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Kathleen W. (New Brighton,, MN)
The Flip Side of the Victorian coin
The reader of this review needs to understand two things upfront: the reviewer is a longtime reader of British history (both fiction and non) and a loyal fan of MASTERPIECE television.
Sue J. (Brookfield, WI)
VICTORIA by Daisy Goodwin covers the relatively short time between the 18 year old Victoria becoming Queen of the British Isles and her meeting with her future husband, Prince Albert. That is a strength of this book-providing the reader with a narrower set place in time of plot and characters. Historical fiction can sometimes work against itself in terms of the heft of details to be understood. This narrowing allows the author Goodwin to do a more than credible job in presenting both plot and character in such a way as to enable the reader to easily follow the narrative as well as to gain insight into the motivations of supporting and lead characters. That is not to say that Victoria's strict and strident early years are ignored; they are dealt with in such a way that the reader comes away with a clear understanding of both the social/political complexities of that time as well as the complexities of character of the young queen who will lead her Britain into the 20th century. Goodwin provides a valuable service in showing both the romantic / passionate young girl as well as the naive/ isolated / insecure context from which she springs. This rendering compares starkly with the only visual that some readers will have of the dour and reclusive final years of her lengthy reign. The reviewer was especially interested to experience the "fleshing out" of the characters of Prime Minister Melbourne, Victoria's mother and Princes Albert and Ernst. Goodwin takes much of her content from the diaries of Victoria who began writing voluminously when she was but 12. I happily anticipate the screen adaptation which is to appear in the US in January of 2017.
Victoria was an enjoyable historical read. I found the dialogue interesting as well as the descriptions of the mansions and clothing. Though the story did drag a bit for me at times (Victoria's obsession with Lord M), I appreciated the struggles of an eighteen year old girl becoming the Queen of England. I was disappointed that the novel didn't include Victoria's first few years of marriage to Albert and how that impacted her reign.