'An incredible story crackling with royal passion, envy, ambition and betrayal ... Field's account of the psychological power play between Queen Anne and her confidante is surely definitive. A tour de force' Lucy Worsley
Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, was as glamorous as she was controversial. Politically influential and independently powerful, she was an intimate, and then a blackmailer, of Queen Anne, accusing her of keeping lesbian favourites - including Sarah's own cousin Abigail Masham.
Ophelia Field's masterly biography brings Sarah Churchill's own voice, passionate and intelligent, back to life. Here is an unforgettable portrait of a woman who cared intensely about how we would remember her.
Ophelia Field was born to American parents in Australia in 1971. She read English at Christ Church, Oxford, and gained a Master's in Development Studies at the London School of Economics. She subsequently worked as a policy analyst for several refugee and human rights organisations. Until 2008, she was Director of the Writers in Prison Programme of English PEN. Her first book, The Favourite, was published to wide acclaim in 2002, followed by The Kit-Kat Club in 2008.
This is an incredible story crackling with royal passion, envy, ambition and betrayal, and Field's account of the psychological power play between Queen Anne and her confidante is surely definitive. A tour de force — Lucy Worsley
Nowhere is the subtlety of Ophelia Field's historical understanding more apparent than in her delicate reading of the relationship between Sarah and Anne. That it is Field's first book is something of a wonder ... An outstandingly accomplished debut — Kathryn Hughes, GUARDIAN
She is a marvellous subject for a biography and Ophelia Field's book, capacious and beautifully detailed, does her full justice. It is the first work by a writer who is a master of her craft — INDEPENDENT
Other historians have skirted around the true nature of Sarah and Anne's passionate friendship, with its lesbian overtones, but Ophelia Field tackles the subject courageously ... During her long life Sarah managed to quarrel with almost everyone and took great care in editing her papers to ensure that posterity would know her side of the story, which is covered exhaustively by Field in this impressive debut — THE TIMES
Scholarly, highly articulate, and above all never dull — John Adamson, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Field draws effectively on Sarah's letters and self-justifying memoirs to produce a remarkable portrait — SUNDAY TIMES
Field has created an unforgettable picture of a remarkable figure ... Instead of fictionalizing her, Field shows how Sarah became a kind of fictional and artistic icon, a symbol of certain kinds of power that remained free of the checks and balances that the new settlement and constitution was bent on establishing. Even after 250 years, she fascinates like nobody else of her time — SUNDAY HERALD
A quite astonishing tale — Mark Kishlansky, LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS
Once you have started reading Ophelia Field's splendid book, it is hard to put it down — THE LADY
Scholarly but never less than fascinating, Field's debut truly brings to life the complex character of Sarah Churchill and the last of the Stuart courts — ABERDEEN EVENING EXPRESS
A masterly biography which brilliantly captures the power and passion of its subject. This is an exemplary study of an extraordinary woman — Anne Somerset, author of QUEEN ANNE: THE POLITICS OF PASSION
A lively and provocative biography of a fascinating woman, which is crafted with style and vivacity. I am sure it will appeal to both scholars and the general reading public alike — Alison Weir, author of THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII
Behind every great man, they say, is a strong woman. Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, the not always cozy confidante of Queen Anne, looms large over the 18th century, and Ophelia Field has done a remarkable - and surely definitive - job in bringing her story to life — Hugo Vickers, author of CECIL BEATON: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY and ALICE, PRINCESS ANDREW OF GREECE