In the autumn of 1558, church bells across England ring out the joyous news that Elizabeth I is the new queen. One woman hears the tidings with utter dread. Amy Dudley, wife of Sir Robert, knows that the peal of bells she hears will summon her husband once more to power, intrigue, and a passionate love affair with the young queen.
Elizabeth's excited triumph is short-lived. She has inherited a bankrupt country where 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: can he set aside his wife and marry the young queen?
Philippa Gregory paints a picture of a country on the brink of greatness, a young woman grasping at her power, a young man whose ambition is greater than his means, and the wife who cannot forgive them.
©2004 Philippa Gregory (P)2011 Simon & Schuster Audio
"Jolly good fun." (Entertainment Weekly)
"[E]xpertly crafted.... readers addicted to Gregory's intelligent, well-researched tales... will be enthralled." (Publishers Weekly)
"No lover of Elizabethan history should be without this novel, nor will any fan be disappointed with the meticulous research and marvelous portraits of Elizabeth, Dudley, and the court." (Romantic Times)
I love this book and the story, but I realllly disliked the narration and the readers voices for all characters. It really took away from the overall story.
I had read The Virgin's Lover a while back and really enjoyed it very much. Listening to it was a totally different experience. The boook came alive!
I generally enjoy Gregory's books, but this one is really not great. It's pretty boring and has little development from chapter to chapter. I was excited to see where Elizabeth's rule picked up after The Queen's Fool, but my expectations were not met. Gregory has a clear bias against Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I, which I can handle, but Elizabeth I fans will dislike this portrayal of the queen from start to finish.
Gregory shows off her ability to say a thing in multiple, unique ways, but there really is no need to hit the reader over the head with Robert Dudley's repeated expressions of ambition and love, no matter how many different and creative ways he says it. Also, Amy Dudley's character was...difficult to endure. Gregory's portrayal shows her becoming ridiculously delusional as the book progresses, but maybe she's suggesting that Amy had some sort of mental illness?
Finally, I thought the performance was pretty weak, mostly because the editing was poor. Sometimes you can hear where the audio clips are cut together, and they leave a pause too long between words or sentences. The pause lengths indicate that it's the close of a section or chapter, and it's confusing with the speaker picks up with a continuation of the current thought. And the narrator's voice for Amy Dudley drove me crazy in its babyish quality, but that could be just me.
This is my least favorite Gregory story and performance thus far.
I have enjoyed many of this author's books because of the interesting historical settings and strong female protagonists. This one has no such lead character, the story is boring and the writing is about a fifth grade level. I do not read pure romance novels but this one surely would fit that category. I have listened to a quarter of it and wont be listening anymore. Very disappointing.
The sample on Audible did not include the voice of the narrator of the book - only a brief summary of the book read by a man
Sometimes you can judge a book by it's cover...
definitely not a favorite, in the Philippa Gregory books /series. Really disappointing.
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