A portrait of Sarah Churchill, first Dutchess of Malborough (1660-1744). Castigated for traits which might have been applauded in a man, Sarah was described by Dr Johnson as a "good hater". She was instrumental in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and became a strident advocate of Whig principles. She supervised the building of Blenheim Palace and Marlborough House, as well as managing some 27 other estates. Sarah was a compulsive and compelling writer, narrating the major events of her day herself often at centre-stage. This biography brings her voice back to life and casts a critical eye over images of the Duchess in art, history and literature.
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 fist book is something of a wonder ... The Favourite is an outstandingly accomplished debut. - Guardian
Field has created an unforgettable picture of a remarkable figure ... Even after 250 years, she fascinates like nobody else of her time. - Sunday Herald
Scholarly, highly articulate, and above all never dull - John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph
[Sarah Churchill] is a marvellous subject for a biography, and Ophelia Field's book, capacious and beautifully detailed, does her full justice, discarding cliched judgements and bringing to light new evidence ... It is the first work by a writer who is master of her craft - Independent
The particular strengths of Field's book lie in areas unexplored by others, in particular the discussion of contemporary writing. - Carola Hicks, The Times Literary Supplement
A profile of society's fear of forceful women. - Image Magazine
Ophelia Field was born in Australia and educated at Christ Church, Oxford and the London School of Economics. She has worked as a policy analyst for a number of refugee and human rights organisations and currently lives in London and New York.