The Virgin's Lover is a book about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Lord Robert Dudley. The setting takes place just after the death of her sister Queen Mary. It also gives details of the life of Amy Dudley, Robert's wife. Again, Philippa Gregory is an outstanding storyteller, but the characters frustrated me throughout the book. Although Elizabeth was known for vacillating when it came to decision making, this Elizabeth in the book was a bit annoying and so unsure of herself. In the book, some of the most powerful sayings that Elizabeth was known to have said were said by Sir William Cecil, her adviser. In her book, Ms. Gregory puts to rest any rumor of Elizabeth's virginity since there are several love scenes throughout the book with Robert. Nothing, too steamy thankfully. I don't like to envision Queen Elizabeth as wanton or whorish, but she is portrayed her that way in this book. She is outright evil and heartless in some scenes. But maybe I just have a romantic's view of the Queen.
Lord Robert is portrayed as an ambitious, hypocritical, heart-swooning jerk - which I believe to have been true. He is easy to hate and scheming and it is annoying just how much power he has over Elizabeth. He gets what he deserves though.
Sir William Cecil is portrayed well. He was a list maker and always kept pushing Elizabeth to marry. In his heart he would have preferred a king to rule England instead of a woman. Although he had his biases, his true heart was for England and he counseled Elizabeth as best he could. I just believe that Elizabeth listened to him a lot more than what the book says.
Amy is a simple farm girl that is deeply in love with her husband. She is also frustrating to read about just because she is just so simple. The author does great in letting us see just how frustrating it was to live with her. She is the victim in the book and you feel really bad for her.
The book ends with the death of Amy. I will not say how she dies but Ms. Gregory does a great job in ending the book and tying any loose ends.
This is not the best book Ms. Gregory has written. I only kept on reading because I wanted to know how Amy died. I was happy with the ending and it made it worth the read. I see Queen Elizabeth in a different light though. She was indecisive, used foul language, but I don't think she was wanton.
I recommend this book to anyone wanting to read an interesting twist to Amy's death. If you hold a romantic view of Elizabeth's virginity and strength, this book is not for you. It will frustrate you and make you want to throw the book away.
Rating: 5 stars out of 10