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Don't Compare This To Actual History!
on November 25, 2005
Although new to this author I've read a few of her earlier works and truly enjoyed her take on historical figures and the stories she created around them. With that said I feel that Ms. Gregory's latest effort "The Virgin's Lover" although entertaining was a tad of a let down. Perhaps due to the fact that it's a story about Queen Elizabeth and there are so many preconceived ideas about this amazing woman that creating a story for her cheats the reader.
The story revolves around the love triangle of the young queen Elizabeth, Robert Dudley, and Dudley's wife Amy. There was always a connection between Elizabeth and Robert that neither could admit to or act on. Despite this their relationship grows, changes and although Elizabeth loves Robert she draws the line at allowing him to rule as King. She'd rather he rule as Queen's Consort. On the otherside of this coin is Robert and his wife Amy. Amy is a Catholic and although she practices in secret a divorce from Robert is not in the cards. Elizabeth feeling torn turns to her trusted advisor William Cecil looking for help. Cecil has no love for Dudley and he knows that it would be bad policy if he was made King. But he is more concerned with the fact that the Dudley family historically has participated in treasonous activities and that Roberts love for Elizabeth may not be the best thing for the young queen. After all an ambitious man will do almost anything to see that he gets what he want's. When love, a countries best interests, and a secret meet...nothing good can come from it. What will Elizabeth do when faced with this situation and William Cecil's plans to put it to rest?
Historically speaking it's difficult to put twists and turns on events that truly happened. The creativity then come from the concept of "what if..." and I feel that this is where Ms. Gregory started her plotting. This is a fantistical love triangle that truly existed. Robert Dudley was the Queens favorite and this is historically understood. Perhaps this is why this story fell flat. No matter how hard you try...you just can't re-write history. Ms. Gregory though does an amazing job of bringing to life, the court, the time period, and her characters Robert and Elizabeth. The reader will truly feel the angst of this love triangle. Come to this read with an open mind and the reader should do just fine. Forget what you were taught and just enjoy this work of fiction as it stands.