Cover Image: Victoria


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I'm clearing out books that I requested ages ago and have been on sale for years! I really enjoyed this title.
Was this review helpful?
This is a light and easy fictional read about Queen Victoria’s first days as the Queen, being at the young age of eighteen. As the sheltered Victoria tests the waters of her new found freedom and power, she often clashes with her mother and others who attempt to gain influence over her or advise her. She is lucky to have found Lord Melbourne, who became her secretary and confidant, and could handle her in a way no one else seemed capable of. She loved him as a father figure, respected him as a friend, but soon developed deeper feelings for him. Their relationship was one of deep affection and loyalty. . Lord M, as Victoria would call him, was her most trusted ally and did a great service to Victoria all the way up until her marriage to Albert. 

Daisy Goodwin is a wonderful author.  I have read mostly everything she has written.  She has quickly become one of my favorite historical fiction writers.  I am always excited when a new book of hers is published.  I enjoyed reading about Victoria’s life prior to her marriage. She was only a teenager and rebelled like most normal teens do, especially those who are overprotected. This led to plenty of machinations and drama, and was on occasion, pretty suspenseful.   If you love historical fiction and all things British, then this is the book for you.
Was this review helpful?
When the tv show came out, I became super into reading about Victoria.  So when I saw this book, I was super interested in getting my hands on this copy.  It was lovely and the love story between Victoria and Albert was written gorgeously.
Was this review helpful?
I tried, really I did, but I find I have no faith in Goodwin as a storyteller. Her characters are fluffy and her propensity for passing off fiction as historically inspired is insufferable.

I had similar issue with THE FORTUNE HUNTER and have to conclude the lack of integrity in Goodwin's work a stylistic choice that, while commercially viable to those with no knowledge of history, has no merit for this particular reader.
Was this review helpful?
As a lifelong royal enthusiast - and fan of the TV show -  I was particularly interested in reading this book. It definitely did not disappoint and gave you a lot of interesting insight about the queen's early years. Wonderful writing and rich details, a must for those interested in royal history.
Was this review helpful?
I  am currently purchasing books for our secondary school library for our senior students. I am trying to provide a balance of genres and periods and really try and introduce them to a wide range of modern fiction and non-fiction. This book would definitely go down well with a hypercritical teenage audience as it has a bit of everything - great insights and a narrative style that draws you in and keeps you reading whilst also making you think about a wide range of issues at the same time. I think that school libraries are definitely changing and that the book we purchase should provide for all tastes and reflect the types of books that the students and staff go on to enjoy after leaving school. Victoria is the kind of book that you can curl up with and totally immerse yourself in and I think it will definitely go down well at my school. I think that it was the perfect blend of A page-turning read with a strong narrative voice too! I think it would be a big hit with our seniors and will definitely recommend that we buy a copy as soon as we can.
Was this review helpful?
I loved reading about Queen Victoria before she became queen and her coming-of-age story as she assumed the throne. It was such a relate-able story as she struggled to grow up and take control of her own life as well as the country. I can't imagine the pressure and responsibility for an 18 year old girl to take on a country and never know who to trust and if people around her even cared about her or just the power she could provide. It was a great read and reinvigorated my desire to see Netflix's The Crown!
Was this review helpful?
This is a great book!  Thank you for the opportunity to read it. I enjoy this author's writing style and choice of fascinating subject.
Was this review helpful?
"I do not like the name Alexandrina. From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria. Melbourne nodded. Victoria.

Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world. Surely she must rely on her mother and her venal advisor, Sir John Conroy, or her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, who are all too eager to relieve her of the burdens of power.

The young queen is no puppet, however. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.

Everyone keeps saying she is destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.

Drawing on Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, 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 richly to life in this magnificent novel."

Even if I wasn't suffering from severe withdrawal since the end of the Victoria series ended this would be a must read for all the Lord M that apparently was cut for time from the series. More Rufus!
Was this review helpful?
Daisy Goodwin's writing is always enjoyable - she brings historic characters to life with insight and realism that is refreshing.  It was with great excitement that I saw the publication of Victoria, for her book An American Heiress is still one of my favorites for subtle details in narrative.

Likewise, Victoria does not disappoint.  In narrating the first challenges of Queen Victoria's long reign, she brings to life the young Victoria -- 18 years old and sudden Queen of one of the largest empires the world has ever seen.  It is as much a story of an extraordinary circumstance as a coming of age novel, as Victoria must shake off the controlling influence of her family in order to come into her own both as Queen and an adult.

For this reader, the story line that we expected -- Victoria's romance with Albert -- was actually one of the least interesting of the novel and the ending felt rushed, which likely had to do with Ms Goodwin's work on the television series of the same name at the time that she was writing the novel.  But while it isn't the peer of An American Heiress, it is still a deeply enjoyable novel and I look forward to reading anything Ms. Goodwin writes.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the chance to review this book, however, unfortunately, I was unable to download this title before it was archived
Was this review helpful?
Although the writing is not particularly exciting, it flows nicely in a way that keeps you wanting to read. It makes Victoria a relatable character.
Was this review helpful?
A great read. Loved the characterization of Victoria and fun to pair with the BBC series. Loved reading about Victoria and Lord M especially after visualizing them in the series. A fun read for those who love historical adaptations.
Was this review helpful?
Was this review helpful?
I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This novel sheds light onto the life of a figure of enormous historical stature, Queen Victoria. I was drawn into the determined, passionate mind of a young queen who chose to rule with her own wits and might and succeeded wonderfully.

