"Virgin" by Robin Maxwell takes readers back to the adolescence of Elizabeth I, to the bud that later blossomed into England's greatest monarch. It is a story of angst and confusion as the teenage princess grapples with the eternal thorn in the side of womankind--not to let the heart control the mind. Unable to help or restrain herself, she falls under the spell of the charismatic and ambitious Thomas Seymour, a man of much charm, wit, but very little commonsense, who is busy as a hive full of bees recklessly plotting to oust his brother as Lord Protector of the Realm and become the true power behind the throne, either as puppetmaster to the boy-king, Edward VI, or husband of a future queen. And Ms. Maxwell does a fine job of showing the callousness behind Seymour's charming facade and the fool lurking behind the blind ambition that drives him ever onwards onto folly.
"Virgin" is an insightful and enjoyable read that paints a vivid and realistic portrait of a young woman falling in love against her better judgment, and the war between passion and reason raging within her mind. It is the softer, weaker Elizabeth before she became the strong and determined mistress of her own fate and found a love that surpassed the yearnings of her own body and heart--England.