It took me forever to read, but I finally got through “The Virgin’s Lover” by Phillippa Gregory. I love Gregory’s writing style and the fact that a lot of her books are set in Elizabethan England. This is the third book I’ve read from that time period and I liked how some of the fictional characters from one book were also in this one.
This book tells the tale of Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley – a romance made popular by the movie “Elizabeth” starring Cate Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes. This book adds a dimension by also addressing Dudley’s wife Amy, who died mysteriously from a fall. Some have speculated that it was murder, others that it was suicide, and still others think it was an accident that she fell down six stone stairs and died. Gregory deftly tackles the true story of a young queen desperately in love with a married man while her kingdom hangs in the balance waiting for her to lead them (albeit with a king at her side).
Having said that, I have to say that this book was very repetitive and that got annoying after a while. I’d say at least a dozen times the writer put in a scene where William Cecil, E1’s faithful advisor, told her to stay away from Dudley else ruin the kingdom forever, causing E1 to bite her nails and weep and wail at the thought of not being with Dudley anymore. That grew tiresome the third time that scene played out. And there were other similar repetitive scenes – such as Amy’s constant lamenting over her adulterous husband, waiting for his return that never came.
I can’t recommend the book, but I can’t condemn it either. I just think that a wise reader will skip the repetitive passages and just stick with the meat of the book. That kind of reader would definitely finish it faster than I did.
Two ladies in waiting out of five.