First and foremost, if you have any notions of how Queen Elizabeth was as a successful monarch, put those aside for this novel. She is portrayed as selfish, spoiled, and without a backbone. The emphasis on her need for a man is frustrating - though historically accurate. Unfortunately, Gregory made Elizabeth pathetic in her need for a man, rather than stressing the political implications of marrying. I almost put the book down for this reason alone.
Knowing the scandal that surrounded Robert Dudley and his wife Amy during this time, I was very curious to see what stance Gregory would take with the theories. I was not disappointed. I won't ruin the end for you. It's a particularly delicious mystery because it's real.
I struggled with the love story between Elizabeth and Robert for the sole reason that I couldn't bring myself to trust Robert and his ambition. History tells of an undying devotion to each other, but perhaps in the way the story was written, I was not convinced. Plus, he was kind of a douchebag for the way he treated his wife. Not until I read Gregory's Note at the end of the book did I get snapped back into historical record and you feel the real love that existed between the two of them. Don't forget to read it - it'll make your heart melt.
I'm moving on to the final book in the Tudor series tomorrow. We'll see how she rounds out the series with Mary, Queen of Scots.