My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Exactly what you’d expect: highlights from the show, cast and real-life castles. It’s a beautiful book, a must-read for any fans… and if you’ve not seen the show, it’s a good intro!
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 Based on Victoria’s journals and several other historical documents, Goodwin recreates the beginnings of a rocky reign which eventually became the longest British royal on the throne (until Elizabeth II recently surpassed it a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.
5 stars to Netflix’s original series “The Crown,” episode 7: “Scientia Potentia Est,” about Queen Elizabeth II’s reign of the United Kingdom — the early years. I may have found a temporary, suitable replacement for “Downton Abbey.”
A chronicle of the last days of King George VI before his unprepared daughter became Queen Elizabeth II. In episode #7, Elizabeth faces 3 primary obstacles: (1) Her own lack of formal education, (2) An inability to choose her own new private secretary and (3) Her government’s leading two men’s failure to inform her of their crippling illnesses.
- The tone of the acting, the drama, the setting and the direction is strikingly mid-century British. Now, of course you’re thinking… it’s supposed to be you fool… and you’re right; however, it’s brilliantly assembled such that I don’t even mind when a few parts may be an exaggeration of the reality that took place. After all, how would anyone alive today know exactly what happened in the privacy of some of these conversations? And so… that’s why I find it enlightening! It feels exactly like what would have happened.
- Costumes and scenery are wonderful. Props are used in all the key places. And the actors seem quite comfortable in their roles.
- Winston’s comeuppance was amazing. I waited all episode for it to happen, and when it did, it came just short of where I wanted it to go… I wanted him to apologize. I wanted her to browbeat him. I wanted to hear the faltering in their relationship. But alas, that is not the British way, and so… I did not see it. Brilliant. It was all done in the facial expressions, the silence and the imagination. Loved it!
- How could her parents not properly educate her. I agreed with Elizabeth for confronting her mother… and then her mother’s drunken response was classic… she stated the simple truth. She didn’t know better. No one told her. How can you blame her? It suddenly felt so clear, and so sad… not just because she was a women but because she was not the expected heir at the time. Karma’s a bitch, though… so it comes racing back!
- The fight over her selection of the secondary back-up secretary to replace the current secretary instead of the primary back-up secondary… excellent plot. I too would have told them where to shove it. But there’s that tradition that she is so stuck on following despite her own needs. Tough predicament. I feel like she and I would be good friends.
- I’m fearful with only 3 episodes left, we may only get to Elizabeth’s second set of pregnancies and still have another 50 years of non-aired history. I can hope for a season 2!
Yes, it’s less drama than Downton Abbey. And it’s based on reality which means it can be a bit of a repeat. But with such a fresh set of eyes and a look into years before my time, I am happily hooked and enjoy my new Sunday evening calm. All 10 episodes are available on Netflix, but I carefully watch one per week so savor each moment. Check it out at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5254162/?ref_=ttep_ep7.