First Instinct Review Elizabeth Waaaaa I can t rule England without you Robert Come my Sweet I shall pet you and stroke you and rule you and call you George.Elizabeth Ooo, Lord Robert Me Shut the hell up With A Little More Thought The verdict after reading The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Queen s Fool and The Constant Princess is that this one is definitely the worst.I hated the way Elizabeth was portrayed Yes, from historical records it does seem as though she was indecisive and dependent, but would have been nice to see at least a hint of the strong, older Elizabeth that is common in other works about her instead of a simpering wench who s too stupid and lovestruck to do anything but whimper at the misguided object of her affections Amy, who shows some backbone all of once in the entire novel isn t any better, and when the climax happened, I completely didn t care and was kind of glad that she wouldn t be whining any Coupled with the annoyingly suave and power hungry Robert Dudley, I spent most of the time reading this fantasizing about punching all the main characters in the head Speaking of Amy s death, it was kind of a downer for someone like me who didn t know the history that they spoiled what happens at the end of the book on the back cover Further, the back cover was misleading because it says the book is about her death, and the aftermath of that death, but she doesn t die until 20 pages before the book ends, and then the book ends completely abruptly.At least upon it s completion, I derive some satisfaction in giving it a crappy review. I love Gregory s books and was looking forward to this one because I love to read about Elizabeth I, but I was a bit disappointed in the way she is portrayed in this version She comes across as a weak woman who is letting herself be bullied by the ambitious man she is in love with While I don t know that much about Robert Dudley, this book makes him seem very selfish and determined to do anything to be King of England I also switch between hating his first wife, Amy, and feeling sorry for her, though I think most of the time I feel like she should have seen that Robert was not going to come back to her and gotten on with her life The book was a good book, well written, interesting to read like all of Gregory s books, but I was disappointed in the way Elizabeth was portrayed. AMY ROBSART WAS NOT ILLITERATE The historical record shows that she was well educated and there are letters that were preserved written in her own hand She also was the financial manager of the Robsart estate It bothers me that, rather than relying on the historical record, Gregory chose to portray Robsart as poorly educated, flaky and with no money of her own in order to make her seem dependent on those that surrounded her Gregory also omits Robsart s visit to court in 1559, when she spent a month living in London I understand this is fiction, but Gregory is playing wildly fast and loose here.It also bothered me that none of the female protagonists in this book seem remotely capable of standing on their own two feet Robsart is dependent on everyone who comes along and is an absolute ninny and Elizabeth is always wailing to either Cecil or Dudley.I kept reading to find out what would happen next, so in that way it was engaging However, there s not a character in here that you can root for, save perhaps Cecil. This book absolutely enraged me I normally like Phillippa Gregory for a trashy historical read but what she did in this novel made me not want to read her any She takes Elizabeth the Great, arguably the greatest woman in the history of Western civilization, and turns her into a stupid whining weak, vapid character There is literally a line in the book something where Elizabeth says something like, Oh shut up At least you have a man to make your decisions for you Boo Hiss This is one of the worst books I ve ever read from one of my favorite authors.Now, that that is out of my system, let me begin I am a big Gregory fan The Other Boleyn Girl is one of my favorite novels However, when a writer abandons filling in what we don t know, for downright changing the facts, they are no longer writing historical fiction, but fantasy and that is what this book is The problem Gregory s attempt at maligning Elizabeth the First s character.Now, I knew she had a strong love of Queen Mary from The Queen s Fool , where she attempted to paint Mary as a decisive, loving, and good queen who just fell upon hard times and was a victim of circumstance, instead of the inferior ruler, even if loving woman, that history shows us she is However, he description of Elizabeth, while it viewed her as conniving and a bit of a whore also very unlikely considering her mother s death also acknowledged her strength, as an intelligent, decisive woman with a will to survive and lead, one who would, in the words of her character Hannah Green fight like a bated cat rather than give up and weep.But with Elizabeth front and center, Gregory cannot contain her venom, and changes her OWN portrayal of Elizabeth so roundly that one would think it was written by a different person altogether No doubt the Virgin