Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter

A Biography of Princess Louise
Narrated by: Jennifer M. Dixon
Length: 16 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (101 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Spirited and lively, Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter is richly packed with arguments, intrigues, scandals, and secrets, and is a vivid portrait of a princess desperate to escape her inheritance.

The secrets of Queen Victoria's sixth child, Princess Louise, may be destined to remain hidden forever. What was so dangerous about this artistic, tempestuous royal that her life has been documented more by rumor and gossip than hard facts? When Lucinda Hawksley started to investigate, often thwarted by inexplicable secrecy, she discovered a fascinating woman, modern before her time, whose story has been shielded for years from public view.

Louise was a sculptor and painter, friend to the Pre-Raphaelites and a keen member of the Aesthetic movement. The most feisty of the Victorian princesses, she kicked against her mother's controlling nature and remained fiercely loyal to her brothers - especially the sickly Leopold and the much-maligned Bertie. She sought out other unconventional women, including Josephine Butler and George Eliot, and campaigned for education and health reform and for the rights of women. She battled with her indomitable mother for permission to practice the "masculine" art of sculpture and go to art college - and in doing so became the first British princess to attend a public school.

The rumors of Louise's colorful love life persist even today, with hints of love affairs dating as far back as her teenage years, and notable scandals included entanglements with her sculpting tutor Joseph Edgar Boehm and possibly even her sister Princess Beatrice's handsome husband, Liko. True to rebellious form, she refused all royal suitors and became the first member of the royal family, since the 16th century, to marry a commoner. She moved with him to Canada when he was appointed Governor-General.

©2013 Lucinda Hawksley (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter

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Incredibly Frustrating

This is one of the most frustrating, disappointing books I've ever purchased. It read like a gossip column, often repeating rumor and ineundo, incessantly. Over and over we're told Princess Louise didnt love her husband, didnt spend time with him, he was gay, and she had lots of lovers. Over and over. At the same time, just once, there was mention of her instense worry for niece Czarina Alexandra...and then nothing else. All this worrying and no mention of her beloved niece, and her family, following the events of 1918. These are just a few of the far too many examples to mention. There was no follow through; no back up.

Disjointed, repetitive, and frankly, it often felt like a dirty tabloid. What's worst of all, is that I learned nothing new about the Princess. The narrator was the lone bright spot.

This is a disappointing no, from me.



3 people found this helpful

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A must read for royal history lovers

Enjoyed hearing about princess Louisa.
Agreed that it's shameful that so much about her is still buried in the royal vault. She made an attempt to be more transparent. IF you love learning about this royal family give it a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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AWFUL. AWFUL. AWFUL.

Don’t fall for this funeral dirge Queen Victoria brought down on the heads of her unfortunate children, household, and nation after her hubby, Dear Albert, passed on and left her in charge. If not for being queen, she would have been sent to a lunatic asylum. I barely made it to the 1860s when I feared I was losing the will to live and I put it down. Don’t waste you money or your credits.

1 person found this helpful

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Oh, so very Boring

I read a lot of non-fiction works and know the difference between the good and the bad. This was just awful. Droning, monotone performance killing every single spark of the lives of the families involved. Literally like hearing someone read the phone book. What a great fictional take on this woman's life this might have been. I felt like Louise would have welcomed death rather than listen to this soulless rendition of her story.

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not very factual

early on she speaks of the possible son. later it is suddenly fact. no proof.

15 people found this helpful

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A good story ruined by a bad narrator

All of the authors enthusiasm from a lecture I watched is completely lost. I don’t know if the narrator just disagreed with her or didnt have the energy to make her sound interesting.

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Well-written and interesting biography

Queen Victoria had nine children (who all looked exactly alike, btw) between 1841 and 1857, although she was frightened of childbirth and didn’t like children. And she wasn’t a very good mother… Go figure.

This is an interesting and well-written biography of Princess Louise, the sixth child and fourth daughter born to Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert. Louise was an artist, although her family didn’t always take her seriously in that respect. She fought for independence from her tyrannical mother and for more equality for women, while still performing many of the state duties of a royal princess. She was definitely the least “royal” of her family, in the way she interacted with people of all classes and was easy to talk to. The book doesn’t skip over the rough parts of her personality, either; Louise had a fiery temper and little patience at times.

