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Lady Queen Anne Analysis

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

For the average high-school student, seventeenth and eighteenth century history is not particularly interesting. Thus, to bring such an obscure time in history to life in order to make it appealing to teenagers—indeed, to make the personages and issues of the day relevant to the concerns of modern adolescents—is no small task.

This biography succeeds as a rich experience for young readers on several counts. It is, first of all, a fiercely honest account of a less-than-perfect person. Hodges treats Queen Anne with respect and admiration, but her appraisal is a truthful one. Anne was uneducated (as were most of the women of her day) and limited in terms of her intelligence. She made serious errors of judgment in trusting people who she thought were loyal friends. Examples of these poor decisions include maintaining a relationship with the duchess of Marlborough, Sarah Jennings Churchill, who only wanted to control Anne for power and wealth, and allowing Sarah’s husband, whom she made the earl of Marlborough, to lead the fight against France far too long at the expense of the country. She was married to a kind but dull and somewhat inept man, and Anne’s personal life was marred by the death of her children (none survived to continue the Stuart reign) and the intense guilt that she felt over abetting her father’s downfall. She was often ill, a condition exacerbated by her many childbirths, and had such poor vision that she could barely see.

On the other hand, Hodges depicts Anne as a kind, loyal, patriotic, religious, and, by all records, decent but unexciting monarch, during whose reign England’s arts and science thrived and blossomed. Scotland was united with England, education was improved, America was colonized, and France was defeated (though the war was too long and costly). The economy was stable, London was rebuilt after the fire, and the people were generally more comfortable than they had been earlier. Although the period depicted is remote and the historical events are obscure for modern readers, the problems that were faced by Anne are not so foreign. Political intrigues and power plays, religious intolerance, and the use of friends in high places to achieve power—these are issues that fill the pages of newspapers.

Finally, and probably most important, Hodges brings that...

(The entire section is 582 words.)