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Virgin : Prelude to the Throne: A Novel Hardcover – June 13, 2001


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; 1st edition (June 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559705639
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559705639
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,699,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In yet another zesty retelling of English history, Maxwell (The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn; The Queen's Bastard) chronicles the sexual development of Elizabeth I known as the Virgin Queen during her volatile teenage years. Banished after the beheading of her mother, Anne Boleyn, princess Elizabeth leaves court life until Henry VIII's last wife, Catherine Parr, brings her back into her father's good graces. Upon Henry's death, Elizabeth's nine-year-old brother, Edward, ascends the throne, and Catherine soon marries lusty, ambitious Thomas Seymour. Thomas's attempts to seduce Elizabeth both confuse and excite her. Meanwhile, at court, the boy king rules only in theory, as his unscrupulous uncle and guardian wields the power. After the suspicious death of Catherine and despite the warnings of her friend Robin Dudley, Elizabeth falls for Thomas, a one-dimensional bad boy motivated by a simplistic plan to overthrow the king and marry Elizabeth in order to capture the crown for himself. In an atmosphere of power wresting and backstabbing, young Elizabeth matures through suffering, learning how to be a successful queen. Maxwell's interpretation of Thomas's aggressive attempts at seduction puts a new, plausible spin on period speculation. In an epilogue, she admits that only writers of historical fiction can fill a "hole in history," in this case by imagining Elizabeth's secret compliance and eventual disillusionment. While the prose lacks the nuance of her earlier work, Maxwell is a skillful writer, and this thoroughly adult novel about a pubescent princess's dangerous romantic missteps depicts an intriguing slice of Elizabethan history. 6-city author tour. (June)Forecast: An arresting cover picture of the young Elizabeth will draw readers to this book, allotted a first printing of 25,000; Maxwell's reputation as a lively and dramatic writer will supply name recognition; and the perennial fascination of the Virgin Queen should earn brisk sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When King Henry VIII dies, 13-year-old Elizabeth moves to the estate of Henry's kind and generous widow, the Queen Dowager Catherine Parr, who provides well for her stepchild. Surrounded by loved ones such as Catherine, Kat Ashley, and her dear friend Robin Dudley, Elizabeth is quite happy. This contentment is short-lived, however, for within months the Lord High Admiral Thomas Seymour courts and marries the queen, taking up residence at the estate. Handsome, charismatic Seymour effortlessly conceals his manipulative, evil nature until the lives of those in the household are forever changed. Elizabeth herself, under Seymour's influence, experiences a powerful adolescent sexual awakening and cannot seem to avoid indiscretion and political intrigue. Elizabeth I has recently enjoyed renewed interest, but this chapter of her life is generally ignored. Virgin, the third in Maxwell's series (The Queen's Bastard, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn) is tense, absorbing, highly entertaining, and recommended for all public libraries. Jean Langlais, St. Charles P.L., IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Bestselling author and screenwriter Robin Maxwell often wonders how growing up a suburban New Jersey girl, an education at Tufts University as an occupational therapist, stints as a music business secretary, parrot tamer, casting director, dozens of Hollywood script development deals and marriage to yoga master Max Thomas prepared her for a career in writing. After fifteen years and eight novels of historical fiction, she has jumped genres with the publication of "JANE: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan" The first Tarzan classic in a century written by a woman and told through the eyes of the ape-man's beloved Jane Porter, JANE is enthusiastically supported and authorized by the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Customer Reviews

Remember this is historical fiction.
Amazon Customer
There were a few nitpicky things, like the fact that the author is not content with using the word "said" to indicate dialogue.
The Boleyn Girl
I can't recommend Irwin's Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain, however.
Picky Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Berkman on May 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Robin Maxwell is an excellent writer who brings her flawless research and sense of pacing to the high drama that was Tudor England. Although many people know the basics about Elizabeth I and the story, better than any melodrama or soap opera, of her father Henry VIII of England and Anne Boleyn, most people haven't heard about her life as a teenage princess and the challenges she faced in the house of her stepmother and her stepmother's husband, the charming Thomas Seymour. In Maxwell's hands, this becomes the story of Elizabeth's coming of age and also of how she first learns the art of "spin" that serves her so well later on. That alone makes the novel absorbing. But in addition, Maxwell's book is engaging and sexy and brings Elizabeth alive!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hippolytos on November 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Maxwell has delivered a deftly written novel that covers Elizabeth's life during the reign of her brother, Edward VI, and illustrates how Elizabeth, even in her formative years, was full or grace, dignity, intelligence and cunning. The portrait Maxwell paints is one of a young girl unsure of her position in the world, yet fiercely proud of her heritage. Elizabeth is both worldly and naive, an irresistable combination. We experience Elizabeth's first pangs of love and lust, her burgeoning friendship with Robin Dudley, and the conspiracies set against her by her own people. A brilliant concluding novel to Maxwell's trilogy. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gangofgin13 on March 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Although the author admits she may have strayed off the precise history of the events that took place before Elizabeth took the throne, the story she tells is one full of passion, love, friendship and gives a good example of what many suppose the Tudor era was like. Her descriptions of each character, although extreme at times, portrays a good example of what history show them to be like.

I would recommend this book to anyone with a deep interest in Queen Elizabeth or the tudor era who is tired of reading the facts and wishes to enjoy a nice story along with it! Informative yet interesting all in one jolly package.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is amazing. It gives a wonderful description of an area of Elizabeth's life that few have ever explored. You really get a good sense of the times as well as the characters. A MUST READ!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "smartgirl2k5" on December 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Great Harry, England's King Henry VIII, is dead. Nine-year-old Edward is now King Edward VI, a boy powerless to stop his uncle Edward Seymour from stealing power as Regent. Thirteen-year-old Elizabeth retires to life in the country with her stepmother Catherine Parr, the Queen Dowager, and her new husband Thomas Seymour. But it is soon apparent to young Bess that a very powerful presence in Chelsea House has eyes for her, and drives nearly everyone mad with his charms. He wants Elizabeth, not bothering to hide his lascivious desires, and he'll do anything to acheive the ultimate goal: the Crown...
I read the hardcover edition of this book and found it appalling. Thomas Seymour was a cold-hearted, greedy, selfish wretch, the way he plotted to get what he wanted. Even so, this is a good read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down! Robin Maxwell made the characters three-dimensional, which enabled me to like, love, or hate them! If you enjoy reading good historical fiction about Queen Elizabeth I, you won't be disappointed with this one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Couldn't put this book down, Mrs. Maxwell continues to give new life to these fascinating historical characters. Great summer read.
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Format: Paperback
I've been reading about Elizabeth, the Tudors, and the English Reformation for more than 50 years. Ms. Maxwell does a good job presenting the facts, but the writing sounds like a "novelized" research paper. Margaret Irwin's Young Bess and Elizabeth, Captive Princess are by far much more believable and enjoyable novels. These books were published in 1945 and 1948 respectively and are still in print (although I have linked to the original hardbacks), which I think says it all. The characters come alive in a way they don't in the Maxwell, and the writing lets you enter Elizabeth's world in a visceral way. I can't recommend Irwin's Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain, however. To me the magic of this history is how Elizabeth survived the many perils of her young life and lived to become Elizabeth I; I find it simply astounding. But the third book in Irwin's trilogy seems anti-climatic.
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