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Queen of the Air

A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus
Written by: Dean N. Jensen
Narrated by: Emma Bering
Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins

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Publisher's Summary

A true life Water for Elephants, Queen of the Air brings the circus world to life through the gorgeously written, true story of renowned trapeze artist and circus performer Leitzel, Queen of the Air, the most famous woman in the world at the turn of the 20th century, and her star-crossed love affair with Alfredo Codona, of the famous Flying Codona Brothers.

Like today's Beyonce, Madonna, and Cher, she was known to her vast public by just one name, Leitzel. There may have been some regions on earth where her name was not a household expression, but if so, they were likely on polar ice caps or in the darkest, deepest jungles.

Leitzel was born into Dickensian circumstances, and became a princess and then a queen. She was not much bigger than a good size fairy, just four-foot-ten and less than 100 pounds. In the first part of the 20th century, she presided over a sawdust fiefdom of never-ending magic. She was the biggest star ever of the biggest circus ever, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth.

In her life, Leitzel had many suitors (and three husbands), but only one man ever fully captured her heart. He was the handsome Alfredo Codona, the greatest trapeze flyer that had ever lived, the only one in his time who, night after night, executed the deadliest of all big-top feats, The Triple--three somersaults in midair while traveling at 60 m.p.h. The Triple, the salto mortale, as the Italians called it, took the lives of more daredevils than any other circus stunt.

©2013 Dean N. Jensen (P)2013 Random House

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What listeners say about Queen of the Air

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Reademandweep
  • 19-02-14

Narration is terrible. What a shame.

What did you like best about Queen of the Air? What did you like least?

Sad and depressing but lovely story about a unique life.

Would you recommend Queen of the Air to your friends? Why or why not?

No. The story is ruined by the narrator who reads so slowly I had to put the app on 1.5 just get a slow/normal pace and this distorted her voice (and as bad as that was, it was an improvement). Terrible experience.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Emma Bering?

Anyone able to speak normally would be better. It was as if she was speaking to a very dumb non English speaking (or half deaf) person. It's so bad, I wondered if there was something wrong with the soundtrack.

Do you think Queen of the Air needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. I don't care about the book or the characters because the reader made me feel nothing but irritation.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • martha
  • 17-12-13

The book is better than the narrator

What made the experience of listening to Queen of the Air the most enjoyable?

Both the story line and the obvious research that went into the book.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Liven up!! The delivery needs to be brisk and energetic for this story. Instead the narrator oozes emotion, her delivery is almost plaintive..

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. It was just enjoyable....enjoyable enough to make me look forward to traffic jams.....

Any additional comments?

Overall this was a good listen, and the narrator was not so bad that she interfered with the story, once you get used to her drippy voice. I will, however, avoid books narrated by her in the future.