Victoria focused on Queen Victoria’s early reign, from the time she was crowned as Queen until she proposed to Albert only a short time later. This biographical and historical fiction novel was a moving depiction of a young woman who was thrust into ruling her country upon the death of her uncle. Although she stumbled in her first few months, she quickly found her footing and became an adored ruler of England.
Everyone saw Victoria as too young to rule and plotted to exert influence over her so that they could rule the country through her. Most of the high ranking officials around her were eager to discredit her and call her crazy, or see her married to someone they knew so that her husband could rule. It is always hard for me to read novels with male characters who are quick to disparage a woman’s mental stability, as was the case here. I was impressed by Victoria’s steadfast vision to be the monarch and exert control over her subjects. That was especially hard given that she had been sequestered throughout her life by her mother so that her mother could control her by keeping her uninformed and isolated.
I was glad to find that the author wrote this in a style that was true to the time period, but still easy to read. This had good pacing with plenty of interactions between the characters that showcased the era’s dress and manners. The conversations between characters displayed an appropriate amount of decorum, but weren’t too antiquated. Some of the more noteworthy settings in the novel were Kensington Palace, Heyde Park, Buckingham Palace, and Windsor castle. I personally enjoyed those settings since I just visited them last year. That made the book really come alive for me because it was easy to envision the actions Victoria took.
There was a little too much focus on an early misstep Victoria made when she basically banished Lady Flora from court because Victoria believed she became pregnant out of wedlock. There was also a lot of attention paid to the struggle for prime minister and Victoria’s preference as to who it would be. There was a lot of political turmoil in England at that time between the different political groups, and Victoria’s selection of her Prime Minister and ladies maids were serious decisions with deep political impacts. I would have liked to see more of her good deeds explored, like the homes she set up for the indigent. Victoria was portrayed as a thoughtful woman who acted cautiously in her early reign to ensure that she didn’t make a mistake. Her fear of doing something wrong slightly paralyzed her ability to make decisions but was an interesting component to her growth as a Queen.
This was a fantastic overview of who the young Queen Victoria was and made me respect her. I found this very enjoyable and would recommend it.