She also had quite an appetite for love, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, based on her upbringing. Her marriage was not a love match, and in fact, her husband was probably gay. They spent a lot of time apart, and Louise was rumored to have had several serious affairs, and even a child born out of wedlock.

The reason for the “mysterious” part of the title is that many of the first-hand accounts of the family’s life were purged by Beatrice, the youngest princess, after the queen’s death. Letters and documents related to Louise were very difficult to find, and some conjecture is necessary. But Hawksley makes sure to note when that was the case, and the amount and quality of the research behind the known facts are quite amazing.

The book is organized well and is mostly chronological. Even listening to the audiobook, I didn’t have a difficult time with the many names and titles of the royals, aristocrats, artists, and servants mentioned throughout. Jennifer M. Dixon does an outstanding job with the narration of the audiobook.

The book will interest anyone who wants to learn more about the royal family in general, and especially about Victoria’s children. Louise was definitely a woman ahead of her time.

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  • Bryan James
  • 07-09-18

The Princess Diana of her time

An Interesting tale of someone you probably hadn't heard of, Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. She was popular, attractive and clever - and she thought for herself. She had the common touch and related easily to everyone. She championed women's equality and education for girls, as well as being active in many other charities and causes that helped to support society. She broke with royal tradition to marry a Briton, an act that further endeared her to the public, whose distaste for foreign princes at that time ran deep.

The author paints a grim picture of Queen Victoria as a self-obsessed, cruel, controlling and manipulative mother who demanded her children always 'looked after her', be at her beck and call and devote themselves to her alone during her lengthy bereavement.

The story is essentially about how the free-spirited Princess Louise gradually escaped from this prison and came into her own. She took a lover - her sculptor tutor, whom she genuinely loved until he died but couldn't marry. Along the way, she entered into a marriage of convenience with an alleged gay Scottish Lord to finally escape the palace. Needless to say, Queen Victoria had other ideas.

It's also very much about that time in history and an interesting comparison with today's monarcy and society. Very well written (and read) despite evidence of an establishmet cover-up that prevented the author from accessing certain private papers.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Maria
  • 03-10-19

Intriguing study but odd narrator

The narrator has very odd pronunciation indeed which was a bit off putting. From fairly basic words and definitely struggling with anything more complicated. I persevered as the narrative was engaging but it would really benefit from a different reader

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ursiemac
  • 05-17-19

Dire

This could have been an interesting story but lacked insight and depth and was appallingly read. A flat monotone and dreadful mispronouciations ( Scottish placenames the worst) did the text no favours at all.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Janet
  • 04-08-19

Interesting but the reading let it down

What a story! A truly gripping insight into a lost legend. Why is there no more on this Princess?
Odd pronunciation and monotone reading really didn't go without the vibrant tale though. Good job it was such a good book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • A. Moorhouse Sacred Earth
  • 12-05-18

good book awful narration

really interesting book but awful narration, huge mispronunciations and the narrator is very monotone. The story itself is fascinating though.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Allister
  • 11-24-18

Disappointing

Overlong at times tedious biography virtually spoiled by very poor narration. Phrasing was dreadful and sounded almost computer generated.

2 people found this helpful

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  • anne leatherland
  • 11-08-18

Bringing life to a princess

Excellent book, well researched and giving fascinating insights into the life of princess Louise and in fact all of Queen Victoria’s children.
The reading was clear, if a little stilted. I found the reader to be a bit pedantic with pronunciation and it broke the flow.
Still, worth listening to as the work itself is wonderful.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Hayley McCoy
  • 08-03-18

quite good.

A very well researched book, which uses many primary sources to give an insight into Princess Louise's life. although there is a great deal of speculation the author cannot be blamed for this, it is quite obvious from the authors own investigations that there has been some kind of cover up regarding the Princess' illigetimate child, marriage infidelity or her unbecoming ways in such a strict era. Either way this book gives you all the history and the rumours and leaves you to make up your mind.

1 person found this helpful

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  • beth
  • 07-19-18

A Woman 100 years ahead of her time.

A wonderful informative book.
Fascinating story.
So well explained and researched.
A wonderful History lesson of Queen Victoria's family.

1 person found this helpful

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  • taylor
  • 03-20-20

Very poor narration

The story is quite interesting about a strong lady but is spoiled by the poor narrator