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


A 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. Now I can be the queen that my mother intended me to be . . . the queen I was born to be. 1558. After years of waiting, Princess Elizabeth accedes to the throne of England. But the country is divided, the restoration of the Protestant faith ignites opposition from the church and beyond, and court remains a treacherous place. Many believe that Elizabeth must marry if she is to survive.

For Robert Dudley, Elizabeth's ascension is a glorious new dawn, and he quickly positions himself as the young queen's favourite.

Dudley is a man of powerful lineage; his father had been a kingmaker at the court of Henry VIII.

But Dudley has many enemies, amongst them William Cecil, the queen's most trusted advisor. As powerful families vie for stakes in the emerging kingdom, Elizabeth must secure her own future.


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

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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.

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