Queen had her flaws history shows us she was vain, ruthless at times, and had a serious temper However, history, every POSSIBLE historical source, shows us she was also intelligent, wise, strong willed, and took a full hand in ruling her country Indeed, a great point is made in how many times she shot her councillors down to do what she had determined was right and it turned out best for her country But Gregory attempts to paint her as a weak willed ninny, who was foolish and lazy caring only for love, and who could barely rule herself, let alone a country This is, quite simply, not true, and for a historical fiction writer to ignore historical fact, when she had so closely followed it before, suggests a deep seated anger and resentment, the source of which I cannot fathom.This hatred, or disdain, IS indeed the problem with The Virgin s Lover Gregory doesn t like ANYONE she is writing about Lord Dudley is a selfish conniving bastard His wife Amy is infuriatingly annoying and simpering, and the picture of a stereotypical raving woman you start off with a wealth of sympathy to give her by virtue of her situation, that of a woman in love with a cheating man she cannot leave, but by God if she doesn t throw it all out the window and try her very best to make you want to strangle her by her bodice laces And Elizabeth is, of course, to Gregory, the devil in a woman s shape.If Gregory doesn t like her characters, why should we Her skill at painting the details of the past and bringing the reader into the days of Renaissance England are utterly wasted on characters who are completely unlikable, and on a story which reads like a 1500 s Catholic smear pamphlet against Elizabeth and not a novel.It is just plain boring, and a waste of your time Her desperate attempts to do all she can to convince people Queen Elizabeth wasn t a competent ruler against all historical fact simply make for a downright bad book If you want a good look at Queen Elizabeth the First pick up ANY historical book on her life her life is interesting enough without fiction If you want an exciting, engrossing look into Tudor Elizabethan and now War of the Roses era England try ANY of Gregory s other novels.Gregory is a fine author when she is writing about characters against whom she does not have a severe vendetta No one wants to read a book with no one to root for Ignore this pile of venom, and pick up The Other Boleyn Girl. Again, my love for this author grows I have watched the movie Elizabeth a long time ago, and really remembered none of it.but following the history from each book, and building on all the events in these stories, I have gained such a wealth of knowledge, and appreciation for this period of history.Since my knowledge of Elizabeth and her reign of power is very limited pretty much nonexistant I found her love affair with Dudley very intriguing especially after following The Queen s Fool and learning a bit of background of his early relations to the monarch and Elizabeth herself I felt this story developed futher into the details of his character In The Queen s Fool he is almost a likeable character, and although he still has parts of him that draw you in throughout The Virgin s Lover, Phillipa Gregory develops the story and the characters in such a way that you understand the reasoning and logic behind most all of their actions, including the actions he ambitiously takes as well as those painful actions taken against him Although Dudley s motives are usually self serving, the author does a brilliant job of humanizing each and every character so you can see the whole story as well as how each indiviual character may see it through their eyes You are made to feel such an expanse of emotion from utimate heartbreaking pity for the character Amy Dudley, to such an appreciation for the cunning strength and intellect that William Cecil uses in order to keep the balance of the kingdom in check, and ultimately sustained Again, I would like to continue to develop my knowledge and research this amazing woman that reigned for so many years, Queen Elizabeth This book gives such an insight into this woman that held and reigned in an empire solidly for so many years One fact I have dicovered clear than anything in my expolartion of these 5 novels is that the position of King or Queen is not one of comfort or joy for long, in fact I may go as far to say it is not an enviable position at all I was sad to close that book, although I hear she has another coming out this fall about Mary Queen of Scots.and a few other books that are definitely on my list of MUST READS.until the next book ends, happy reading 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 ReignAs 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 DudleyBut 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 CourtOthers 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 WonThen Someone Acts In Secret, And For Elizabeth, Dudley And The Emerging Kingdom, Nothing Will Be As PlannedBlending 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 This was on my summer reading list I read many of the other reviews I don t understand why this was one of the books for us to