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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
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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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Theodore on 09-08-12

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.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Anna Ballard on 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.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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