4+ of 5 stars to Daisy Goodwin‘s Victoria, a historical fiction novel released with a PBS TV series bringing the book to life on Sunday evenings. I was very sad when Downton Abbey was ending, but looked forward to the release of “The Gilded Age,” “The Crown,” and “Victoria,” all of which handled similar themes and historical families. I won this book through a giveaway but had already started watching the TV series. I finished the book this week with one episode still left to watch to see how this chapter of the story ends — and so far, I’m quite fascinated. A MUST-READ for all…
Victoria’s father was next to be king, but he died young, and his brothers inherited the throne after their father passed on; however, none produced heirs. At 18, Victoria became Queen when her uncle died and she was quickly thrust into the spotlight. Raised by a German mother, with little education, and still a very young girl, Victoria waffled between rebellious teen and resourceful leader throughout this story. It covers about 2 years of her life from 18 to 20, ending when she proposes to her cousin Albert in order to bring some additional stability to her power. Based on Victoria’s journals and several other historical documents, Goodwin recreates the beginnings of a rocky reign which eventually became the longest British royal on the throne (until Elizabeth II recently surpassed it a year ago). While the TV Series ends with Victoria and Albert married, having their first child, and her Prime Minister about to retire, the book stops a few months earlier… but it’s still an amazing story.
1. The story is classic: rebellious teen, loves someone she cannot have, fights with her mother, wants all the beautiful things, but is coming of age… so much drama we all have today but with the splendor of nearly 200 years ago added in for good measure.
2. It’s full of family genetics and history. Who’s married to whom? Who cheated on whom? It’s her cousin? It’s her uncle? It’s also her third cousin once removed from the other side? Crazy… but it seems logical and makes sense all at the same time.
3. The ability to recreate the setting and the ambiance is well done. Goodwin is a master.
I have very little to suggest. Perhaps a family tree tucked into the jacket of the book? A little more background on her father and early years before she inherited the throne? It may help readers understand how her parents fell in love, what kind of relationship they had, how she was raised by her mother using German educational systems. You get a flavor of it, but I thirsted for a bit more.
Forget this is founded in some reality. Ignore that it’s about royalty. Pretend it is modern times. The story is just a classic tale. And it has everything.