The Virgin's Lover Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Virgin's Lover

The Virgin's Lover is the story of Elizabeth I of England who became queen in 1558. Elizabeth I, the heir upon Queen Mary's death, becomes Queen of England in 1558, during the Tudor Era. She is an ambitious individual who is willing to rule at all costs and on her own terms. In a period in time where women had to marry in order to ensure a lineage and so as to avoid political wars, numerous suitors attempts to win her heart - unsuccessfully.
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The fact of the matter is, Elizabeth is in love with her childhood friend Robert Dudley whom is married to a woman named Amy. Robert and Elizabeth are madly in love with one another and despite Amy's desperate attempts at being a better wife to her husband - becoming more dedicated and fulfilling his every needs - Robert cannot stop thinking about Elizabeth and they keep seeing each other behind Amy's back.

The Court soon start to gossip as Robert, whom Elizabeth appointed to her Court so as to keep him as close to her as possible, spends all of his time steps with Elizabeth. The Court suspect a hidden affair, which gossip quickly comes to the attention of Amy. Amy, even though she had suspected this liaison all along as Robert had always been incredibly fond of Elizabeth - he had always been willing to serve her night and day and were always talking about her - has no other choice but to face the fact that her husband loves another woman. Deserted by her husband who spends months on end to Court - away from the home they once shared, she becomes incredibly depressed.

Meanwhile, Robert and Elizabeth secretly marry at a small chapel, in the form of a betrothal de futuro, i.e., a promise to marry when he will be free from Amy. Robert, somewhat having betrothed a Queen, sets his eyes on kingship, believing he will soon rule the country alongside Elizabeth. But Elizabeth's trusted advisor Cecil, who eventually learn of this secret union and who has been against this affair in the first place as a result of his disdain of Robert and his tarnished family - in which family members were executed for treason, strongly advises the Queen to reconsider proceeding with a formal wedding. Cecil points to the fact that Robert has the reputation of an adulterer who is hated across the country and who wants nothing but to be King to take the power away from Elizabeth. Elizabeth, who is willing to do whatever it takes to remain the sole ruler of the country and who refuses to have her reputation stained thereafter discourage the prospects of an official union with Robert who tirelessly puts pressure on the topic.

Despite her love for Robert, Elizabeth and Cecil began plotting in order to shake Robert's idea that he will one day become King of England: they murder Amy and disguise the crime as a suicide which would have come as no surprise since Amy's health had been deteriorating due to her heartbreak. They fabricate a false letter signed by Robert, announcing a visit to Amy and telling her she must be alone at once. During this visit, having respected his wishes and sent everyone off, she is murdered by twists of her head sideways and upward. Amy's body is then carried down the little winding stone stairs. Since Robert had been desperate to become Elizabeth's husband to the wide knowledge of the Court, he is accused of murder. The jury eventually acquits him and yet, as his wife's death and accusation now clings to his name, Robert knows he will never be King.

This is a story of love, jealousy, hatred and ambition. Of one's willingness to go to the greatest lengths - even to authorize the murder of an innocent woman - to remain in power and to rule on one's own terms.
Best part of story, including ending: I love this story as the love initially shared between Robert and Elizabeth is pure and unconditional.

Best scene in story: The secret betrothal between Elizabeth and Robert. At this time, they spent all their time together and could not bear being apart, hence this was the most obvious manifestation of their love despite everyone's opposition to their union.

Opinion about the main character: Dislike: Elizabeth chooses power over true love and authorizes the murder of a deserted woman.

The review of this Book prepared by Mary G. a Level 4 Yellow-Headed Blackbird scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Virgin's Lover

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Life of a profession:    -   royalty Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Philippa Gregory Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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