Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review: "Victoria" by Daisy Goodwin

From Goodreads: 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….

My Thoughts: This is the second book I've read about Queen Victoria recently and she is such a fascinating historical figure.  This book focuses on the early years of Victoria's reign and the issues she faced in her personal and political life as she cemented her role as queen.

I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Victoria and her mother; it was fascinating to watch Victoria come into her own as an independent young woman. Her mother seemed like such a difficult person to deal with and for the most part, Victoria handled her well.  The portrayal of their unique relationship made them both seem more normal and less like superior beings.  I actually like this aspect of the story because it made Victoria relatable.

I'll admit that I didn't really like Prince Albert all that much.  He was just so whiny and insufferable.  I did feel bad for him since he had such a difficult childhood but he was just a big grouch for most of the story.  The relationship seemed very rushed in the story and I would love to see a continuation of this book that focuses on the progression of Victoria and Albert's relationship through their married years.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  Victoria was portrayed as a much more interesting and complex than I had previously thought.  This is a definitely a good read for those who enjoy reading about the person behind the crown.  3 stars.

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