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Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion by [Somerset, Anne]
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Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 641 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The formidable Anne Somerset ...in this admirably objective study sets out to rescue Anne's unfortunate reputation from her critics...and restate the case for this shy and sickly ruler as one of our most unexpectedly effective monarchs...It has taken immense patience and skill ...to create a new and subtler image of the last of the Stuart monarchs. Anne Somerset has done a real service both to us and to her namesake" Sunday Times "With a great deal of literary panache ... Queen Anne emerges as intelligent and sympathetic despite the cruelty of her gynaecological history" Antonia Fraser, Sunday Telegraph, Books of the Year "One of the most enjoyable biographies I've read in the past year, elegantly written and with an encyclopaedic grasp of the period. I loved every page of it...Somerset guides us expertly and effortlessly through the labyrinthine party politics of the reign...with flair and scholarship" Literary Review "This magisterial new biography paints a fascinating picture of an often-overlooked monarch...on the basis of this incisive and compelling portrait, none could argue that she did not keep the interests of her people close to her heart" Country Life

About the Author

Anne Somerset is the acclaimed biographer of Elizabeth I and the author of many books including Unnatural Murder, an account of the sensational Overbury murder, which was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger award for non-fiction; and The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV.

Product Details

  • File Size: 12400 KB
  • Print Length: 641 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (January 19, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 19, 2012
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005SC78W8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,358,303 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

By S Riaz TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Anne Somerset has written some excellent historical biographies and, in this latest effort, she turns her attention to Queen Anne. This is an exhaustive and well researched biography about a woman who never thought she would become Queen. Her father, James, Duke of York, was the younger brother of Charles II. When he secretly married a woman already pregnant and not of royal blood, it caused a scandal that Charles II, who had only fairly recently regained the throne his father lost, was deeply unhappy with. Luckily for Anne, Charles refused her fathers rather unkind suggestion that his daughter Anne be beheaded, and took her side eventually. After a difficult start, James and Anne had two daughters, Mary and Anne. Having no living boy, and with Charles II childless, James re-married when he was widowed in that desperate search for an heir which has plagued so many monarchs before him. James eventually became King and, if she hoped to ever inherit the throne, Anne had to make a choice between her father's wish that she become a Catholic, or remain a Protestant as the people would not trust a Catholic monarch.

This book looks at the marriage of Anne's sister Mary to William of Orange and her own marriage to the compatible, amiable and devoted Prince George of Denmark. There is a terrible and tragic account of births, miscarriages, stillbirths, phantom pregnancies and early deaths. Anne herself endured pregnancy after pregnancy in her attempt to produce a healthy child and, when her father's wife had a healthy son, she was so horrified that she clung with desperate belief to the rumours that the baby was an imposter who had been smuggled into the palace in a warming pan.

During the whole of this book there is political turmoil, much related to the issue of the succession.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fabulous, amazing, thorough, engaging biography of a woman I didn't really know much about. Until I read a review of QUEEN ANNE in the London Review of Books, I never would have thought of purchasing this (I had to hunt down a UK seller, because it's not available in the US), and investing the (many) hours it took to finish it.

Very glad I did, though. Anne Somerset takes us from James II's near-disastrous marriage to Anne Hyde (a commoner), the mother of Queen Mary and Queen Anne, to the Glorious Revolution, through the strained relationship between Mary and Anne, and then to Anne's own ascension to the throne.

There's so much detail that it is a little overwhelming (did I mention that it took me forever to finish?), but if you want to understand Whig/Tory politics, the crazy relationship Anne had with the Duchess of Marlborough, and the nuts and bolts of the British involvement in the War of Spanish Succession, this is the book.

I can't recommend the text of the book enough. My only complaint is the notes are extremely disappointing (this would be a 4.5 star review, if I could). I love good, gossipy, annotated endnotes in a history, to lead me on to new and interesting books. Here, there are citations, sure, but they're all abbreviations and they look like they're in code.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Who was Queen Anne?

If you could answer this question off the top of your head, then "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din."

I was reading a biography of Daniel Defoe when it was mentioned that he was a spy for Queen Anne sent to Scotland prior to the melding of England and Scotland to create Great Britain. It was then that I asked myself that question. As a Canadian who had been subjected in grade school to British history, I scoured the depths of memory. The only Queen Anne I could recall was Anne Boleyn, and this was a century and a half after that poor lady had literally lost her head to the whim of an outrageously cruel king.

My next stop was to Wikipedia, where I read a short biography of Queen Anne. Then I proceeded directly to Amazon and purchased Anne Somerset's superb biography of this queen. (All in 15 minutes: don't you just adore the Internet?)

Here is what I learned. Anne reigned from 1702 until her death in 1714. She was sister-in-law to William of Orange (William III) and sister of the monarch's wife, Mary. During Anne's short reign, England and Scotland were united as Great Britain; Winston Churchill's great ancestor, The Duke of Marlborough, more or less won the battle of the Spanish Succession (it's complicated); Daniel Defoe and Jonathon Swift were active members of her team and Frederick Handel wrote the music to 2 of her birthday odes, for which she awarded him a pension of 200 pounds; Britain was triumphant in the Treaty of Utrecht, which brought a somewhat settlement after the War of Spanish Succession, and began Britain's reign of world domination; and Britain clung tenaciously to dominance of the lucrative slave trade.
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