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Christina Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric Hardcover – 5 Apr 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (5 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184115704X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841157047
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 14.8 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 857,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A stunning debut and an absorbing page-turner. Veronica Buckley writes with immense style, vitality and great humanity. The fascinating tale she weaves is as compelling as the most riveting of novels.'

Alison Weir

'Christina's was a grandiose and reckless life, and Veronica Bukley narrates it with great authority and skill. It is a remarkable debut for an author whose previous occupations have been in the oil and music industries. This biography is filled with tragedy, farce and absurdity as popes, regents, mavericks, losers, philosophers and soldiers all involve themselves in Christina's wayward and eccentric progress, not very many enriching themselves in the process. As lives go, it certainly ain't dull, not for a minute'.

Geordie Greig, Literary Review

About the Author

Veronica Buckley was born in New Zealand. She has worked in diverse fields from music to the oil industry, and now lives in Paris with her husband,
writer Philipp Blom. This is her first book.

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ethel the Pirate's Daughter on 30 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Reared as a boy by her charismatic, kingly father, and the subject of scandalous gossip regarding her bed-sharing with a female companion, Queen Christina cast aside her crown in favour of the easy life. Buckley's book is packed with action and humour, skilfully side-stepping much of the tortured politics that makes so many other books about Swedish history so difficult to take. But while nothing can fault Buckley's multilingual research, her honesty can backfire: Christina comes across as sad, lonely, and ultimately a trifle stupid. Nowhere is this more apparent than in her grasping attempts to hang onto power, even as she capriciously rejects responsibility. The flighty way she summons the philosopher Descartes, only to indirectly cause his death is another example of her regal self-absorption. But Buckley is not afraid to tell Christina's story warts and all, and that alone is enough to gain her five well-deserved stars.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 27 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
is perhaps the word most suited for the book and its subject.
Queen Christina is perhaps - next to her hero father Gustav Adolf - the best known Swedish monarch. Her reign - as a child queen and as a short lived effective ruler - covers partly the time when Swedish power in Europe was at its height. The very daughter of the protestant hero king abdicating and turning into a Roman Catholic is itself a remarkable story. Her personality and her life style after the abdication were the talk of European courts and often provactive to scandalous.
This story has however been told many times. So ist is quite extraodinary that the author manage to shed new light into the personality of the Queen mainly by comparing reality with the very own view the Queen held about events and especially about her very own person. This is a remarkable achievement and very very interesting indeed to read about. So step by step a description of the Queen emerges properly not a flattering, but always an interesing one. She was a person who could not put into a box; one cannot describe her by using stereotypes. She was very special, but that includes not being very easy or in her case not even very likeable. Her very own perspective of her talents, abilities and political judgement did not correspond with the realities. I was wandering whether Sweden was indeed much better off without her as monarch...
Judge for yourself and and above all enjoy this book. It is written in a wonderful style. I would love to give more than just 5 stars as it is really difficult to write a interesting biography with a new persepctive about a personality about whom so many biographies have already been written. The author succeeded brilliantly!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sue Bentley VINE VOICE on 18 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
Queen Christina of Sweden was the only daughter of one of Sweden's greatest kings. That was too much to live up to, and after puttering at being Queen for a few years and doing a fairly lame job she decided to abdicate, taking care to arrange a substantial pension for herself first. The story of the next forty years, as told in this meticulously researched and beautifully written book, is totally fascinating. The author Veronica Buckley clearly ended up liking Christina despite her sometimes appalling behaviour, her constant arrogance and her slightly pathetic instance on the formalites of Queendom. She obsessed about what kind of chair visitors had to sit on, with very subtle grades from backless, to one with arms, to a stool, to standing for the the whole time, depending on their rank in the world. Yet this formality contrasted sharply with her behaviour. She would wander happily around Paris chatting to local people and hailing any carriage that might pass by, she filled her home with rogues and ruffians and she dressed like a washerwoman.

I loved this book, the finely drawn detail of it and the grand sweep of it. Buckley cleverly links up Christina's actions and writings with possible and likely motivations, and makes her real and believable (although sometimes, like the author apparently did, I found myself shouting at the book "WHY? Why would you do such a silly thing when all you had to do was......" )It was almost like Christina had flashes of really good ideas, noble causes and geniune concerns and then lost the plot. Again and again.

