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Victoria: The Queen

An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
Narrated by: Lucy Rayner
Length: 21 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (535 ratings)

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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

18 of 19 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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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narrater was annoying when she changed her voice.

Narrater used inflections that were very annoying-lowering her voice to pretend to be a man!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • 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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The narrator, yikes.

I have listened to a great number of British biographies and history books, and this narrator has an "unusual" style. I was able to eventually ignore the sharp pitch change from beginning to end of every sentence, but I have a high level of distress tolerance. It's a great book just listen to a sample before you buy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Reader is truly British

In response to those reviews that didn't like the reader of this book, that may be because she is not an American trying to sound British. She has a very cultured British accent with very British pronunciations. I think this is very appropriate for a biography of the 19th century Queen Victoria. I suspect Victoria actually sounded much as she is portrayed. So a listener may or may not prefer the reader's accent, but it truly gives a flavor of the period and status of the royals of the Victorian Era.

I enjoyed the portrait of Victoria greatly. It didn't candy-coat Victoria, discussing flaws and weaknesses as well as strengths. I would recommend this audio book especially to the anglophile amongst us.

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  • jockkk
  • Exton, PA USA
  • 10-10-19

What an absorbing life story!

Beautifully written and read! Women especially will enjoy the story of this remarkable, complicated and strong woman and queen.

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Excellent personal view of Victoria

Sadly the family edited out much of the reality of John Brown and later the Indian Muslim servant that she relied on. With all the new papers available, the author did a great job of giving sense to the personal, emotional side of Victoria's life. Fascinating as are the time changing times she lived through.

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What a life!

Julia Baird excellently brings Queen Victoria to life in this detailed journey from birth to death. I was impressed by not only the in depth knowledge of the Queen herself, but of the opinions of others during the Victorian Era. The reader, Lucy, had such a lovely and smooth voice, that fully made me feel as if I was listening to her two centuries ago.