In the autumn of 1558, church bells across England ring out the joyous news that Elizabeth I is the new queen. Elizabeth's excited triumph is short-lived. She has inherited a bankrupt country where treason is rampant and foreign war a certainty. Her only chance for survival is to marry, but the one man Elizabeth desires is her childhood friend, the ambitious -- and married -- Robert Dudley. As the young couple falls in love, a question hangs in the air: can he really set aside his wife and marry the queen? Intelligent, romantic, and compelling, The Virgin's Lover is the story of a young woman on the brink of greatness.