Download Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams Audiobook

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams Audiobook, by Louisa Thomas Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Louisa Thomas Narrator: Kirsten Potter Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2016 ISBN: 9780147524799
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An intimate portrait of Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, who witnessed firsthand the greatest transformations of her time  
Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams, whose life had been dedicated to public service from the earliest age. And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself. Their often tempestuous but deeply close marriage lasted half a century. 

They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England, at royal courts, on farms, in cities, and in the White House. Louisa saw more of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time. But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out. The other members of the Adams family could take their identity for granted—they were Adamses; they were Americans—but she had to invent her own. The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self. As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice. That voice resonates still. 

In this deeply felt biography, the talented journalist and historian Louisa Thomas finally gives Louisa Catherine Adams's full extraordinary life its due. An intimate portrait of a remarkable woman, a complicated marriage, and a pivotal historical moment, Louisa Thomas's biography is a masterful work from an elegant storyteller.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Tell[s] the quite extraordinary story of Louisa Catherine Adams in all its splendor and sadness. Louisa has been worth the wait.”

    Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “A pleasure to read…Manages the difficult balance of exploring [Louisa’s] life as the partner of a prominent public man without letting him hijack the narrative.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] lushly detailed, authoritative book.”


  • “Thomas rescues her subject by giving Louisa Catherine her own voice, but also by making this a love story.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Rich and thorough.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “An insightful, compassionate portrait…Readers of biography will find Thomas’ book engaging as well as educating.”

    Historical Novels Review

  • “Thomas’ unusual, enchanting choice of words together with her subject’s strenuous and glamorous life make this book an unlikely page turner.”

    American History

  • “An excellent account of the life of this woman, who certainly merits greater attention and praise.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Kirsten Potter offers an engaging narration, which is vital, given the audiobook’s length. She varies her tone and pacing to fit the content. Listeners will clearly know when the author is being ironic or incredulous…Potter is especially effective in setting off quotations…Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “[An] elegant, sweeping biography.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Finalist for the 2017 Plutarch Award

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About the Author

Brittany Pressley has won several Earphones Awards as well as the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration in 2018. She has recorded over one hundred titles and has received several nominations for American Library Association’s annual list of Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults. She is also an accomplished singer-songwriter and voice actress. Her voice can be heard on national and international TV and radio commercials as well as several animated series and video games. She is a graduate of Columbia University.

About the Narrator

Kirsten Potter has won several awards, including more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a three-time finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. Her work has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and by AudioFile magazine, among many others. She graduated with highest honors from Boston University and has performed on stage and in film and television, including roles on Medium, Bones, and Judging Amy.