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Courting Her Highness by Jean Plaidy
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Courting Her Highness (1966)

by Jean Plaidy

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(previously published as 'The Queen's Favorites') ( )
  tarheel96 | Apr 11, 2014 |
This is the last of Plaidy's Stuart trilogy, and begins just prior to the succession of Queen Anne. In a dull but contented marriage, Anne gets her excitement in life from her association with the outrageous Sarah Churchill. Her outspoken comments and gossip are enthusiastically taken up by Anne until Sarah comes to be the real power behind the throne. Thus Anne's willingness to see her father, James, ousted from the throne are in part due to Sarah's persuasion. When Sarah finds she has the embarrassment of poor relatives, she finds a place for one of them- Abigail Hill- at court, in a menial capacity. But Anne comes to appreciate Hill's quiet manner and humility in contrast to Sarah's increasingly bombastic and insolent attitude. Gradually behind the scenes the mousey Hill is even getting involved in politics by getting an audience for Mr Harley -an enemy of the Marlboroughs-with the queen.
Not realising Hill's influence until it's too late, Sarah is ultimately excluded by the queen, who was once such a close friend. Through all the intrigues, we follow the queen's family life, with countless stillbirths, and her one surviving son dying tragically while still a child. We read of Sarah's own passionate love for her husband, and her ambition to rule the country through a succession of dynastic marriages for their children.
Unputdownable!! ( )
  starbox | Oct 25, 2012 |
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When the attention of Lady Marlborough was called to her impecunious relations, the Hills, she looked upon the entire subject as a trivial inconvenience, although later - much later - she came to realize that it was one of the most - perhaps the most - important moments of her brilliant career.
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With the death of William of Orange a new reign began, but soon England asked whose reign, Queen Anne's or Queen Sarah's? Impetuous, outspoken and ambitious for her soldier husband, the Duke of Marlborough, Sarah Churchill saw herself as the power behind the throne. But she grew too confident, something which Abigail Hill quickly turned to her own advantage. Dark intrigues centre on the Queen's two intimates. But whether in or out of favour, the love of Marlborough and Sarah shines through those fervent years - passionate and indestructible.
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"It's the beginning of the eighteenth century and William of Orange is dying. Soon Anne is crowned queen, but to court insiders, the name of the imminent sovereign is Sarah. Beautiful, outspoken Sarah Churchill had bewitched Anne through the auspices of the Duke of Marlborough, Sarah's husband and perhaps the greatest military genius England has ever known. Sarah believes she is invincible, and she is, until she installs a poor relation of hers into court as royal chambermaid. Plain Abigail Hill seems the least likely challenger to Sarah's place in her Highness's affections--but challenge it she does, in stealthy yet formidable ways. While Anne engages in her private tug-of-war, the nation is obsessed with another, more public battle: succesion. Anne is sickly and childless, the last of the Stuart line. This final novel of the Stuarts weaves larger-than-life characters through a dark maze of intrigue, love, and destruction, with nothing less than the future of the British Empire at stake"--… (more)

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