The Favourite

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474605359

Price: £12.99

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‘An incredible story crackling with royal passion, envy, ambition and betrayal … 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 – perfect for fans interested in the history behind the award-winning film starring Rachel Weisz with Olivia Colman and Emma Stone.


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, author of <i>Jane Austen at Home</i> and <i>Queen Victoria</i>
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 <i>Cecil Beaton: The Authorized Biography</i>
A great read ... Simply put, the life [Ophelia] Field documents and interprets with great care shows Sarah to be as remarkable as her many doubters over a couple of centuries could never believe or admit. One pleasure is how often she quotes Sarah, who wasn't a wit but was so frank and trenchant that she is witty in spite of her pragmatic nature ... in [Ophelia] Field's book, [Sarah Churchill] remains untethered, a magnificent woman to occasion wonder
Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Brilliantly captures the voice of its captivating central character
Choice </i>Pick of the paperbacks<i>
Scholarly, highly articulate, and above all never dull
John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph
Ophelia Field's gripping biography of Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough recounts the scandalous friendship between the Queen and her favourite
Jane Shilling, Daily Mail </i>Must Reads<i></i>
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 <i>The Six Wives of Henry VIII</i>
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
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
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
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
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 <i>Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion</i>
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
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