Based on multiple historical texts, including letters and notes by Queen Victoria, this book seems to be simultaneously both historically accurate and fascinatingly insightful into who Queen Victoria was as a person.

It has a slower pace to the text with less action and more introspection. Victoria goes from a 2D historical figure to a fleshed-out tangible young girl and monarch under the careful hand of the author. She blossoms from a girl into a woman. Most of the 'action' of the book occurs in the mind of home-schooled Victoria as she tries to navigate new and unfamiliar political territory as the queen of a country.
Was this review helpful?
The question isn't whether the teenage Queen Victoria had a crush on her elderly Private Secretary, the question remains about what sort of feelings Lord Melbourne had towards Her Majesty.

Daisy Goodwin in both her book and PBS miniseries Victoria extensively used Queen Victoria's diaries to weave her tale of Alexandrina Victoria's ascension to the throne. Unfortunately, although Victoria kept all encompassing diaries about not just her actions, but her thoughts and attitudes towards life, her youngest daughter Beatrice edited these reflections (at her mother's request), copying them over and burning the originals. Thus it is only the redacted words which were left behind. Still, Goodwin was able to glean that Victoria definitely had more than just daughterly feelings towards the 58 year old Prime Minister. The gallant, amiable gentleman did everything he could to please his young mentor, yet despite their closeness, even he at times became the target of her ire.

The novel has Victoria mildly flirting with the man who seems charmed by her youthful exuberance although he keeps his personal feelings private knowing it would be inappropriate for him to have a romantic relationship with the young Queen. Victoria is drawn to his life of tragic romance when as Charles Lamb his wife Caroline ran off with the salacious author Lord Byron gallivanting throughout London Society causing scandalized tongues to wag. Caroline returned to her husband after being dumped by the "evil" Lord, and proceeded to publish a "fictionalized" novel containing thinly veiled details of her affair. Lamb suffered from these insults but remained by her side as she died of dropsy at the age of 42.

Trouble followed the now Lord Melbourne as his name was romantically linked to another lady and brought to court charged with adultery or as they called it "a criminal conversation". Despite these scandals, he was able to retain his role as Prime Minister of England and ultimately became the Personal Secretary of a Queen who was fascinated by his lovelorn past. 

Victoria monopolizes so much of Melborne's time that one wonders how he was able to fulfill his role of Prime Minister. Her devotion to the man was revealed when she refused to accept his Tory opponent, Sir Robert Peel, as a replacement when Melbourne attempted to step down (after almost losing a vote on an important measure), forcing Parliament to decline his resignation to keep the government intact. 

Goodwin introduces us to life at Buckingham Palace in 1837 where the willful young Queen has temper tantrums, throws things about, and sulks if she doesn't get her way. Victoria was mean to her mother, obsessed with her hair and wardrobe, and unaware of the needs of those who surrounded her, lacking any sort of empathy for the very people who fulfilled her demands. However, what can one expect of a child kept isolated and under the thumb of a controlling mother (who forced "Drina" to sleep on a cot by her side and did not allow her daughter to walk down the stairs unassisted), brought up under the auspices of a predestined life of royalty.  

My favorite scene is when her two cousins are visiting and Ernest strikes up a conversation with Victoria while the others are vigorously eating their meal. To his astonishment, the footman takes away his dinner mid bite. Although he complains he hasn't finished, the fact is that when the Queen is done eating, everyone is done as well. (And the Queen was infamous for gulping down her food). Of course the reader knows this will happen since this is not the first mention of this tradition within the pages of this book.

While lengthy, the book only deals with the early years of Victoria's reign up to the point where she asks her handsome cousin Albert to be her husband. (The mini series proceeds a little farther to when her first of nine children are born). 

I was slightly disappointed. There was so much fascinating material here to be fictionalized, yet Goodwin kept repeating the same thoughts or ideas through the voices of numerous characters. I appreciated that the author used actually quotes, but at times the dialogue was too staid and as in many historical novels featuring biographical content, the author included too many particulars from the past, although I personally liked the mention of hairstyles and clothing choices as well as the social scenes such as the various balls, dancing, and the trip to Windsor. Perhaps too much attention was paid to some of the specific events which shaped those first few months of her reign. An author needs to pick and choose their focus so we don't get bogged down in unnecessary minutiae. If I wanted to read a nonfiction book detailing Queen Victoria's life I would have read Victoria: the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird (which I just might do).

Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book and recommend it to others. Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

This review also appears on my blog, Gotta Read.
Was this review helpful?
I found this book so interesting. I just saw it at Waterstones when the series started and its such a good book. I'd definitely recommend it to someone who enjoys knowing more about history and Queen Victoria, of course! If you're not interested in history, there's no point reading this one!
Was this review helpful?
Very sorry, but this isn't the book for me. It was very reminiscent of the film The Young Victoria, which I had watched just prior to reading this book. Because I didn't finish it, I will not be assigning a rating or review out of fairness. Thank you so much for approving me, and I look forward to working with you again in the future.
Was this review helpful?
I did not finish this book through NetGalley but enjoyed the beginnings so much that I purchased it! Historical fiction is a genre like no other - very good read!
Was this review helpful?
Wonderful novel with terrific character and very strong sense of place  - great historical.
Was this review helpful?