From Goodreads: He is her dashing Master of Horse. She is the 25-year-old newly crowned English Queen, a title she holds only because there is no male heir to inherit it. Yet in spite of her tenuous hold on the throne, young Queen Elizabeth begins a flagrant flirtation with the handsome but married Lord Robert, taking long unchaperoned horseback rides with him and constantly having him at her side. Many believe them to be lovers, and over time the rumors grow that Elizabeth is no virgin at all, and that she has secretly borne Lord Robert's child. When Robert's wife is found dead, lying at the bottom of a staircase with her neck broken, there is universal shock followed by accusations of murder.
Picking up where Alison Weir's bestselling novel to date, "The Lady Elizabeth," left off (but standing completely alone), "The Marriage Game" tells the dramatic story of the "Virgin Queen's" reign, framed by Elizabeth's long and tumultuous relationship with Lord Robert. Did they or didn't they? Rivers of ink have been spilled in determining the answer to this burning historical question, and you can be sure Alison Weir has strong opinions about Elizabeth's questionable virginity, based on a lifetime of research. But fiction gives her a free hand to explore this intriguing love affair in its every colourful detail, and the resulting novel is one of her best.
My Thoughts: I really hate to write negative reviews especially when the author is one that I love. The story itself had a lot of potential but it just kind of fell flat. The premise of the story was intriguing; I really wanted to know more about Elizabeth's life after she becomes queen and this book definitely goes into a lot of detail regarding her adult life. However, the story seemed to drag on and it felt like it just kept repeating itself.
I didn't like Elizabeth's character. She was shallow and seemed to care very little for the feelings of others. There was definitely a 'marriage game' and she played it well much to the detriment of those around her. I did feel for her; by marrying she lost her power and had to sacrifice her independence so I didn't blame her for not wanting to, she just didn't always treat people very well while playing the game. I don't normally care about Robert Dudley but boy, did I feel bad for him. It seemed like Elizabeth used him and took advantage of his loyalty to her. I did really like Cecil's character. He seemed to be the only who wasn't afraid of standing up to Elizabeth and he seemed like an admirable man.
I really wanted to love this book and am disappointed that I didn't. This is the first time I haven't enjoyed one of Weir's books so I'm super sad about it. 2 stars.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.