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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Virgin's Daughter

1. Which female character in the novel do you find most interest¬ing and sympathetic, and why?

2. How does Jeane Westin’s portrait of Elizabeth I differ from others you’ve seen in books, onstage and in film? Which aspects of her character most fascinate you?

3. What do you consider to be some of Elizabeth’s greatest strengths as a monarch? Her greatest weaknesses? Do you agree that she ushered in a “golden age” for England?

4. Which male character in the novel most fascinates you, and why?

5. There are many references in the novel to people who were executed by one monarch or another for treason. Discuss what might motivate someone to challenge the reigning king or queen, and what factors Elizabeth in particular considered when decid¬ing whether or not to execute someone.

6. Given Elizabeth’s past, in which her father ordered her mother’s execution and her succession to the throne was often in doubt, do you think her fears of treason were justified? In her shoes, would you have acted differently?

7. Do you think Elizabeth should have married Robert Dudley? What might have happened if she had?

8. Discuss Elizabeth’s status as “the virgin queen.” What political purpose did that description serve? Do you think she was techni¬cally a virgin?

9. Discuss living conditions at Elizabeth’s various court palaces. Would you have enjoyed living there?

10. Lady Katherine Grey might be considered reckless, even foolhardy, in her pursuit of Edward Seymour despite the queen’s rejection of the match. What aspects of Kate’s upbringing and character might explain her behavior?

11. In contrast, Mary Rogers waits years to find fulfillment with John Harington. What in her background and character might explain such patience?

12. Which secondary character do you find most interesting, and why?

13. What do you think accounts for the current popularity of the Tudors?

The Virgin's Daughter
by Jeane Westin

  • Publication Date: August 4, 2009
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0451226674
  • ISBN-13: 9780451226679