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Publisher's Summary

When Victoria was born in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe's monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public's expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.

Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security - queen of a quarter of the world's population at the height of the British Empire's reach.

©2016 Julia Baird (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"With impeccable phrasing and a voice rich with the style and color of nineteenth-century England, narrator Lucy Rayner captures the essence of Queen Victoria.... A bravura performance!" (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Engaging and Informative

A well-written biography of a rather misunderstood woman. Victorian has come to imply prudishness, but the queen was actually fairly broad minded. She was more sentimental than anything else. The author shows how Victoria played a pivotal role in the political landscape of her age and also exposes her frailties. The queen emerges as a very real and human figure, a woman surprisingly unpretentious and free of prejudice for her time. The major flaw in the book is the author's tendency to write about how Victoria thought or felt or wondered, which is not something for which there is any possible evidence. Or to describe how Lord Whoever drove through the streets, naming the types of people or happenings as he drove by--again, pure fiction. I found this annoying and condescending, as though the reader can't be persuaded to keep reading unless the facts are tarted up with fiction.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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  • Story

A great book with a ghastly narrator.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator! She reads every single sentence with the same rhythm -- beginning with a high-pitched, shrill tone, and then dropping the sound to almost normal, only to begin the next sentence with the same shrill pitch again. Monotonous and off-putting.

What did you like best about this story?

Details about Queen Victoria -- her family, her personality, her flaws. Details about English society at that time.

How could the performance have been better?

Someone reading with a normal voice. The entire performance was like someone speaking at a microphone, shrieking at a crowd.

Any additional comments?

I wish Audible would be more selective with readers. Some are SO good; others simply spoil the entire experience.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Catherine
  • Bryn Mawr, PA, United States
  • 02-06-17

worst reader ever

It is hard to believe that any editor agreed to inflict this reader on an eager listener. Lucy Raynor reads in that sing-song voice that English aristocrats favor: sentences starting in a high register and loud, ending in a low pitched and very soft register, so that the 1st half of every sentence is jarring and the 2nd half indistinguishable. (At least with her low pseudo-male voices, you can hear her!) Maybe appropriate for an English tea or garden party, but exhausting to an American ear. Too bad, because it's a good story (what a listener can make of it). The section on the coronation (what I could make of it) was riveting. A major disappointment for an Anglophile. Maybe I will go and actually read A.N. Wilson's bio of Victoria.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Her daughter's bane was HELENA not Eleanor

The book was good, but some mis pronunciations made by the performer became annoying. The one that just irritated me sbove all was how she pronounced Helena as Eleanor - just odd and altogether wrong.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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Almost

I really enjoyed both the story of Queen Victoria’s life and the narrator’s job to describe it to us. My only complaint is that it was always very irritating when the narrator tries to simulate male voices when the author is quoting a direct source. I usually avoid fiction books precisely for this reason, as it irritates me to no end. However, I will say that the narrator’s Scottish brogue was hilarious as she quoted Brown, Queen Victoria’s Scottish Gilly.

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Not my style of writing.

I am not a big fan of books that jump around. I prefer a chronological account and let the people in her life go in and out instead of pillars where we read talk one person and theit relationship with her, then another person and their relationship with her. That may be just a personal preference, but it makes the book more enjoyable and easier to follow. I also find that it makes the story more interesting and relatable.

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Very interesting book...all should read this book.

Loved the way the book was read and how understandable it was to listen to.

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Excellent and Engaging

The history is interesting and presented in an engaging manner. The narration was paced well and delightful to listen to. The book is well written.

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narrator

great book. long pause, voice change before quotes drove me crazy. not common or necessary.

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But what about her being Queen?

Any additional comments?

I felt this book made Victoria seem like a frivolous and immature person. Here's what I got out of it: she had a lot of children, and really liked to dance. Oh, and Albert was smarter than her but had to cowtow to her because of the crown. I was disappointed that this was my first view into her.