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Summary

1558. After years of waiting, Princess Elizabeth accedes to the throne of England. For many, Elizabeth’s ascension is a glorious new dawn. Not so for Amy Dudley, whose ambitious husband, Sir Robert, is the acknowledged favourite of the new queen - a queen who must marry to secure her survival.   

But Robert Dudley has many powerful enemies. And although she is clearly besotted with him, the virgin queen will not risk her hold on the throne.  

Desire and ambition are unleashed at the court, and at her home Amy Dudley will face the ultimate betrayal.   

With an exclusive afterword written and read by Philippa Gregory, exploring the inspiration behind The Virgin’s Lover. 

©2005 Philippa Gregory (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"A book to lose yourself in...a simmering mixture of intrigue, lust and betrayal at the court of Elizabeth I, it breathes new life into the suspected love affair between the young queen and Robert Dudley." (Daily Mail)

"An enjoyable read, and Gregory’s energetic writing carries one along." (Sunday Telegraph

What listeners say about The Virgin’s Lover

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  • Overall
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Enthralling 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Wow what a wonderful and refreshing view of the love affair of Elizabeth I and her favourite Lord Dudley

Brilliantly performed and narrated a real delight from start to finish

1 person found this helpful

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Beautifully read and historical story made intriguing

This is a good listen. It has taken me a while to finish it as I think it takes a while to get into it and at some point when both Elizabeth 1s and Amy Dudley’s lives seems especially miserable I didn’t find I was enjoying either if there plight being toyed with by men.
The ending was gripping especially as you know what is coming and this seemed like a fantastic example if ‘what could have happened to Amy’ - and who did it and I think very likely.
Perdita Weeks reads it fantastically this is the 3rd book I have heard her narrate and have not been disappointed.
Lovely bonus 5 mins interview with Philippa Gregory at the end as well

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Terrible narrator

I didn’t get past the first couple of chapters due to the narrator. It was like she was whispering all the time terrible, so I can’t say about the book but Phillips Gregory is a brilliant writer, I’m so upset that I couldn’t tolerate the narration I would have loved to hear the whole book

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average. preferred to read it.

I have found quite often with this series that books I didn't enjoy reading, I like as audio books and books I did enjoy, I sometimes dislike in an audio format. This was the later. I found it focused almost on political aspects rather than social and personal aspects of the characters so sometimes felt a little boring.. Elizabeth is not written at all in a flattering light but as weak and indecisive and relying on men to rule.
The character of Robert Dudley as ambitious and selfless was written very well.
I would reccomend the White Queen which is my fave audio book in this series so far.

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Not up to Philippa Gregory's usual standards

A perfectly good tale. Well narrated just IMHO not up to Philipa Gregory's usual standards. By another author I'd have said it was fine but unfortunately I have come to expect more than this from the author. In summary, not my favourite of her books and I'd recommend first time readers to pick any other title from the series to get a better idea of the author's talents.

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In some parts it's slow but ending is very good

This is a book written from a number of sides and some of the "chick lit" are not great as an audible title but highly surprising end and the few minutes at the end with Philippa Gregory worth their weight in gold.

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Not the best

I am a big fan of all of Philippa Gregory’s ‘Cousins war’ and ‘Tudor’ novels but this was just a bit dull. Although I appreciate that this was a different and less flattering interpretation of Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley’s love affair, it did seem to make her out as a complete and utter moron. In fact most characters (other than William Cecil) came across as idiots and this didn’t make for the best listening. Also most of the story seems to be told through the state of the Queen’s cuticles which was not so riveting.
The performance was great although the narrator did have a habit of trailing off at the end of sentences which made some things hard to hear.
Overall a bit of a disappointment in an otherwise much loved series.