Rating:

victoria by daisy goodwin book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

The constant struggle for a novelist is to ’show, don’t tell’. On the other hand, for film, it is almost the opposite, for putting the words with directions on the paper, the actors have a better grasp of the person they are conveying to the rest of the world.

What, then, could be better than a writer who primarily works in film to follow up her acclaimed film Victoria with the novel about that same subject? Makes perfect sense to me! I found Victoria, the book, to be entirely engrossing to the point of not wanting to put it down for any length of time–and I already knew how it would end! Yikes.

However, this was a very warm and compassionate retelling of the young Queen Victoria, whose greatest wish was for her Uncle King to live until her eighteenth birthday! After that date, she could legally accede to the throne without the need for a Regency. Bless his royal heart, he did just that. She was less than a month past that birthday, when the throne became hers.

Her mother and mother’s companion had all sorts of plans for how they would rule through her, but the young woman surprised everyone by demonstrating a formidable backbone. Together with Lord Melbourne as her Prime Minister, Victoria established a new type of Royal family, one that prevails today.

Yet, she was still in many ways a young girl rather than a grown woman, and that immaturity sometimes got in the way of sensible ruling. She did know she’d have to marry and have children, but the problem was in finding the right candidate. Melbourne withdrew as he was more than twice her age, a fact she refused to consider for some time. Her mother’s brother Leopold, King of the Belgians, had his own notion of a suitable husband–either of two nephews, Ernst or Albert. Ernst was a bit too raffish, while Albert was more reserved and very intellectual. It was really no contest.

This book is a really in-depth view of Victoria’s first year on the throne, ending with the royal wedding. It wasn’t all peaches and cream, however, as until she learned to think for herself, Victoria made several serious missteps that could have landed her in serious hot water, but her youth and obvious love for her country and its inhabitants brought her forgiveness, and eventually love.

I’m absolutely looking forward to the next book in the series. There simply MUST be one!! If I were the young Victoria, I could stamp my foot and say “I demand . . . “   but I’m not so I can’t, and will simply have to be patient for a while. Not an easy trick.

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First and foremost, Kelly is a reader, then a writer and editor. She adores Regency-set novels, and cozy mysteries. Every now and then, however, she finds something else to enjoy if it has a great premise with characters who belong in there, and fabulous writing! She writes under her own name, as well as her pen-name, Hetty St. James.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.