Your audiobook is waiting…

Queen Anne

The Politics of Passion
Narrated by: Hannah Curtis
Length: 28 hrs and 24 mins
4 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

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

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)

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    33
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting Content hampered by bad narration

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

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Historical account

I was looking for history as I knew nothing about Queen Anne, other than the tragedies around child birth. She is featured prominently outside of St. Paul’s in London. Story was more about the times prior to her assenting to the throne. I would have liked to hear more about what she accomplished and how she reigned. There is a lot about her personal relationships which made her appear weak - not sure that was the intended take away. Still in all, I am better informed now so I guess the book did the trick.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

boring!

just terrible. extremely boring
could not even finish this horrible book. awlful awlful awlful awlful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Informative in a cumbersome way

Too long. Too many repetitive details. Chronologically confusing. Being read out loud with clear but monotonous inattentive voice.
I appreciate the writer's effort for her extensive research. But too much information became redundant and tiring to hear. It may attract wider audience if this book has been heavily trimmed or rewritten with precision.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thorough and sympathetic without being maudlin.

Queen Anne, the court, and the events of her lifetime, are described with many references to original sources, but told very fluently. I was never bored with any "dry" places. This biography does evenhanded justice to an underrated monarch and to an underrated personality.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Dry history

Dry history delivered in a halting deadpan monotone. I struggled through to the end because I wanted to learn about Queen Ann before seeing the movie, “The Favourite.” While the Book seems based in thorough research, it was not an enjoyable listen for me, and I am a lover of history. I am left informed of the subject, but not satisfied of the delivery.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Cannot follow story

There are too many characters and no explanations. This book is too difficult to follow in an auditory setting. I may read the book but I will stop listening to it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Forgotten Monarch

Queen Anne was one of Britain’s most formidable rulers. She reigned as the last of the Stuart monarchs until her death in 1714 brought her Hanoverian cousin George I over from Germany to sit on the English throne. Nicknamed Brandy Nan, she was nearly six feet tall (the height of her predecessor Elizabeth I) and was so obese she had to be carried in a sedan chair, yet her leadership skills enabled her to make crucial decisions that would ensure (as it did during Elizabeth’s time) that Britain would remain a major world power. Anne also suffered setbacks in her personal life that would have destroyed anyone with a much weaker character: none of her children survived, and her closest friend the power-hungry Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, became her most redoubtable enemy. Faced with an array of indomitable challenges and few people she could trust other than Sarah’s poor cousin Abigail Masham, whose loyalty never wavered, Anne rose above the petty squabbles at court to leave a legacy that strengthened the foundations of the Empire but have largely been overlooked by most historians. A truly inspiring biography with compelling narration by the wonderful Hannah Curtis. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Factual to a fault

Interesting and informative. A bit long winded in parts. Narrator slow and clear with good expression.