April 9, 2011

Review : The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory

Title : The Virgin's Lover
Author : Philippa Gregory
Reading Dates : 25 Mar - 3 Apr 2011
The Virgin's Lover (Boleyn)
The Tudor Court Novels
The books in the series so far :
  • The Constant Princess
  • The Other Boleyn Girl
  • The Boleyn Inheritance
  • The Queen's Fool
  • The Virgin Lover
  • The Other Queen
  • The Wise Woman
From goodreads :
From the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool comes a stunning portrait of the first perilous years of Elizabeth I's reign.

As a new queen, Elizabeth faces two great dangers: the French invasion of Scotland, which threatens to put Mary Queen of Scots on her throne, and her passion for the convicted traitor Robert Dudley.

Bud Dudley is already married, and his devoted wife Amy will never give him up, least of all to an upstart Protestant Princess. She refuses to set her beloved husband free to marry the queen; but she cannot prevent him from becoming the favorite and the focus of the feverishly plotting, pleasure seeking court.

Others too oppose the marriage, but for very different reasons. William Cecil, the queen's wisest counselor, knows she must marry for policy; her uncle hates Dudley and swears he will be murder him first. Behind the triangle of lovers, the factions take up their places: the Protestants, the priests, the assassins, the diplomats and the moneymakers. The very coin of England is shaved and clipped to nothing as Elizabeth uncertainly leads her bankrupt country into a war that no-one thinks can be won.

Then someone acts in secret, and for Elizabeth, Dudley and the emerging kingdom, nothing will be as planned.

Blending historical fact with contemporary rumor, Philippa Gregory has created a dark and tense novel of Tudor times, which casts Elizabeth I in a light no one has suggested before. Passionate, fearful, emotionally needy, this is a queen who will stop at nothing.

Book Review of The Virgin's Lover.
I had a harder time getting into The Virgin’s Lover as compared to The Queen’s Fool. The first drew me in almost immediately because I’m in the head of the main character from the start whereas The Virgin’s Lover often changes viewpoints and takes some adjusting to.

The other reason was that by becoming intimately acquainted with Robert Dudley and Elizabeth’s thoughts in the book, it was hard to sympathize or even like them. It was almost as if there is nothing left of them but their ambitions and fickleness. And this puzzles me greatly because if that were all, could they rise as high as they did ? Was it merely a matter of luck ? Amy Dudley too appears in a different light. If The Queen’s Fool gave me the impression of a dullard and a possibly unhinged woman, The Virgin’s Lover has me revising that opinion. For here she exhibits a rather contradictory personality. Practical when it comes to matters involving the governing of her home but weak and pitiful when it comes to her relationships.

In the end, The Virgin’s Lover seems such a tragic tale. One where the most selfish character of them all triumphs. What about you ? What did you think of this one ?

My conclusions :
  • Would I re-read the book ? Maybe, but I wouldn't pick it up if I were in need of some light reading.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series ? Probably but I'd need to fortify myself first. I am certainly curious about Katherine of Aragon and Mary, Queen of Scots histories.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? Not really. These are books I wouldn't be in a hurry to re-read.
  • Who would I recommend this too? Historical fiction fans.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? If you don't mind tragic tales, I think these are definitely worth buying.

1 comment:

  1. Constantly shifting viewpoints is often the reason I stop reading. Thanks for the review.


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