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Download Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe Audiobook, by Nancy Goldstone Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,458 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nancy Goldstone Narrator: Josephine Bailey Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9781400173846
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Set against the backdrop of the turbulent thirteenth century, a time of chivalry and crusades, poetry, knights, and monarchs comes the story of the four beautiful daughters of the count of Provence whose brilliant marriages made them the queens of France, England, Germany, and Sicily. From a cultured childhood in Provence, each sister was propelled into a world marked by shifting alliances, intrigue, and subterfuge. Marguerite, the eldest, whose resolution and spirit would be tested by the cold splendor of the Palais du Roi in Paris; Eleanor, whose soaring political aspirations would provoke her kingdom to civil war; Sanchia, the neglected wife of the richest man in England who bought himself the crown of Germany; and Beatrice, whose desire for sovereignty was so acute that she risked her life to earn her place at the royal table. A compulsively readable narrative, Four Queens shatters the myth that women were helpless pawns in a society that celebrated physical prowess and masculine intellect. A riveting historical saga for fans of Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Narrator Josephine Bailey adds a note of refined elegance with her clear and clipped British accent while expertly pronouncing the often complicated and obscure names. AudioFile
  • “All the color and spectacle of court life during the thirteenth century are on display in this vivid account.”

    Theodore K. Rabb, author of The Last Days of the Renaissance

  • “Based on a solid bedrock of scholarship, this remarkable story is told with all the verve and aplomb and richness of detail that four such extraordinary women deserve.”

    Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 2/17/2014

    " This was a quick read. I was hooked from the first chapter. The book has been criticized for lack of historical accuracy. There may be a few issues with that, but nothing that was essential to the delivery of the story. Ms. Goldstone stayed within the scope of the storyline without drifting off too far into the intricicies of the politics. It is more of an introduction to the sisters rather than an in depth essay. Most people who pick up this book are not going to be historians and so to get overly mired in correspondence and the secondary politics of the day would have created a less entertaining book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Luci | 2/14/2014

    " I liked it. It was easy to understand and very clear in terms of keeping people straight - unlike other history tomes. This is a good book to understand politics in 13th century Europe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cece | 2/12/2014

    " I enjoyed this. At times her interpretation of the events was a bit of "guess and golly" but history is interpretation. Overall, the read was easy and interesting. I would have liked more expanded genealogical tables in the back-it is easier to watch the players and relationships with that kind of graphic to follow. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abbey | 2/11/2014

    " LOVED this book! Who knew 13th century European history could be so captivating! Absolutely loved it; couldn't put it down. Wish there was a sequel. ;-) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cate | 2/1/2014

    " Written in a hugely accessible & entertaining style. I really enjoyed reading this. It reads like a novel, but is a history book. This the story of the 4 daughters of the Duke of Provence who all married into the richest, most influential ruling families of the 13th century. Marguerite became Queen of France, married to Louis of the two failed Crusades & Sainthood, Eleanor married the King of England & was a diplomat & key player as the Monarchy struggled to establish itself. Sanchia married the Kings brother, Richard of Cornwell, who as well as being one of the richest & most important landholders in England also managed to get himself elected King of Germany - the one elected Kingship. Sanchia was the least political of the girls and struggled in her marriage & died early into her reign. The youngest daughter, Beatrice married the Duke of Anjou, youngest brother of the King of France. Both were fiercely ambitious & encouraged by the Pope, Charles & Beatrice invaded the wealthy Italian state of Sicily, again for a relatively short lived ambit. Very interesting getting to grips with European history and the role of the Provencal sisters. Thoroughly recommend this book to history buffs and those who just want a damn good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brenda DiVincenzo | 12/22/2013

    " One of the best nonfiction I've read in a long time. Goldstone took these four sisters that not much is known about and fleshed them out into real women. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marik Berghs | 12/22/2013

