function of Ms Gregory's descision to take the voice of this novel from the first person to the omniscient third person. Mary and Hannah of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool, respectively, gave convincing blow-by-blow descriptions of their daily lives which took place among extraordinary times. The third book jumps around from Elizabeth, Dudley, Cecil (my favorite character), and Amy. The shifts are distracting and may be what makes the book seem, at times, tedious. Again, I greatly admire Ms Gregory as an author. I wonder if her choice of using the third person voice was a result of there not being a character (even a fictional character, as was Hannah) who could convincingly give a first person account of the history the author chose to cover in this book. Another complaint I have is that the author's portrayal of Amy does not seem consistant with the violent, unpleasant Amy from The Queens Fool. While I thought Amy was fleshed-out well in The Virgin's Lover, I don't think the characterization flowed well from the previous book. All in all, I would recommend this book, but it is not of the caliber of Ms Gregory's previous writings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    Great Read!

    It doesn't have the same speed and zest that 'The Other Boleyn Girl' had but it was a wonderful follow up to 'The Queen's Fool'. I hope she continues to write other books like these. I have just finished 'The Virgins Lover' and my co-workers have already borrowed it. There are 4 of us reading these books and we can't put them down. I love them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2005

    Enjoyable!

    Although not quite as good as The Other Boleyn Girl, and a little slow at times, this book was interesting a fun to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2004

    Young Reviewer

    I have read other books by Phillipa Gregory and I know that this one will be awesome like the others.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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