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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Interesting Take on Elizabeth

Another Phillipa Gregory title that left me impressed, it did not impress me as much as her previous titles but for anyone who has listened and or read any of her books this one has all the similar elements that her previous titles has. The narration is (as expected) spot on and the story itself was (again as expected) engrossing.

Phillipa Gregory titles always seems to benefit from attracting and employing the best most suited narrators for this type of genre out there. There is nothing I can say more about the narrator than that she (Davina Porter) did an excellent job, there is nothing I can take away from it. She had a task with having to portray a wide array of characters from different viewpoints and she did it with some ease.

The story is something you can get lost in. It starts off a bit slow but it picks up pretty well but it once again starts to drawl a bit in the center. The plot itself is very interesting with the dynamics between Queen Elizabeth, Robert Dudley and Lady Amy being the focal point of the book. Lady Amy's faith throughout the book was both admirable and foolish at the same time if you ask me.... while Robert Dudley's cunning nature is nothing short of disturbing.... Queen Elizabeth comes off as both naive and ruthless at the same time in this book.

Excellent title overall.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anna
  • KELLER, TX, United States
  • 04-04-11

Mixed feelings on a great book.

Several years ago, I bought this book in paperback and read the entire book in one day - I could not put it down. Despite the dramatic license taken at times with history, this book tells a great story that leaves you wanting to know more about every character involved.

The audiobook was a harder sell for me. I've listened to it twice and it makes me question if the book was as great as I thought or if listening to it brings out things I didn't notice in reading it myself. In reading it myself, my pity was stirred for Amy, but in listening to the accent the reader gives Amy and the tone she uses, I find myself frustrated with Amy and sympathizing with Robert Dudley! In the same way, in the book I found Elizabeth, while pert and demanding, also very alluring and charismatic. In this reading, however, she comes across distinctly bratty. I did adjust both times to the accent and it's not necessarily the reader's accent that is bad but her interpretation of the characters. However, it is worth listening to, whether or not you've read the book.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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10th Philippa Gregory Book - Least Favorite

Any additional comments?

I've listened to all of the COUSINS' WAR and loved the stories and preformances. There isn't anything negative that I can think of to say about that series. <br/><br/>The Virgin's lover, is the 5th in the TUDOR series that I've listened to, and I'm REALLY struggling to get through it. It ususally only takes a week or less for me to finish a book, but I'm going into my 3rd week trying to finish this one - 2 hours left....ugh. I think the worst part of it for me is the narration. I'm not sure I want to put all the blame on Davina Porter, as I'm sure there is some type of direction. The narration of Elizabeth is extremely annoying and whinny. The other character narrations are honestly not much better and I really have a hard time staying focused. I also do not find the overall story very interesting, or at least not as interesting as the other 9 Philippa Gregory audio books that I've listened to. If you are like me and cannot skip one in a series, I'd say give it a try, but if it doesn't bother you to skip one, then I'd suggest not wasting your time.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Kiera
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 09-27-12

Narration was like needles through my skull

Seriously, Davina Porter whistles on her S's and after a while it's like someone stabbing you in the eardrum. I listened to her narrate the Outlander series and don't remember this being a problem, but this recording is almost unbearable with headphones on. Otherwise I think she was ok, and the story was good... but not as good as the earlier books in this series.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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shrill and annoying

I could not finish this story. I found Elizabeth to alternate between being weak willed and simpering and shrill and annoying. She never was strong never made a decision. She was lead around by the men of her court by the nose most of the time and by her libido the rest. I kept waiting for her to be strong but with the exception of rare intrigues she was mostly weak. This was not an enjoyable interpretation of Elizabeth.

The story was made all the worse by the awful narration. The voices used for both Amy and Elizabeth were difficult to listen to. Overall between the unrelatable Elizabeth of story and the difficult to listen to narration, I could not finish this story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I got a speeding ticking going over 100mph!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes - I forced my friend to listen to part of this book on a road trip. At first, she made fun of me and she was mad that I would even listen to a book. At the first gas station, my friend wanted to keep the car running so she could listen to the book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cecil - not sure if I am spelling that correctly.

Have you listened to any of Davina Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I am not sure. I don't often remember the names of the actors. Davina Porter did a great job.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was shocked. I also was shocked at the actual history ~ which is written in the book. I think this author did an amazing job at painting the characters with as much fact as possible.

Any additional comments?

ya - so I really did get pulled over by a cop going 100mph while being totally drawn into the book. The cop actually laughed at me because he followed me for seven miles. Ya - cruse control for the next audiobook on the road trip.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Another in the Tudor Series

This one was written 3rd, but is actually 6th in chronological order. I'm reading them in chronological order, but the series can be enjoyed in any order. So far, this one is my least favorite of her two series (The Cousins War and the Tudor Series), but that's because the others set such a high bar. I don't enjoy spending time with the Robert Dudley as she portrays him, so it was a little slower for me to get engrossed in than her other books.

That said, if you're going through the series, this is a must-read because it's about Elizabeth I. I prefer to think of her as Cate Blanchett's portrayal rather than the wish-washy girl as portrayed here, by the description of court life -- and life in -- general during the Tudor era is entertaining.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Benoibe
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 10-26-12

Could have been so much better! Depressing!

I think Gregory must have rushed this book, because the real life story of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley was so fascinating that it shouldn't be hard to write about.

In past books, it was easy to see that Philippa Gregory had a biased opinion of certain characters... It didn't bother me when it didn't detract from the story. In "The Other Boleyn Girl", Gregory is obviously no fan of Anne Boleyn, portraying her as a one dimensional super bitch.

Well in this story, Gregory has a bias toward Elizabeth, and her portrayal of the Queen is negative and highly inaccurate. It did bother me this time. Her version of the beloved rake Robert Dudley was also unsympathetic and just dull. His wife Amy was the obvious "victim", and I did feel bad for her, but her character just didnt move me.

Also, the story was not very interesting. Nothing really happens. Although, It was angsty and had a couple passionate scenes in the beginning... I was hopeful for the first half of the book, but the second half was a disappointment. The name of the book gave me high expectations, as I love the enduring relationship btw the Queen and Sir Robert Dudley. But Gregory told only a tiny part of the story, and upon finishing the book, I just felt really depressed!!!

*********************
For a fantastic and much more accurate view of Elizabeth's younger years, check out Alison Weir's "The Lady Elizabeth". It is exceptional historical fiction.

A recommendation for Philippa Gregory fans: "The Boleyn Inheritance" IS A MUST BUY!!!! It is an extraordinary audiobook, and the narration is perfect, of the highest quality, by all the favorite narrators. (Bianca Amato, Davian Porter, etc)

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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My last Tudor series book- characters totally changed

I think Phillipa forgot what she wrote about in the previous book The Queens Fool. No continuity from one to another. Elizabeth was a methodical aggressive women in the Queens Fool and then in this book Elizabeth is more like a whimpering insecure ninny. The same thing with Ann Dudley. A totally different character from one book to another. Also the narration was terrible. Hard to follow from what one person is saying to another. The story is weak. No depth and no historical details provided. I could not finish the book. I've read every book up until this point and they've all been great until now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Poorly written genre romance novel

I'd heard so much about Philippa Gregory's books and was looking forward to reading one of her historical novels. I understood that license had been taken with the historical facts, and I was prepared for that. What I wasn't prepared for was a poorly edited novel with a plodding plot and text and dialogue of the same quality that's in the average Harlequin romance novel. I got about a third of the way through this on Gregory's reputation and just gave up. I really like Davina Porter as a narrator and it's unfortunate that she does books like this (ie, Outlander series).

5 of 8 people found this review helpful