The Virgin’s Lover
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.
Praise for The Virgin’s Lover:
‘A book to lose yourself in…a simmering mixture of intrigue, lust and betrayal at the court of Elizabeth I, it breathes new life into the suspected love affair between the young queen and Robert Dudley’ Daily Mail
‘Convincing and entertaining’ Daily Telegraph
‘An enjoyable read, and Gregory’s energetic writing carries one along’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Gregory’s success lies in restoring humanity to her historical figures’ Daily Mail
‘Gregory is one of the best chroniclers of the ups and downs of the turbulent Tudors…This superbly plotted drama unfolds like an exquisitely embroidered Tudor ruff’ Sainsbury’s Magazine
About the author
Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the internationally bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which became a major film starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Her Cousins’ War novels were the basis for the highly successful BBC series, The White Queen.
Philippa’s other great interest is the charity that she founded twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for over 200 wells in the primary schools of this poor African country.
Philippa is a former student of Sussex University and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University. In 2016, she was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction Award by the Historical Writers' Association. Her love for history and commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. Philippa lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire and welcomes visitors to her site www.PhilippaGregory.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Bestseller Gregory captivates again with this expertly crafted historical about the beautiful young Virgin Queen, portrayed as a narcissistic, neurotic home-wrecker. As in her previous novels about Tudor England (The Queen's Fool, etc.), Gregory amasses a wealth of colorful period detail to depict the shaky first days of Elizabeth I's reign. The year is 1558, an especially dangerous time for the nation: no bishop will coronate Henry VIII's Protestant daughter, the treasury is bankrupt, the army is unpaid and demoralized. Meanwhile, the French are occupying Scotland and threatening to install "that woman" Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. Ignoring the matrimonial advice of pragmatic Secretary of State William Cecil, the 25-year-old Elizabeth persists in stringing along Europe's most eligible bachelors, including King Philip of Spain and the Hapsburg archduke Ferdinand. It's no secret why: she's fallen for her "dark, saturnine" master of horse, Sir Robert Dudley, whose traitorous family history and marriage to the privately Catholic Amy make him an unsuitable consort. Gregory deftly depicts this love triangle as both larger than life and all too familiar; all three characters are sympathetic without being likable, particularly the arch-mistress Elizabeth, who pouts, throws tantrums, connives and betrays with queenly impunity. After a while the plot stagnates, as the lovers flaunt their emotions in the face of repetitious arguments from Amy, Cecil and various other scandalized members of the court. But readers addicted to Gregory's intelligent, well-researched tales of intrigue and romance will be enthralled, right down to the teasingly tragic ending.