The Virgin’s Lover is the story of the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and her childhood playmate Robert Dudley. The novel opens as church bells peal across the land announcing the accession of the new Queen in November 1558. Elizabeth was twenty-five years old, an energetic red-blonde who had her father’s looks and energy, but was also possessed of an icy self-control. Her council – all men – want her to marry a suitable prince. But Elizabeth has other ideas. Her choice seems to be Robert Dudley, who is just as ambitious and intelligent as she is. The problem is that Dudley is already married to a wife he does not care for. So in the first years of her reign – when Elizabeth was coping with a country on the verge of bankruptcy – everyone wanted to know whether Dudley would set aside his wife to marry the Queen. Then one day, everything changed when Amy Dudley – Robert’s wife – is found at the bottom of the stairs with her neck broken. Was she murdered? Was her husband responsible for her death?
This novel answers centuries-old questions about Amy’s death, and gives us a brilliant portrayal of a young woman on the verge of greatness, a young man on the brink of disaster, and the wife trapped in the middle.