The Virgin's Lover, Paperback
4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Sumptuous historical novel set in the court of Elizabeth I, from Sunday Times No.1 bestseller Philippa Gregory, the author of The Other Boleyn Girl.

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 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.

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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9780007147311



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Even though I started reading this reluctantly, and regretted buying it;Even thought I was almost entirely sure what would happen in the end;Even though I didn't feel any compassion for any character until the final chapter;Even though I haven't wanted to slap someone this much since reading Bridgit Jones's Diary;I still could not put this down.

Review by
The Virgin's Lover is about Queen Elizabeth I. Gregory takes a real-life mystery and builds a story around it. The unknown in Elizabeth's life involves the puzzling death of Amy, the wife of Elizabeth's lover, Sir Robert Dudley. Gregory takes a stand on what really happened and builds her case in her stories, creating a believable argument with her use of period details as well as historical and biographical facts.British actress Davina Porter did a great job narrating this abridged story, using various accents from Great Britain to distinguish the female characters. The men all sounded the same, but fortunately there are only two main male characters, Dudley and Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth's main adviser. I really enjoyed this book, and plan to read more of Gregory's Tudor England series of historical fiction.
Review by

The Virgin's Lover is the 5th Tudor Court novel of Phillippa Gregory. The pace of the writing has slowed since her earlier novels, but she certainly keeps up with the teachery and duplicity of court life with extraordinary sharpness of wit. I wanted to see Elizabeth as she has been portrayed by so many: formidable, fearless and resolutely single minded in her ambitions for her country and for the crown. In the Virgin's Lover she is utterly in thrall to Dudley and at his beck and call. She can do nothing without him at her side. She is nervous and weakened without his counsel and struggles to make important decisions of state without his guidance. At first I felt rather short-changed at this rendering of a supposedly strong woman, however, I ended up rather enjoying seeing a different portrayal of Elizabeth, as she no doubt would have been in the early days of her reign. This fictional account of her has certainly whet my appetite to learn more about the monarch, based on historical research. For me, the real star of the show is William Cecil. He is truly masterful in his cold handed way of double dealing and balancing the many conflicting interests at court. Gregory has created a masterpiece in him. I would certainly like to know more about him in life.The Virgin's Lover must be taken for what it is, a gripping and enthralling insight into Tudor court life, and the humanity behind the legends and figures in history. I would heartily recommend this to anyone wanting a little intelligent escapism.

Also by Philippa Gregory   |  View all