Review: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin // The Grandmother of Europe as a Teen

victoriaSeries: Standalone

Publication: November 22nd, 2016 by St. Martin Press

Source: I received an ARC copy from the publisher via Netgalley. Thank you!

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Victoria. The name will bring forth images for anyone who hears it. Maybe you think of the time period and its notable restrictive fashion. Maybe you think of the state in Australia or the city in Canada bearing the name. And maybe you think of the queen who, up until recently, was Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

This is the story of how a fifth-in-line-to-the-throne, determined, independent, strong-willed girl of eighteen became the Queen of England. Alexandrina Victoria may have led a quiet, suppressed life before coming to the throne, but she lived a vibrant life when she gained her freedom. Daisy Goodwin is known for her historical fiction writing full of emotion, history, and vulnerable characters. And Victoria is no exception.

While people are probably more familiar with “the Grandmother of Europe” that was known for her harsh treatment of her children and her undying love, even in death, to her husband, Victoria was once just a girl trying to figure out how to rule a country with no training or background. Goodwin follows Victoria’s beginning years as queen from her blunders through her Coronation to the infamous “Bedchamber Crisis” to her refusal to work with any prime minister but Lord Melbourne—or should I say Lord M.

I loved this book! I think it can be challenging to write historical fiction about a prominent figure in history. Authors have real life events that they have to follow while imagining what was going on behind the scenes and also trying to stay true to what is known about their character. I am American and know very little about British history so I have no opinion on how accurate this portrayal of Queen Victoria might be, but I can attest to how engaging it was to read. I found Victoria to be likeable and relatable from her running down the stairs as her first defiance to her mother to her refusal to change her ladies-in-waiting as her plan to keep Lord M on as her prime minister. It was also quite funny to read as Victoria protested repeatedly about ever considering to marry Albert when everyone already knows what happened in history and how desperately she fell for him and loved him. Though a tad slow at times for my tastes, I vastly enjoyed reading this and will continue to be a fan of Goodwin’s books.

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Have YOU read this book? Have you seen the TV show that Daisy Goodwin wrote the screenplay for? Have an interest in Queen Victoria? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.

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