A NoveleBook - 2016
"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 Victoria and 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.
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Historical novelist and screenwriter Daisy Goodwin tells the story of a young Queen Victoria in her historical fiction novel Victoria. The story opens with eighteen year old Alexandrina Victoria inheriting the throne from her uncle in 1837. Most people thought she was too young, sheltered, and female to be Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. She surprises them all with a before unused authority and power and as one of her first acts as Queen, changes her name from the hated Alexandrina to Victoria. Raised under the strict Kensington System, Victoria was sheltered from society and allowed to walk down stairs only holding the hand of her governess and was forced to sleep in the same room as her mother. As Queen, her first experience of independence is fascinating to witness.
As Queen, Victoria must learn about her people, politics, and what it means to be a female monarch. She relies heavily on her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, who has a reputation as a ladies man. There is definitely an attraction between them, but her family wants her to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. They had met as children and Victoria remembers him as stiff and serious. She is most certainly not interested.
This is a coming of age tale of a young woman thrust unexpectedly into a position of great responsibility. Victoria is stubborn and at times naïve but she is also clever and witty. The characterization in this book is wonderful and you feel as if you really know these famous historical figures. It is a page turner despite being a work of historical fiction. Author Daisy Goodwin studied Victoria’s diaries as a student at Cambridge and became fascinated by the feisty young version of a sometimes sober elderly monarch.
The novel follows the early period of Victoria’s rule and is a companion to the television series written by the same author. (The show is currently airing on PBS.) The romance and political dynamics keep the pace high in this novel that retains a light tone throughout. Victoria is not a serious historical account of facts, but a lovely insight into the personality and motivations behind a young Queen.
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