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Victoria: The Queen

An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
Narrated by: Clare Fraenkel
Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (107 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A magnificent biography of Queen Victoria by international New York Times columnist Julia Baird. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, Victoria: The Queen is a stunning new portrait of the real woman behind the myth - a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience.

When Victoria was born in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would begin to 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 parts of the globe. Born into 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. At 20 years old, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. 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.

Drawing on sources that include revelations about Victoria's relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning. This sweeping biography gives us the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen - a Victoria for our times.

©2016 Julia Baird (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Victoria I never knew existed

Although a lover of history I knew so little about Victoria. Julia Bairds research and writing was so rich and satisfying that every chapter’s end felt like a wonder holiday drawing to an end. Every aspect from Victoria’s emotional and physical states to the politics and culture of Great Britain and Europe are explored in exquisite depth-bringing to life perhaps the greatest and most influential woman of this era. This has been a true pleasure and can’t recommend it highly enough!

5 people found this helpful

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change in pace with direct speech annoying

Would you consider the audio edition of Victoria: The Queen to be better than the print version?

I lved the story and am still enjoying listening to it, but the voice narrating is annoying and the unnecessary long pauses to indicate direct speech are annoying

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

voice narrating is annoying because of the unnecessary long pauses to indicate direct speech

3 people found this helpful

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Fascinating story of Victoria and her world

I found this book very interesting from start to finish. I thought I knew a fair bit about Queen Victoria, but realized how little, when I got into this book. Julia Baird must have done an incredible amount of detailed research to have turned up so many quotes and stories, some from the most unlikely people. It is more than a life of one woman, but a picture of her rapidly changing times and the empire over which she ruled.
The reader Clare Fraekel was clear and quite good, but she irritated me by pausing every time she introduced a quotation, ie. 'He said she was.....a wonderful woman', though in this we can blame her producer no doubt. In the many audio books I have heard, via Audible and other sources, I have never heard this done, and believe these pauses are quite unnecessary as well as interrupting the flow of the narrative.
She mispronounced several words, e.g. profligacy, putting the emphasis on the second syllable which made it sound ridiculous. The many times she said the name Gladstone, she pronounced the second syllable as 'stone', whereas virtually everyone I have ever heard say the name has given a neutral pronunciation of the 'o', to give almost 'stun' or 'stn'.

2 people found this helpful

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Immerse yourself in Queen Victoria's Monarchy

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well written and easy to read and listen to. A must for any history, monarchy or Queen Victoria buff.

1 person found this helpful

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An historical biography for non-fans of history

I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction, nor am I a scholar of history, but I found this new biography of Queen Victoria quite engaging and enjoyable to listen to. Julia Baird has obviously done a huge amount of research into the minutiae of the life and times of Queen Victoria, and the insertion of some of these details to the story, and placing her life in the context of what was happening in the world has made for a really interesting and enjoyable read/listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Congratulations Julia Baird - a wonderful story

Julia Baird magically holds true to history and tells the story of Queen Victoria. Julia’s writing and narrative is really quite magnificent.

Julia’s writing is quite exceptional. The tempo, pace is like a libretto.

I could not put the book down and constantly looked forward to getting back to the book.

Thank you so much Julia.

1 person found this helpful

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Intimate insight to the past.

This book had me hooked. Such an interesting life by a real trail blazer in many ways

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Interesting life

Story not only tells you about Victoria it also gives an interesting insight on politics during that time, society and flow on effects of decisions made, manipulation and ignorance at the time by those making decisions on behalf of the people!

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Fascinating

Even after watching the TV series, I still found this book fascinating. Great treatment of the subject.
Excellent narration even if I have never previously heard Boer pronounced in that way.

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Great story about an amazing woman

This book was well written. I did find it slow in some places and the narration got a little boring at times but overall I would suggest that this is one of the better books that has been written about Queen Victoria.
It delves into her personal life with clarity and allows us to understand one of the greatest monarchs in history with a lot more clarity. It has allowed me to connect with her on a personal level as well. I find it easy to put the crown on a pedestal and think that live this extraordinary life, but this book shows the truths behind the crown so much better than any other. It reminds us that, although Victoria is one of the greatest monarchs to live so far she was also a normal human, mother, sister, daughter and wife. It shows her flaws in all of these areas which is important for us to understand the monarch.

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  • Natasha
  • 12-10-2019

Our great queen

I absolutely adore this book. I’m fascinated with all things Queen Victoria and this is on point! It really draws you in and let’s you imagine you are there following Victoria around. Very accurate in its content. Bloody brilliant!

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  • flowertoes
  • 12-11-2018

The Most brilliant biography of Queen Victoria.

This will not be a long review,but,I thought I must give my opinion,Julia Baird has gone into every aspect of Victoria`s life from before birth until death,the relationship between her and her beloved Albert,the trails and tribulations triumphs Loves and hates,and as well the political skirmishes with Gladstone and other figures she did not agree with...Believe Me,this is such and absorbing book,One cannot put it down...Or in this case cannot stop listening,deserving of more than five stars...the relationships between Victoria and her children,and, the way she loved them...She was human,and at the end bringing tears to the eyes,the pain she must have been through after giving birth to nine children,altogether,a great,great book.

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  • jules
  • 01-07-2018

Amazing!

such a lovely book, well written and very informative, it's given me a great insight into such a strong Queen of our past

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  • Tishie de la Harpe
  • 12-02-2018

wonderful story

really enjoyed listening to this book, it was very well read, I so enjoyed learni g history this way

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  • Xerxes
  • 21-01-2018

A brilliant, energetic, and fascinating biography

This is by far and away the best royal biography I've encountered in many years. It is a brilliant account of Victoria's eventful life which tries too to explain her personality and her opinions. Carefully supported by rich archival sources, the biography is crafted with verve and vigour and is as fresh as it is fascinating.
I can't recommend this highly enough.
The narration was exceptionally good: clear, intelligent, thoughtful.
One of the best audio books I've listened to.