It feels good to have my Tudor fix. So far, I have read nearly all of Philippa Gregory’s Tudor novels and have one more to go (The Other Queen). What I love about her books is you always have an attachment to at least one of her characters in her novels. Or, you might just get attached to all of them. In this case, with The Virgin’s Lover. It’s very different. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s my monthly hormonal emotions but these characters in these novels had a very strong impact on me for some reason either that, or Philippa Gregory is just so gifted at writing out wonderful characters.
First things first. I recommend you read The Queen’s Fool before reading this one. It contains a bit background information and a bit of a foundation to carry you over to The Virgin’s Lover. It’s not necessary but it’s nice to have that extra bit of info in the small moments where the book makes a reference to the past. Besides, The Queen’s Fool was a good book so why would you not want to read it? 🙂
There’s plenty of intrigue and double crossing in here, so if you’re really into that this is the book for you. I love that stuff. I love seeing characters you don’t like get the axe because they were too careless and got double crossed. It’s just so satisfying. Which brings me to this other point.
I hate Robert Dudley.
Everything about him made me want to grind my teeth, made me want to jump into the book and punch him in the gonads, or made me want to run a lance into him. I just can’t stand the guy. He oozes sliminess and his ambition is just way over the top it made you want to roll your eyes and slap him across the head with a sledgehammer. His arrogance made me want to scream. He was all right at first but once you saw past his true colors you just wanted to curl your lip in disgust at the guy. Either I need serious help, or Ms. Gregory just did a wonderful job at character development and creation here. 😛 I have never hated a character so much until I came across Robert Dudley.
Amy (Dudley’s wife) made you want to cringe because she was everything you didn’t want her to be. She was the epitome of submissive wife. There were moments where she finally grew a backbone (and you had to cheer for her during those times) but you just can’t help but pity the poor woman. Of all the characters in the book I sympathized with Amy the most. It was just painful to see her pain and suffering and the way she fawned at Dudley made you want to pity her, but at the same time be quite disgusted with her. She admirable though. She put up with a lot of issues and crap for that time.
It’s hard to decide how I feel about Elizabeth. She’s whiny. She’s NEEDY. She’s clingy. She nearly made me want to jab something in my eye. However there were moments where I thought “Heeeey..she’s not so stupid after all!” so it’s very hard to see Elizabeth in a different view than what you usually see (usually as a very strong character who defied the Spanish Armada). So I thought it was difficult to like her in this novel. I was on the fence with her.
Overall, I thought it was a good read. There are romantic parts but not that explicit and quickly done and over with. So to me, they were tolerable. No battle scenes here which was unfortunate but wasn’t really the main part of the subject anyway (this book rather focuses on Dudley and Elizabeth). The intrigue of court life was here as usual (all of Gregory’s novels have it) so that was good to see. I just really enjoyed the character development and creation in this book.
I give this book a 8 out of 10.