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Publisher's Summary

She ascended the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1702 at age 37, Britain's last Stuart monarch. Five years later she united two of her realms, England and Scotland, as a sovereign state, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain. She had a history of personal misfortune, overcoming ill health (she suffered from crippling arthritis; by the time she became queen she was a virtual invalid) and living through 17 miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature births in 17 years. By the end of her comparatively short 12-year reign, Britain had emerged as a great power; the succession of outstanding victories won by her general, John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, had humbled France and laid the foundations for Britain's future naval and colonial supremacy.
While the queen's military was performing dazzling exploits on the continent, her own attention - indeed her realm - rested on a more intimate conflict: the female friendship on which her happiness had for decades depended and which became, for her, a source of utter torment.
At the core of Anne Somerset's riveting new biography, published to great acclaim in England, is a portrait of this deeply emotional, complex bond between two very different women: Queen Anne - reserved, stolid, shrewd; and Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, wife of the queen's great general - beautiful, willful, outspoken, and whose acerbic wit was equally matched by her fearsome temper.
Against a fraught background, the much-admired historian, author of Elizabeth I , tells the extraordinary story of how Sarah goaded and provoked the queen beyond endurance.
©2013 Anne Somerset (P)2016 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Spirited and extremely convincing.... The rivalries and back-stabbing between various factions make as unedifying a spectacle as anything to be seen on today's Senate floor." (Brooke Allen, The New York Times Book Review)
"A sumptuously great read from a master chronicler at the height of her powers.... Every page is seamlessly good reading." (Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly)
"A must-read for all those who love English royal history and, after three centuries of misogyny and misunderstanding, Anne Stuart has found a worthy champion in Anne Somerset." (Gillian Gill, author of We Two: Victoria and Albert, Rulers, Partners, Rivals)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Lesley on 04-01-17

Spoilt by a poorly edited, inadequate narration

The information was well researched and interestingly laid down. The narrator, however, realllly reallllllly let it down. She needs to work on breath control because at times, she established a pattern of 3 words (delivered with a downward inflection implying a full stop) 4 words (full stop) thus leaving sentences hanging.

I realise that a person who mispronounces words is a victim of a language-poor environment. They only know of words by reading, not by hearing. I don't wish to demean such readers, but this particular narrator must have been living under a rock not to know how to pronounce such common words as papal (pronounced by Anne Somerset as (p)apple) or papist (pronounced by Ms Somerset as pap ist ) or Ovid as (oh)vid. There were too many of these to list here... so SHAME on the EDITOR who gave himself a mention at the end.

Part of the storyteller's art is NOT to jolt the reader out of the spell of the world they are creating. Poor breathing causing strangely delivered sentences and mispronunciations do just that. I kept being reminded that I was listening. Mind you. I had quite. A few laughs. But I don't think. This was. The intention of. The Writer.

If the information wasn't so well written I would have returned this book. Persevere if you can. There are stretches where the narrator does relax and read in an adequate manner.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Carol on 01-20-17

Interesting Content hampered by bad narration

This is a good biography of Queen Anne. But Hannah Curtis is not good.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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