Monday, December 5, 2016

REVIEW: Victoria

Author: Daisy Goodwin

**I voluntarily read an Advance Readers Copy of this book from St. Martins Press via NetGalley. The opinions in this review are my own.**

Alexandrina lives a very protected, sheltered life at Kensington for years. Her mother and Sir John Conroy control every moment of her life, protecting her reputation and molding her life into what they want it to be. But, at age 18, with the death of her Uncle, King William IV, Alexandrina becomes Queen Victoria. She would rule England for 63 years. This book is about the early days of Victoria's reign.

Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. Goodwin's tale of an 18-year old innocent, inexperienced girl being crowned Queen of England is totally engrossing. Victoria learns hard lessons about politics, royal responsibility, and the effects of power while still just a child. At first, I really felt torn over her immature, impulsive and often resentful behavior. I felt sympathy for Victoria at times due to the domineering behavior of her mother, but I also felt annoyance at her constant petulant, resentful, sulky behavior. Before I got halfway through the book I came to realize that she was just being a teenager. Any girl assuming the throne at 18 would go through the same rough lessons and stormy moods. Teenagers are self-centered because they haven't crossed the line into adulthood - that magical moment when every person discovers they aren't the center of the universe. Imagine being a teenager suddenly thrust into a world where your every whim and order would be carried out? Victoria has to learn that she can't rule by emotion, that she has to stop acting like a child and learn to be a responsible ruler, and that at times duty comes before all else. She has to learn to let go of childish resentments and begin to act like a queen deserving of her people's respect. It's difficult for any young person to find their path in life. Those lessons are even more painful and confusing when you are the newly crowned Queen of England.

Daisy Goodwin also wrote the script for the Queen Victoria television mini-series starring Jenna Coleman. She based this book and the mini-series script on Queen Victoria's actual diaries, which is why I think Goodwin's writing brings to vivid life Victoria's raw emotions of excitement, fear, anger, resentment, and confusion. Victoria acts immaturely and overly emotional at times because she has to instantly transform from a sheltered child into a queen,without having any experience at even the basics of life. I can only imagine how frightening, yet empowering, that was for an 18-year old girl. It's bittersweet as well because just as she realizes she can be free from the absolute control of her domineering mother, she learns that she is always going to be controlled and under the restraints of duty and responsibility. It's a lesson we all learn, but how much more intense a lesson it must be for a crowned queen.

Any fan of  historical fiction will enjoy this book!

Daisy Goodwin has also written several other historical fiction books and poetry collections. Find out more about the author and her writing on her website:

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