February 19, 2009

Review: The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory

Amazon Product Description

Sumptuous historical novel from bestselling author of THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and THE QUEEN'S FOOL Elizabeth I has acceded to the throne of England, a position she has waited and schemed for all her life. She is surrounded by advisers, all convinced that they know what would be best for the country and certain that a young woman cannot form political judgements. Elizabeth feels that she can rely on just one man: her oldest friend, Robert Dudley. It is soon plain that he is more than merely a friend. In a house in the countryside waits a very different woman, Amy Robsart -- Robert's wife. She has no taste for life at court and longs for the day when her husband will return home and attend to his family. She has loved him since she was a girl, but now they are adults she hardly sees him. Meanwhile, the pressure grows for Elizabeth to marry, for it is unthinkable that a queen should rule on her own. Elizabeth's preference is clear, but he is unavailable. But what if the unthinkable were to happen...Philippa Gregory blends passion, personalities and politics in this stunning novel of the Tudor court and a country divided. 

My Review

I think this is another case of too much hype swirling around the book before I got to read (listen to) it. With The Other Boleyn Girl as my starting point with Philippa Gregory plus my love of the Showtime series The Tudors and the Cate Blanchett movies Elizabeth and Elizabeth I (I still get chills watching the trailers), I had high expectations of this book. To my disappointment the book didn't meet that expectation.

Queen Elizabeth is portrayed as a weak individual who can be pressured into making decisions that go against her beliefs and I’ve always pictured her as a tough, admirable woman. To be fair the book does start out when she’s just appointed Queen at age 25 but I still think she was written too wimpy.

The high point of the book for me was Amy Dudley. She never backed down against Robert’s wish for a divorce and she showed more backbone than Elizabeth.

I will still give it three stars because I didn’t dislike it but I just hoped for more.


Anonymous said...

I've decided that Gregory must really hate Elizabeth, she always depicts her so poorly.

Ladytink_534 said...

Try The Queen's Fool. That was my intro to her books and I really loved it.