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Queens of All the Earth

2.89  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  43 reviews
As her freshman classmates move into dorms at Cornell University, Olivia Somerset suffers a nervous breakdown. Big sister Miranda decides the sisters should fly off to Barcelona for some vacation therapy. When a mistake at their Barcelona hostel leaves the Somersets in a large co-ed dorm room, Olivia and Miranda are saved by kindly Mr Brown and his son Greg. But while Oliv ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Bancroft Press (first published September 30th 2011)
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May 20, 2011 added it
Shelves: 2011, arc-galley
I always marvel at the way life seems to throw books at me which somehow relate to my personal experiences. Kind of like having my own master Yoda as a sounding board. Coicidence is not something I rely on often, and I take these experiences as they come.

Queens of All the Earth is a short, sweet novel about two sisters who depart on a trip to Spain. Our main character, Olivia, has suffered a nervous breakdown on the day she was due to leave for university, and the trip to Barcelona was meant to
usagi ☆ミ
(crossposted to librarything and

Apparently this was inspired by Forester’s “Room With A View”. Interesting fact, I guess, because not much else in this book felt very different or original.

I wish I could give this book more stars, but I just can’t. This is a theme that has been done before (the odd couple meeting girl interrupted), and I’m afraid to say that this book doesn’t really break the mold. Don’t get me wrong – the prose is lovely, and flowing, and lyri
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Although it was a relatively short book this story seemed to drag on and on. There was a lot of gorgeous description of Spain but not enough meaningful dialogue between the characters. The story also jumped around too much between points of view and it wasn't always clear whose it was. There wasn't a big revelation, maybe a small one, and it didn't really seem like the conflict had been resolved. There was a little romance, and while that was cute it was very abrupt. And then the book ends. Ther ...more
Feb 24, 2011 marked it as nope
Shelves: 19-arc-ebook
I'm sorry but I just can't get into this. There's absolutely nothing in this story that manages to hold my attention for more than 5 minutes and somehow the story has a weird feeling to it. I don't know whether it's me or the book. Maybe this is one of those cases where you just have to stick with it and the story gets better after 100 pages or so but right now I just don't have the energy to find this out. I'm not going to rate this since I feel that I haven't really given it a chance.

ARC provi
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think to understand this book to its fullest, maybe you will have to have read A Room with a View and understood E.M. Forester's intention in A Room With a View to understand how closely linked these two books are. I felt like all the characters from the Italian pensione were all there at the Spanish hostel. The sex or the names had been changed slightly, but everyone was there. And they were all appalled because a father and son gave up their room, this time, a private room, to the two sister ...more
As her freshman classmates move into dorms at Cornell University, Olivia Somerset suffers a nervous breakdown. When months of coaxing and analyzing fail to rouse Olivia from her stupor, big sister Miranda decides the sisters should fly off to Barcelona for some "vacation therapy."

When a mistake at their Barcelona hostel leaves the Somersets in a large co-ed dorm room, Olivia and Miranda are saved by kindly Mr. Brown and his son Greg, who happily volunteer to surrender their private room. But wh
Jul 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Zombies, vampires, and werewolves have stampeded into classic novels with the arrival of the mash-up novel--think Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Slayre, or Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (I suppose this one isn't based on a classic, but just roll with me here). I've only read the first of the aforementioned mashups, but it was fun and quirky, and it made me remember all of the things that made the original such an amazing book. Evidently, Somebody Important deemed that a reworking of E.M ...more
1.5 stars.

I got this book off of NetGalley (many thanks!) quite recently and let it cut in line in my TBR queue because the synopsis sounded pretty interesting, and I was in the mood for something contemporary — no fantasy, vampires, fairies and whatnot. Just real people in real situations. But after finishing this book, instead of yearning for more contemporary and like books, I think I’m going to go back to my fantasy, vampires, fairies and whatnot for a while.

The Queens Of All The Earth start
Alex at Raiding Bookshelves
Original Language: English
Publisher: Bancroft Press
Country: USA
Publication Date: June 15 2011
ISBN: 9781610880190
Page Count: 160
eARC provided by NetGalley

