Review: The Virgin's Daughters by Jeane Westin

The Virgin's Daughters
by Jeane Westin

Rating:  4 / 5

Summary: The Virgin’s Daughters tells the story of Katherine Grey and Mary Rogers, two ladies-in-waiting for Queen Elizabeth I. Both women were close to their monarch, though they served at different times and ultimately their tales would end very differently.

Lady Katherine Grey is sister of the infamous Nine Day’s Queen, Jane Grey, and cousin to Elizabeth. As stated in King Henry VIII’s will, Katherine is next in line for the crown, however her ambition towards the throne is pretty much non-existent. She has seen what ambition cost her family with the execution of her sister and she will in no way be a pawn for those seeking to replace the Queen.

Katherine Grey

Katherine’s quiet contentedness with her role in life is blown to smithereens when she meets and falls in love with Edward Seymour (Ned), nephew of Jane Seymour (Henry VIII’s 3rd wife). Elizabeth is quick to let them know that there is no way she will ever consent to their marriage – they both have strong claims to the throne and should they conceive of a male heir Elizabeth’s crown could be in great danger from those wanting to depose the Protestant Queen.

Ned and Katherine defy the royal orders and marry in secret, an action that leads them both to the Tower. To say that Elizabeth is enraged would be putting it mildly. For one thing, she is in fear of losing the crown she fought so hard for and for another, since she can’t have the man of her dreams, neither can her ladies. But in the end, will Elizabeth join sides with love and give her blessing to the marriage?

Mistress Mary Rogers has been dreaming of the day when she would be a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth and finally joins the Queen’s household towards the end of Elizabeth’s reign. As a child she had heard tales of Elizabeth’s Court from her father’s ward, Lady Katherine Grey and is now ready to put those lessons to test. As Mary reluctantly falls head over heels for John Harington, the Queen’s godson, she realizes that she is headed the way of Lady Grey, but true love chumps all and the couple is left with quite a dilemma. Will Elizabeth concede to the union? Now that the monarch is ailing, has her heart softened to love or will her bitterness reign until the end?

My thoughts: I confess to not being totally geeked out about another novel on Elizabeth I, even if she is my favorite monarch. But to my surprise, I rather enjoyed it. The writing is good – not quite Sharon Kay Penman writing – but fluid, insightful and entertaining. I personally feel that Elizabeth wasn’t the total bitch as she was portrayed here, but she makes a great villain (if not exaggerated). As to Katherine and Mary, I am glad to have read the stories of these two obscure, but interesting women of history.

Recommended to any historical fiction or Tudor lover!

Aquired by:   Berkely / NAL, Penguin  Thanks Kaitlyn!



  1. Katherine's husband was actually Jane Seymour's nephew (the son of her eldest brother Edward) and not her brother. Too many people with the same name back then!

  2. This looks really good! I will have to add it to the list. :)

  3. This is a very good book, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Sad in spots but a good read nevertheless

  4. I sometimes think that I will tire of the Tudors, but I never do. Thanks for the review, I've already added this to my reading list.

  5. It is so easy to confuse all those relations, one really needs multiple family lineage charts to discern the many relationships.
    I am glad to hear you did enjoy this one, I understand the "oh not another one" feeling when it comes to the Tudor celebs =)
    I have this one waiting in the wings for me for a casual weekend.

  6. I love books about the Tudors and this one sounds great.

  7. I agree with your review completely. I enjoyed it.

  8. I, too, enjoy reading about the Tudors, so this book sounds like an awesome read. I'm glad to hear that it's such a good read. I am going to be adding this book to my wish list, so thanks for the recommendation and the great review!

  9. I enjoyed this one as well. Great review!

  10. I would definitely enjoy reading more about the Tudors!

  11. I got to finally read your review and Loved it! Glad I wasn't the only one to see Elizabeth as such a cruel and detestable...
    Aren't these lady-in-waiting stories great? Thanks Amy- superb as always:)

  12. When I think of Elizabeth I as a villin, I think of Bette Davis portraying her. Can't remember the name of the movie, but she did not want her ladies to be happy. I can picture her displeased countenance right now.

    Great review. Don't know if I would read this, but great review all the same.

  13. I agree, I was a little hesitant to read yet another Tudor novel, but I enjoyed this. Great review!


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