I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
on November 22nd 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
“They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”
Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”
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.
Outside of Emily Blunt’s performance of Queen Victoria she is a monarch I know very little about. Daisy Goodwin has created a tapestry in sharing this young Victoria’s early reign. At first, her ascent to the throne read like something out of a Tudor novel with constant conniving and scheming to reach the top and win the prize of whispering into Victoria’s ear.
Victoria’s mother and uncle Leopold got under my skin with their whining and deceiving ways. I wanted to send them to the high tower for their constant attempts at interference. Although, this is what made them a good antagonist.
Lord Melbourne was an interesting character, I felt safe when he was on the page, he was a kind soul who truly had Victoria’s best interests at heart and can see why she was crushing on him. However, he was almost old enough to be her grandfather, and he was certainly no Sean Connery! while a first crush is always a bit crushing, I was glad to see her move on to someone her own age, even if it was her cousin.
I was happy that the entire book did not revolve around Albert and Victoria’s courtship as that would have been tedious. It is the little nuances of a person that make a first date memorable and I feel that is what Daisy Goodwin accomplished in telling Queen Victoria’s and in turn Albert’s story.
As a whole, Victoria was beautifully constructed and while the focus of everyone else was Victoria’s love life I liked being able to see beyond that and view the unique person Queen Victoria was.