Hannah Sternberg's debut novel is a thrilling coming-of-age adventure where control is taken over by the whimsical and imagination moves in leaps and bounds. Queens of All the World is the story of sisters Olivia and Miranda, separated by more than just age. Olivia is unwilling to release the wonder of her childhood while Miranda believes herse
Michele Capobianco
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
A coming-of-age novel portraying two very different sisters traveling in autumnal Barcelona, Spain, Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg explores teen-angst and transition. This novel deals with grief and depression, describing it as a surreal experience of the mind that is symptomatic. “Olivia, outside herself, watched the scenes of her first European city bob past her like washed-out hand-held film footage…The scent of sewage and things frying sent bullets into…the tender portions of he ...more
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012, fiction, travel
On the day she’s supposed to start at Cornell University, Olivia Somerset sits catatonic in her bed. Diagnosed with a nervous breakdown, it takes months of recovery before Olivia is in motion again. A trip to Barcelona with her older sister Miranda seems to be the final attempt to get Olivia back on track. Once there, the two encounter a wide variety of characters at their hostel, including a clergyman and his son, Greg, who immediately takes an interest in Olivia. As the two girls explore the s ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A Room with a View is my favorite movie of all time (to date at least) and one of my favorite books, so when I saw a book on NetGalley that was all about it, I knew that it had to be. Retellings can be quite a tricky business, because, while the author needs to do something original, they also need to stay true to the nature of the original story. Sternberg has done a good job here, although clearly much has been changed, particularly the time line and the additional focus on Miranda.

Sternberg d
Sep 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Just before she's supposed to start at Cornell, Olivia falls into a catatonic state. It seems to have to do with Olivia refusing to let go of her childhood, and once she is functioning again her older sister Miranda takes her on a trip to Barcelona to get "closure." Along with others staying at their hostel, the sisters explore Barcelona.

Well. This was...well. The main reason I kept reading was because I was sure that the plot was going to show up at any minute. But then it ended, and the plot s
Wandering Librarians
Sep 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Just before she's supposed to start at Cornell, Olivia falls into a catatonic state. It seems to have to do with Olivia refusing to let go of her childhood, and once she is functioning again her older sister Miranda takes her on a trip to Barcelona to get "closure." Along with others staying at their hostel, the sisters explore Barcelona.

Well. This was...well. The main reason I kept reading was because I was sure that the plot was going to show up at any minute. But then it ended, and the plot s
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants a great read
The very first thing that I noticed about this book was the exquisite description that flows throughout it. Though I have never been to Spain, the descriptions, especially those in the first chapter, made me feel as though I was with Olivia on the bus, watching the scenery flash by the window, so fast I could barely see it. To get down to the real review, I loved this book, plain and simple.

It wasn't a particularly hard book to read, but something about it really just drew me in. I really think
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
The Queens of All the Earth is about two sisters named Olivia and Miranda. On the day she is supposed to leave for her Freshman year at Cornell, Olivia becomes catatonic. She has an obvious and acute fear of growing up. In order to help her sister, Miranda takes her on a vacation to Barcelona. While there, Olivia finds a love interest in Greg Brown, a shy preacher's son. Olivia has never had a boyfriend, but Miranda hates the Browns.

Honestly, Miranda hates everyone. And everyone rightfully hate
An interesting book with awkward phrasing. While reading Queens of All the Earth I sometimes felt like the author was doing something I could relate to. Other times I felt like cringing at the way it felt like "that" book. You know, the kind that tries to be literary and metaphorical without, for whatever reason, fully succeeding at it.

I liked Olivia, one of the sisters in this book. I felt like she was the kind of person that did what she was told all her life, only to wake up and realize that
Paula  Phillips
Reading Queens of all the earth, shed a little bit of light on things and perspectives for me as the novel did start off not like I thought it would , as it started with Olivia arriving at College and having a psychotic catatonic breakdown and then moved on to three months later when Miranda and Olivia take a contiki tour around Barcelona, Spain. This is the part that I was able to connect with as my goal for 2013 is to go on a European Contiki Tour, it will be my first long period away from my ...more
Sternberg, Hannah. Queens of All the Earth. 160p. Bancroft. 2011. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-1-61088-019-0; pap. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-61088-032-9; ebook $6.99. ISBN 978-1-61088-033-6. LC number unavailable.

Gr 9 Up--Instead of starting her freshman year at Cornell, Olivia Somerset has a nervous breakdown. After several months, though, she has recovered enough to go with her older, sister, Miranda, on a therapeutic journey to Barcelona. Once they arrive at their hostel, they are mistakenly given a room in
Sep 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I read the first two chapters of this and then stopped because I was not feeling it at all. The next day I picked it up again and moved slowly through it. It's inspired by A Room with a View by E.M. Forster and I've seen a movie adaptation of it so I enjoyed catching the references. Furthermore the writing was absolutely gorgeous, with long, luxurious scenes filling me up with details.

