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Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion Paperback – 13 Sep 2012
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‘Proves no period of history is ever dull… A wonderfully pacy and absorbing read.’ John Harding, Mail on Sunday
‘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’ Literary Review
‘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
‘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.’
‘A scholarly account of a truly dreadful woman’ Jane Ridley
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.
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Top customer reviews
Anne Somerset reveals Anne's life and times largely through intensive scrutiny of her letters and of relationships at her court. This includes an analysis of her stormy relationship with Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. The period was an eventful one in which the map of Europe was being redrawn. The reader is introduced to the birth of party politics. Anne's heart was with the Tories but she recognised the importance to government of being able to maintain alliances with the Whigs. Somerset is good on painting the roguish personalities on both sides of the party divide. Readers are also offered a bed-side seat as Anne's heath steadily declines through a lengthy history of miscarriage and disabling gout. Somerset is particularly good on the medical details and the limited treatments available at the time.
Anne emerges as a woman complete with the prejudices of her time, but as a more astute politician than perhaps has been recognised previously.
This is very much biography and the story of the great and the good living in and around the London court. Readers interested in a broader picture of the period and how London politics influenced life in the provinces, Ireland or in the colonies would need to look elsewhere. The book is a solid and informative read for the reader prepared to persist with the level of intricate personal detail offered by Somerset.
The the picture she prodcued of this last Stuart monarch - not talking about the so-called "de jure" monarchs - is more varied than the previous one. Anne was not the all to be willing manipulated person through emotional attachments. She could be quite ruthless and persuing her own agenda like she did when she defended her position in the succession.
The conflict between Tories and Whigs dominated her reign. It was interesting to see how this split the country in two quite warfaring parties. very interesting the story how the union of England and Scotland came about.
Her friendship with the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough is a key element of it. It is good that Anne Somerset puts it more into perspective and does not just views it from the point of view of the Duchess. It proves that the Marlboroughs "abused" friendship in order to get what they wanted. Mixing friendship and work - well never a good idea. Just reading about the constant nagging of the duchess leaves one quite exhausted. It is for me rather a wonder that Queen Anne supported that for such a long time.
All in all, a pretty good book, at times a wee bit to long an too detailed, but it paints a pretty accurate picture of the lives and times of this "forgotten" Queen.
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