Monday, November 14, 2016

Book Review: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The American Heiress and
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "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."

"This is an advertisement for SheSpeaks/St. Martins Press".

Victoria has lived a sheltered life before she became the Queen Victoria that we are all familiar with.  Her mother didn't let her socialize or experience much outside of the walls of house, so in turn she doesn't know much about the world.  At eighteen years of age, she find herself the Queen and with this comes not only great responsibility, but also a chance for her to carve out her own path.  Thanks to Lord Melbourne, the prime minister, she learns the ins and outs of her life as Queen.  There's one problem though. She starts to feel something for her much older advisor, Lord Melbourne, but she knows she can't possibly allow herself to love him.  To complicate matters further, her uncle has come to court to remind her that she is destined to marry Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, but last time Victoria saw him, she was completely turned off.  Daisy Goodwin's Victoria is an interesting glimpse into a lesser known Victoria.  Readers get to know the Victoria that just arrived to the throne and the young woman who was finding her way.

I only knew the basic information about Victoria when I read this novel,  but I love that Goodwin sheds so much light on her path to the throne as well as her life before Albert.  The dynamic with her mother was especially interesting and I desperately wanted Victoria to break free from her mother's controlling grip.  As any young woman will experience, Victoria struggled with her newfound freedom and although she didn't make the best decision at every turn, I still was rooting for her.

Her relationship with Lord Melbourne in Victoria was an interesting one. I could see the appeal of a well-respected man who actually supports her....a man with power and charm, but I knew that not only was he entirely too old for her, I was desperately waiting for Albert's arrival to court. And with that came my frustration. I was 70% through Victoria and there was no Albert yet!  I was desperately waiting for his entrance and once he arrived, I was thrilled and loved his complex relationship with Victoria as well as his relationship with his charismatic brother.  

All good historical fiction makes you want to learn more about its topic at hand and that was the case with Victoria.  Reading this novel made me want to brush up on my British history and learn more about Victoria and Albert.  It also has me so, so very excited for the show coming to PBS this January, which is based on this very book and written/created by Daisy Goodwin herself.  I hope that Goodwin continues with Victoria's story as there is so much more to tell!

So, if you are like me and love all things historical fiction as well as British Royalty, you will definitely want to check out Victoria this fall, especially before the show airs this January on PBS. I can't wait!

Pre-order the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble!


  1. Great review! I love when I learn something by reading historical fiction. I wasn't as frustrated about Albert's missing presence because both movies I've seen focus on their relationship and this book spent more time on Victoria's relationship with her mother and her prime minister. I did get frustrated with Victoria's immaturity but also understood that this was partly due to how sheltered she was.

    1. Me too! I definitely was intrigued by her relationship with Lord M. I had no idea about that! It should be interesting to see how it is depicted in the show this January! Yes, Victoria's immaturity was annoying at times, but I had to remind myself she was young and very sheltered. I liked her overall though! Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  2. Oh, I feel like I would be frustrated as well considering it took a while before Albert entered the scene. The best thing about fiction based on true events is how easily we could relate and empathize with the characters and how the story becomes broader than what was in the book. So even though I sense your frustration, I think this is a great way to study the life of the sitting queen.

    1. Yes, I definitely thought Albert showed up at least at the half way mark! I did enjoy it overall and it made me want to learn more about Victoria. I wish I would have read it before my trip to London! Thanks for visiting, Joy!

  3. Well, now I officially have to read this! I LOVED The American Heiress so I'll pretty much read anything by this author. I can definitely see why you were frustrated though. Great review!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. If you enjoyed The American Heiress, you'll like this book, Tracy, especially if you like learning about British Royalty. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Great review. I definitely want to try this one! :)

    Lauren @ Always Me


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