This is an advertisement for SheSpeaks/St. Martins Press. I received a free copy of Victoria for my honest review.
About the Book:
“Victoria is an absolutely captivating novel of youth, love, and the often painful transition from immaturity to adulthood. Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria’s story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit.”
– AMANDA FOREMAN
Drawing on Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, Daisy Goodwin―creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoriaand author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter―brings the young nineteenth-century monarch, who would go on to reign for 63 years, richly to life in this magnificent novel.
Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world.
Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.
“I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.”
Next, people say she must choose a husband. Everyone keeps telling her she’s destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.
On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin’s impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.
Preorder Victoria by Daisy Goodwin (available 11/22/16)
About the Author:
When I was eighteen I went to Cambridge University to study history. MY first assignment was Queen Victoria and the media. I went to the library to consult her Diaries. She wrote sixty two million words in her life time and as I pulled out the first leather bound volume I felt overwhelmed by its size and weight. But then it fell open at the entry for 3rd Nov 1839, ” I saw me dearest Albert who was all wet in his white cashmere breeches with nothing on underneath.” As I laughed out loud, the other readers looked at me in disapproval. Queen Victoria, I decided then, was not the boot faced old bag with a bonnet I had imagined, but a woman after my own heart.
All my novels have been set in the Victorian era: The American Heiress is about a dollar princess called Cora Cash who marries an English duke; The Fortune Hunter is the story of Sisi, the beautiful Austrian Empress who came to England to hunt – in the novel Sisi meets Victoria. I enjoyed writing this encounter so much – Victoria”s voice came so easily to me, that I decided that my next next novel would be about the young Victoria. But as I started writing it, I thought it would make a great tv drama, which is how I ended up writing the PBS Masterpiece series Victoria, as well as my novel Victoria, a novel of a young Queen.
When I am not immersed in the nineteenth century, I live in London with three dogs, two daughters and a husband.
I have a passion for English history – if you cannot already figure that out from the volume of books I read about the country. I do tend to read about periods further back in time than this one but there is no denying that Queen Victoria is a big part of English history. I will note that I really did not know that much about her going in to this book.
The book starts with Victoria just before she turns 18 and she is living with her mother and her mother’s “friend” John Conroy. They sheltered Victoria, keeping her from society in hopes of being regents should she ascend the throne prior to her majority. But the timing of the old King’s death was, if one can write this, beneficial for Victoria as he died when she was old enough to take the throne without a regent. She did so but her wanting to break free from the confines of her mother and Conroy led to her, at least at first, refusing an help at all. You can well imagine that problems soon ensued as a young, inexperienced, sheltered girl tried to do the job of an experienced King.
She soon learned to trust some people as she came into her own and as she learns to be queen she is also being pressured to marry. For of course a woman is nothing without a man – and she must secure the succession. I am not spoiling the plot by telling you that she marries Albert – but I won’t share how she gets there. I’ll leave some surprises.
I did enjoy this novel. Victoria is a fully realized character and I have to admit that I really didn’t like her at times. She proved to be an unpleasant teenager, a stubborn young adult and at times a truly imperious woman but I suppose that it part of being a Queen. It also showed her to be human. The delivery of the history was sometimes a bit clunky but no as bad as I’ve experienced in other books. It’s a real skill to inform the reader while entertaining. Ms. Goodwin did bring me to the Victorian age and I was happy to be there. Victoria was a complicated woman who loved her husband deeply. When he died she lost her lodestone and it severely impacted her worldview.
This is a book to be enjoyed by anyone who loves England, history and a good love story.
Victoria would make an excellent holiday gift for the book lovers on your list. You can preorder Victoria by Daisy Goodwin (available November 22nd) to gift them a virtual trip to Victorian England.
Other Books by Daisy Goodwin
You can read my review of The Fortune Hunter
You can purchase The Fortune Hunter on Amazon.com