In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.
One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….
Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.
What I Think
When you think about royal historical fiction, what do you think of? Henry VIII? Elizabeth I? Maybe even the modern royal family? That’s what I think; rarely do I think of someone such as Queen Victoria. So when I picked up Victoria, I was excited to learn more about a queen who was very private from what I’ve heard.
What I loved about this book is telling the story of Victoria as she rose to become queen. Her childhood was very sad; her mother depended heavily on John Conroy, an ambitious man from Ireland determined to control both mother and queen. When Victoria became queen at 18, we see her become determined and very stubborn about what she wanted out of her life as the head of the state.
Which brings me to what I didn’t like about the book. Because she had such limited experience outside her home, Victoria didn’t know how to handle certain situations. Her obsession with Lord Melborne was tiresome by the end, especially when she insinuated on numerous occasions that she didn’t want to marry. Yes, your Majesty, we get it! Are you doing anything else except for pine over your Prime Minister while stroking Dash the dog? I could have had this fleshed out beyond the romance and tunnel vision determination.
If you’re a fan of The Crown, Victoria, or Downton Abbey, then this book is a must read for any Crown lovers. I enjoyed the book in spite of it’s flaws.