read It sounds like one of the author s other books would have made a much better choice I thougth it was pretty awful The book should have been 200 pages, not 430 I don t quite understand how this book is appropriate There are at least five pretty detailed sex scenes, and two detailed murders I didn t mind the sex scenes, but for a school that uses the term co ed nudity when referring to the fact that wearing sexual references on clothing is against school policy, I was surprised There was one fifty page stretch, perhaps , when absolutely nothing happened It could have easily been summarized in five pages The overall writing was a bit dreary to get through Not that many page turning parts It did feel like it was rushed and not edited well I would guess a good editor would have cut significant parts to make it shorter and bearable There were also several grammar and spelling mistakes that I caught, that annoyed me I only had sympathy for two characters and only actually liked one of the characters Amy s story, Dudley s wife, is told with honesty and I fet sympathy for her Elizabeth and Dudley are horrible, making quick decisions based on emotion with no thought to their greater responsibility I have always thought fondly of Elizabeth and her political grace in that period, but this book did not portray her in a postive light I also felt sympathy for Cecil who was just trying to do his duty He did get snubbed at one point, but came back He was good at his job even if his morals are questionable I did see an underlying current of lines that I liked Dark understatements, usually in the form of thoughts, that sum up an event well If her other work has of that I would be inclined to try her again with one of the other books people enjoyed I did like the ending The fact that Amy was dead made it less interesting for me to read but I slogged up to that point The cleverness of Gregory s writing shows through with Dudley s realization of the huge mistake he made trading one good women who loved him and stood with him when he lost his prosperity and honor in the court, for the queen s quick love and the possible postion of being a king In the end he s left a ruined man, with neither a loving wife nor a crown At that point he finally realizes the worth of Amy A little bit late, I might add. I had high hopes for this novel, after the lovely experience I d had with Phillipa Gregory s The Queen s Fool.I love just about anything to do with Queen Elizabeth I, and a historical novel of her romance with Robert Dudley was intriguing, to say the least HoweverThe novel was weak at best Oh, the writing is not bad, although the number of typos and grammatical errors really threw me for a loop how can a work of this calibre fail so miserably in basic grammar and punctuation Moreover, there seemed to be a few places where either the writer or the editor was a in a big hurry, and ideas were either incompletely added or removed, leaving some sentences hanging and ideas not completed Odd Just seemed careless or lazy to me.The story is one we ve heard a thousand times Good Queen Bess and Lord Dudley had the hots for one another, hooked up, then split up because she decided to follow the Virgin Queen PR route, for the betterment of the country The characters are well fleshed out, which Gregory always does well humanizing historical characters Doesn t mean you like them, perse, but feel they were human, at least.Elizabeth is rather a secondary character when all is said and done, so if you re looking for an Elizabeth centered novel, this isn t quite it It s about Dudley, and the two women who loved him concurrently Not bad Not great, but not bad. I did not enjoy this book at all Aside from being tedious and at least twice as long as it needed to be, there was not one single character that I liked The queen s advisors and all of the minor characters were just annoying Robert Dudley was slimey Amy Dudley should have been sympathetic, but wasn t Instead, she was so dopey that by halfway through the story I was anxiously awaiting her death And of course, there was Elizabeth It is astounding to me that Philippa Gregory, someone who generally depicts her female characters as strong and complex, would choose to depict England s first great female ruler as a simpering, lovesick, weak willed girl However, by far, the worst thing is the ending I trudged through this story expecting Elizabeth to grow What was my reward Elizabeth fails to become a great and strong ruler, Robert Dudley shows great remorse and even falls in love with his wife once she is dead and in an ending that could have been written by OJ, Amy Dudley s murder is attributed to royal machinations rather than the work of her husband This book flies in the face of history, reason and human nature Philippa Gregory ought to be ashamed of herself.
www.PhilippaGregory.com become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings.Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago Gardens for The Gambia She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website Philipa s Facebook page
- 441 pages
- The Virgin's Lover
- Philippa Gregory
- 11 February 2018 Philippa Gregory