Elizabeth's excited triumph is short-lived. She has inherited a bankrupt country in which treason is normal and foreign war a certainty. Her faithful advisor, William Cecil, warns her that she will survive only if she marries a strong prince to govern the rebellious country. But the one man Elizabeth desires is her childhood friend, the irresistible, ambitious Robert Dudley.
Only Robert truly revels in the opportunities of the new reign. He knows he can reclaim his destiny at Elizabeth's side. Elizabeth cannot resist his courtship, and as the young couple slowly falls in love, Robert starts to think the impossible: could he set aside his wife and marry the young queen?
Philippa Gregory paints a portrait of a country on the brink of greatness, a young woman grasping at power, a young man whose ambition is greater than his means, and the wife who cannot forgive them.
©2004 Philippa Gregory; (P)2004 Simon and Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon and Schuster Audio Division, Simon and Schuster Inc.
"An engaging story." (Booklist)
"Best-seller Gregory captivates again with this expertly crafted historical about the beautiful young Virgin Queen....Gregory amasses a wealth of colorful period detail to depict the shaky first days of Elizabeth I's reign." (Publishers Weekly)
This book is extremely well written, while bringing to the table an entirely new point of view - that of Leicester's wife, Amy Robsart Dudley. I have always wondered about her, and this was a fascinating journey into her experiences, based on historical fact. Elizabeth appears in this novel in all of her sparkling glory, but very human as well. Phillipa Gregory injects the wild ride of political intrigue into the story, as we jump back an forth between Amy and the court. I wish I could read it again. My only complaint is the length - I would have read twice the length!
I enjoy reading about Queen Elizabeth, and I also enjoy fictionalized history (a la Tracy Chevalier) but this book was disappointing. I know it is fiction, but it painted a picture of a whiny and powerless Elizabeth. That tone ruined the entire story for me. Did not enjoy it at all.
I purchased this book because I enjoy reading about Elizabeth I (and I had never read a Phillipa Gregory book before.) I will say that I gained something: I will not be tempted to waste time and money on another Phillipa Gregory book. I had expected that the strong character of Elizabeth I would prove a dynamic catalyst for this novel of the Queen's relationship with Robert Dudley. What I got instead was a simpering, ineffective and often pathetic Queen saved from herself by Dudley and her counselor Cecil, by turns. I am fully aware this was a NOVEL, not meant to be fact. However, I believe it does a tremendous injustice to her subject, and to all those people less informed about the real Elizabeth I, who will stumble on to this travesty and believe it to be based on fact. A novel depicting the complexity of the love, shared experiences and inter-dependence of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley could have been engaging, enlightening, and exciting. This novel is certainly not it. That being said, it was well written for a romance novel, so if that is your interest, go for it. I suppose it really matters little whose breast swells, and whose heart pounds.
I agree with most of the other reviewers (interestingly we primarily seem to be women) in that the portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in this work seems to be contrary to everything I've ever learned. I've never seen her portrayed as so fickle and spineless, being swayed by whomever spoke to her last. That is misleading.
The story is good in that it holds your attention, but the spin on Elizabeth is fallacious. Such a queen would have been long forgotten.
I gave it two stars instead of three because there is so little actual history represented. It's a personal preference, but I really like history in my historical fiction. KWIM?
This was the most uneventful, boring book that I have ever listened to. I hate to comment so negatively because two other Philippa Gregory books were outstanding - The Constant Princess and The Other Bolyn Girl. Don't bother with this one!
I have a weakness for historical fiction AND anything paranormal or post-apocalyptic in nature. I'm always willing to try a new series. Favorite authors range from Philippa Gregory (AMAZING) to Kim Harrison.
I was disappointed to find that I had wasted my time with the "Abridged" version. Philippa Gregory does such a beautiful job developing her characters and describing the time period.
Gregory's stories typically build a beautiful crescendo with a fluid telling. The abridged version was choppy, disjointed and a complete discredit to the author. Hope I never make that mistake again. Looking forward to actually reading this book.
I agree with almost all of these reviews. This book makes Elizabeth into a powerless slut who can't do anything without a man. She's probably rolling over in her grave.
This book annoyed me as I've always thought of Queen Elizabeth as a strong woman. This story portrayed Elizabeth as a nervous, weak-willed, indecisive puppet controlled by the men around her. It was fine as a story, but decidedly unsatisfying if you envision Elizabeth as a powerful monarch who was ahead of her time.
I too enjoy reading about Elizabeth, the reason I purchased this book. I really wish I did not waste my time. This book took all the greatness away from the Queen and made it seem as if she could not make a move without Robert. If you love historic facts and stories, I would not waste your time on this "harlequin romance"
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