However the characters were what lost me. Olivia and Miranda are sisters (!) embarking on a trip to Barcelona af
Elizabeth B
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Queens of the Earth by Hannah Sternberg (galley proof) starts off exceptionally dark and bleak when Olivia, on the verge of moving into Cornell University, suffers a mental breakdown. Still detached from the world itself, her big sister decides they need a “break” and the two are off to Barcelona for a week. This book moves VERY slow, a product of wall of text writing. Perhaps the author intended to give us a cloudy view of the world (what Olivia might be seeing) but as the book is written in th ...more
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Little Bookworm
After a mental breakdown, Olivia Somerset is brought to Barcelona by her stern but loving sister, Miranda for some R&R. Olivia is drawn to the quiet and strange Greg Brown who is traveling with his father. And the two families become acquainted after a mix-up with the sister's room and Mr. Brown's offer to switch with them.

If you have ever read A Room with a View, then you will be familiar with the plot of Queens. There are a few changes here and there, but the basic story
Allie Duzett
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just barely put this book down, after reading it cover to cover in one sitting.

This book is masterful.

It's not my typical genre, and it did take a few pages to get into, but I was captivated. At one point I had to put the book down, just to sit back and revel in awe at the gorgeousness of the poetry of it. Pages 56-57. Amazing. My husband asked me what was wrong and I just had to say, nothing was wrong. The story was just so beautiful I had to take it in for a moment.

I was astonished and deli
Jen Chatfield
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'll admit, it took a few pages to get into it, for me because the writing is so lovely and poetic, and the pacing so even and smooth. The books I've been reading lately are really quick reads, pure entertainment, so I'm used to scanning quickly for the good parts. Getting to know the sisters though, and all of the travelers in their hostel, was completely enjoyable and realistic. Combined with the atmosphere and description of Barcelona, I felt like I was right there with them.

I love both Miran
Pamela Todd
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
The Queen’s of all the Earth is very much a coming-of-age story, but instead of being in early teens, it is in the form of a college freshman, Olivia Somerset.

Olivia suffers a breakdown and defers her freshman year of college. Her sister, Miranda decides the best therapy for Olivia is a vacation to Barcelona. With the sultry summer heat and gothic architecture as a backdrop, Olivia struggles to figure out who she really is, how she really feels, and how to go about taking that next step to move
Elizabeth M
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, poetic retelling of A Room with a View, and it captures Barcelona so well that I almost felt as if I'd been there myself. The story concerns two sisters who travel to Spain for their Thanksgiving holiday. One of them, Olivia, is recovering from a nervous breakdown that prevented her entering college. Her older sister, Miranda, is overly protective and a bit of a snob (and maybe a prude, too), but Olivia still manages to fall in love and start to come out of her shell.

What I
Amy Armstrong
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arc
After Olivia has a nervous breakdown the day she's supposed to move-in at Cornell, her sister, Miranda, takes her to Barcelona for vacation therapy. From that point on, it's a contemporary retelling of A Room With a View.

I have to give Hannah Sternberg credit for staying so close to the original story line in terms of the characters they meet in Barcelona (instead of Florence). Strenberg's writing style is also strong in its own right. She really gets into her characters' heads and her prose is
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
This is the first time I have compared a more contemporary novel with a paranormal. But the sisters relationship in this book really brought back the a similar situation we had between Scarlett and Rosie in Sister's Red by Jackson Pearce. One sister yearning to experience love and another sister a little overbearing with protective qualities. Although this book is minus the werewolves and action. The description really does say it all.
The plus side of the book is the writing is very descriptiv
Izzie Edwards
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
The synopsis for this book seemed to contain everything one could want a pair of American sisters escaping the trials of their lives by traveling to Europe. When they get there they meets fascinating foreigners, confusing Scots and intrigue. It is supposed to be a coming of age novel and yet all I could feel about this book was a bit confused and a lot bored. The premise seemed promising but the book felt stilted and a bit disjointed . I wanted to like Olivia. I sympathized with her mental fragi ...more
Mar 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Reviewed at: Library of Lights

Review date: 28th Feb 2011

Review link:

I was looking for something different than my regular dose of romance and paranormal read when i stumbled upon this book, The Queens of All the earth written by Hannah Stemberg.

This book is a rather thought provoking reads about two sisters, coming of an age together. It makes me wander back down my own memory lane when I was younger than I am now.

This book is pretty inspirational in many ways, and
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Hannah Sternberg is a published novelist; advice columnist; and freelance writer, editor, and videographer. Her work has appeared in many outlets, including Publishers Weekly, Dear Wendy, and Thought Catalog.

Hannah lives and works in Washington, DC. In 2009, she graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a major in Film and Media Studies and a minor in Writing Seminars.