I received a copy of Victoria free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This didn’t change my opinion of the book.
Many of you know I have a passionate fascination with the British monarchy. For the most part though, I have mostly focused on the Tudors, with a few forays into Eleanor of Aquitane and then the more recent royals (The King’s Speech started that… what can I say?). For some reason, I never really got into Queen Victoria. Lately, though, for some reason, I’ve felt like maybe I should. When I found this book, it seemed like a good place for me to start.
Victoria begins very shortly before the death of William IV, with the teenage Victoria just breaths away from the throne. She has spent her life closely guarded and isolated by her mother, the Duchess of Kent and the domineering Lord John Conroy. She’s not even able to walked down the stairs unattended. When the king dies, she immediately begins to come into her own, shedding the name she hates, Alexandrina- or Drina to her mother-, and becomes Victoria. She causes further rift with her mother when she demands a room of her own and insists that she will meet with her ministers alone.
Victoria becomes particularly close to the prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who would eventually become her private secretary. As their relationship grows closer, it also grows rather more controversial. Lord Melbourne, like many others, pushes her to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Coburg, but she insists she is not interested.
I really love this book as a dramatic introduction to Queen Victoria. It made an intimating woman seem much more accessible. While she was every inch a queen, she was also an inexperienced teenager. It made her feel more real to me, just the idea of her being a real teenager, pretty much like anyone else.
Everything I’ve read since this doesn’t indicate to me that there was anything romantic between the young queen and her prime minister. I have to assume this was a little dramatic license to help spice up a work of fiction. Still, I can’t be too irritable about it, the whole thing was well done. I can give up a little accuracy for some entertainment, in this case.
Daisy Goodwin has also written a series for TV as well. It’s out on the other side of the pond, but we here in America have to wait until January to see it. It does have Jenna Coleman as Victoria, though, so as an enormous Doctor Who fan, I of course want to check it out. The pictures I’ve found online look fantastic.