    " I am interested in medieval history and this historical nonfiction book was a delight to read. It followed the lives of four powerful women and how they were influenced and in turn influenced their times. Nancy Goldstone managed to take detail of setting, time and place and weave them together in context creating a lively and informative background for recorded facts about the people and events of thirteenth century Europe. She is a clear concise writer as well, and allowed me to keep track of generations of rulers and relatives in a time when every second child was named for someone else. Good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chelsea | 12/17/2013

    " A little draggy at points but I enjoyed learning more about European history because this is one area I know very little about. I don't know if I would have picked it up if it wasn't our book club read but I still enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julianne | 11/13/2013

    " More insight into medieval Europe! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 7/17/2013

    " I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys English medieval history. It's more non-fiction than fiction, but it reads like fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 3/16/2013

    " Very readable history. Brings alive the 13th Century. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katsura | 3/2/2013

    " Women and politics in 1200s. Interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Marion | 8/12/2012

    " Fascinating book about turbulent times and the four sisters who all ended up as wives of kings. The author makes the era come alive with each sister's story. Highly recommend! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tina Denson | 7/1/2012

    " proof that chicks rule! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lexi | 6/28/2012

    " An interesting look at Medieval European politics and the role of powerful women in them. Well-written and more fun than a typical history, with drama galore. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 3/18/2012

    " Great for history buffs looking for a light read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynne | 2/19/2012

    " I found this to be too dry for my current mood although I did learn quite a bit about the queens. It was worth reading for the line "Nunneries were the assisted-living complexes of the Middle Ages." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ms. Newman DHSlibrary | 7/21/2011

    " This was fascinating. Royal life in the time of the Crusades: intrigue, arranged marriages, sibling rivalry, and more... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 7/15/2011

    " This is a more academic book, but because the lives of these women were so interesting, it still makes for a good read (just gets bogged in details here and there). Four sisters, and they all become Queens - its nuts - because its true. Right up my alley. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 6/20/2011

    " It was actually an interesting book, but I found it difficult to get through-- the writing style reminded me of reading a history book... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harry | 5/22/2011

    " Fascinating story of four sisters, daughters of an obscure Provencal count, who become queens in Europe. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie | 5/10/2011

    " A fantastically told story of four sisters in the thirteenth century. How their lives separated, entwined, and -most of all- determined the fate of European history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 5/10/2011

    " This is a fascinating look at a very interesting period of history, as well as a good read. I learned alot from it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marjorie | 2/27/2011

    " This was very interesting. More Biography than I expected, but a really great read. I always knew all of the Royalty in Europe was related, now I know why! I enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chelsea | 1/29/2011

    " A little draggy at points but I enjoyed learning more about European history because this is one area I know very little about. I don't know if I would have picked it up if it wasn't our book club read but I still enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taylor | 12/25/2010

    " A fine book, with a gripping narrative and great historical characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 ladywallingford | 12/11/2010

    " Although, as others have said, I found the title of the book to be a bit of an exaggeration, I do think it did a good job of showing the relationships between marriage, family, and politics. It also provides a good look into the time period of the 13th century through a woman's eyes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Autumn | 10/19/2010

    " I loved it. Wow, what research the author must have done to keep track of four sisters with four sets of political ties and all those that branch off from those and those that merge together, etc. Goldstone made the queens come alive and made you celebrate, seethe and mourn with them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ms. Newman | 10/18/2010

    " This was fascinating. Royal life in the time of the Crusades: intrigue, arranged marriages, sibling rivalry, and more... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 10/15/2010

    " I actually really liked this book. It dealt with several geographical areas and royal families that I have read about before. I liked how it tied all the pieces together for me. It is a well-written account of a famous family! "

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About the Author

Nancy Goldstone has written and coauthored several books, including Four Queens. She lives with her husband and coauthor Lawrence Goldstone in Westport, Connecticut.

About the Narrator

Josephine Bailey’s impeccable narrations include the British classics Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden. She has also used her subtly nuanced style to enliven historical fiction and light romances. She has won nine AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.