The horrible murder of Mondaleschi was a black stain on Christina's character yet I felt she got swept away in the moment somehow, and then realised what she had done.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like Georgina Masson in a previous book, Buckley reveals the psychology of Christina, not just restless and eccentric, but so ahead of her times in some ways yet so with her times in others. Impulsive, emotional and passionate, spending beyond her means, in the end she overestimated her shrewdness and scheming in the treacherous political arena of the 17th century. Absorbing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Christina, Queen of Sweden 2 May 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am doing my undergraduate research on this woman, and I found this book to be extremely helpful. I loved reading every word and I couldn't put it down. The more I learned about this fantastic, bizarre woman in history, the more I wanted to know. Extensively researched with all of the major texts (as far as I can tell), its most definately an entertaining and informative book. Kudos to this first-time author!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
An excellent examination of a life. 28 Jan. 2005
By J. Mackin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Buckley has done a wonderful job with her first book and I am hoping that others will follow. This is a well-researched and well-documented biography of Christina. The queen is placed within her time period and Buckley wisely refrains from enforcing a modern view on the queen's lifestyle and decisions. Instead the author leaves the reader to make up their own mind.

And excellently written work, Buckley gives those of us with little knowledge of seventeenth century Sweden a context from which to view Christina's life. And the discussion of Karl Gustav, Christina's father, the man who made Sweden a powerful military nation, is an important part of understanding Christina's idea of herself.

For a pleasurable and enlightening look at one of the many high born (I would hesitate to call Christina powerful, except in her own mind) women floating around seventeenth century Europe, this is as great place as any to start.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Superficial and Disappointing 23 Nov. 2007
By John V. Proesch - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have read a number of Christina biographies, and am familiar with seventeeenth century Scandinavia. When I saw this book I was excited that someone, an English-speaker, had something new to say about this extraordinary queen and her times. Perhaps I was expecting too much. If a reader knows nothing about the history of the times, and is an admirer of the works of Carolly Erickson or Jean Plaidy, he will probably enjoy reading this book. Anyone who knows a bit about seventeenth century Europe, and wants some scholarly rigor to heighten and challenge his knowledge base, will probably feel -- as I did -- cheated.

One never gets the sense from this biography that Christina was a real human being. She certainly was notable and eccentric, even considering her position and unusual personality. She was an appalling individual, both by present day standards and the standards of her own time. Even so, it must be asked why she was as she was. And, further, how she was typical of and different from what might have been expected of a royal figure in Europe at that time. Did she also possess traits that might make her easier to understand as a fellow human being? I did not find these questions adequately addressed by this book. She remains a circus freak, a human deformity.

This biography might well serve as an introduction to the subject for someone who has never heard of Christina, and who is not troubled by romance-novel writing. Still, I would rather recommend Georgina Masson's or Sven Stolpe's "Queen Christina" to such a reader.

In any event, it is heartening to see Scandinavian history being brought to an English-reading public. Personally, I am still waiting for a satisfactory biography of this troubling figure.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly bio of a Drama Queen 26 April 2008
By Grant H. Hallam - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book - rich in historical detail, intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging. The author has a deep sense of humanity - and a dry sense of humour - which provides wry and insightful commentary on the mores of the time, and the excesses of the incredible Christina. The outcome is a warm and ultimately forgiving portrayal of a woman who would have been controversial in any age. The philosopher Descartes, the great artist Bernini, the composers Scarlatti and Corelli -they are among the many who have surprising walk-on roles in the drama of Christina's life.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Author so compelling I hated the Queen 16 July 2013
By salutogenic - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms Buckley has researched the Queen and portrays her in her conflicted state. As a genetic progeny of the Hapsburg dynasty, Christina demonstrates mental and personality confusion. Ascending the throne of Sweden at age 6, she needed the "old men" that her Father had put into place to govern until she was of age. Christina turned her hate and narcissism towards her Father's friend and governor, Axel Oxenstierna. Christina's erratic behavior destroyed herself in her abdication and religious conversion, and cost Sweden a great deal. Christina hated being a woman and encouraged rumors of Hermaphroditism and lesbian behavior to avoid marriage.
In adulthood, the Queen, in extravagance and without a throne, finally found a deep and companionate love with a Cardinal, close to the Pope. At last she desired to be a woman but refused the submissive sexuality of a woman.
At the end she is to be hated for irresponsible and narcissistic behavior, but pitied as a fragile, unloved child of a mentally unstable Queen Eleonora of Hapsburg, and the grand Vasa King, Gustaf Adolph, with whom she only imagined equality.
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