Download Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire Audiobook

Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire Audiobook, by Julia Baird Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Julia Baird Narrator: Lucy Rayner Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2016 ISBN: 9781681680750
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When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would 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 tracts of the globe. In 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 twenty, 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 conventional 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 fresh 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “With impeccable phrasing and a voice rich with the style and color of nineteenth-century England, narrator Lucy Rayner captures the essence of Queen Victoria…Rayner creates mystery and intrigue with her performance of Victoria’s mother…Rayner captures Victoria’s personality and emotions so well that listeners come to know her and Albert, her beloved prince, throughout her reign until his untimely death. Rayner also breathes life into the widowed Victoria, who reigned for forty years in mourning and still continued to amaze and shock her subjects. A bravura performance! Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “Rayner’s narration is a perfect match for the sprightly text. She breathes life into each of the myriad characters and personalities that populate Victoria’s life and court…Rayner’s interpretation of Queen Victoria over the course of her long life is enchanting. Listeners can hear the subtle changes she makes to capture Victoria’s seemingly dual personalities, that of strong-willed monarch and submissive wife, as well as the toll her long life and many disappointments took upon her. Highly recommended.”

    Booklist (audio review)

  • “Fascinating.”


  • Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird’s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “In this in-depth look at a feminist before her time, you’ll balk at, cheer on, and mourn the obstacles in the life of the teen queen who grew into her throne.”

    Marie Claire

  • A Booklist Top 10 Pick for Biographies on Audio
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Award
  • An  Esquire Magazine Best Book of the Year
  • A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best selection
  • A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

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About the Author

Julia Baird is a journalist, broadcaster, and author based in Sydney, Australia. Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Guardian, the Good Weekend, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun-Herald, the Monthly, and Harper’s Bazaar. She has a PhD in history from the University of Sydney, and in 2005, she was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.

About the Narrator

Lucy Rayner is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and award-winning British actress. She has starred in numerous short and feature-length films, including English20 and Total Retribution. For her performance in Bolero, she was named Best Supporting Actress at the 2013 Madrid International Film Festival. She has worked on both sides of the Atlantic in a number of theater productions and films, many of which have screened at festivals around the world. She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Edinburgh and is a graduate of the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City.