Disclaimer: This is an advertisement for SheSpeaks/St. Martins Press. I received this book in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.
Although I don’t have as much free time as I’d like, one thing I still make time for is reading. I am a bookworm and always have been. Luckily Ethan has also picked up my love of reading, and we have read many books together, including some of my favorites from when I was a kid.
I’m also a huge fan of historical fiction. I love being taken back to a time and place that I’ve never been – to situations I’ll never be in myself. Where I can learn about history and the ways people lived. When manners and traditions mattered. Where appearances and family connections were everything. I love reading the Brontë sisters, Lisa See, and Jane Austen. And now, I can add Daisy Goodwin to the list. I am currently reading Victoria by Daisy Goodwin, and I cannot put it down!
“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…. Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.”
I also love to read historical fiction is because I’m taken into another world, totally foreign to me. In Victoria, I get to see what it’s like to become a queen through a young girl’s eyes. Goodwin captures this view drawing from Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University. She brings the young nineteenth-century monarch to life; Victoria would reign for 63 years, have 9 children and a fairy tale love with her husband Albert. Victoria takes us to the early years of the Victorian era, a place that I didn’t know much about before starting to read the book.
Book Review: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
Imagine this: You turn eighteen and within a month’s time, you are awoken early one morning with the news that your uncle William IV has died and that you are now Queen of England; Queen of the world’s greatest nation. How would you handle the news? Would you be excited or terrified? Talk about pressure!
That’s why I loved Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. We get to see her grow not only in years but in maturity and wisdom. And this queen will not be told what to do. The men who run the country (and even her own mother) have doubts about whether this young woman, who isn’t even five feet tall, can take on such a huge responsibility.
Yet despite her age, she knows exactly the kind of queen she plans to be. One of her first decisions has to do with 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.”
Victoria learns quickly whom she can and can’t trust. Lord Melbourne, the prime minister, is the first person that believes in her and he helps her learn how to be a queen. As she learns to be queen she is also being pressured to marry. She’s not interested in marrying, but she does end up marrying Prince Albert.
Here’s what Amanda Foreman, British/American biographer and historian, said 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.”
Thoughts on Victoria
There were times that I felt bad for Victoria because of how her mother treated her (she wasn’t even allowed her own room; up until she become queen she slept in her mother’s room) but other times I thought she was stubborn, extremely unpleasant, and arrogant. But I guess as a ruler, those are qualities that you must have to get things done.
I enjoyed hating Conroy, who along with Victoria’s mother, tried to control everything she did. I wanted to high five Victoria every time she got the upper hand on him!
I really enjoyed this book. When I had about 50 more pages to go I started dragging my feet because I don’t want it to end!
Goodwin spiraled me back into the Victorian age and I loved the ride. Certain parts of the story were intense – I wanted to read “just one more page” and then “just one more chapter.” That to me makes for a fantastic novel. Victoria was a complicated woman who grew up dealing with responsibilities and issues that I can’t even imagine having to deal with. I had fun getting to know her and her world.
About Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
Daisy Goodwin is also the creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria (catch it in January 2017) and author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin now holds a place as one of my all time favorite reads. What are some of your favorites?