Review: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Title: Victoria
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: November 11, 2016
ISBN: 978125004546
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher


They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”

Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”

In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….

Drawing on Victoria’s diaries 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 even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.

My Thoughts

Over the last few weeks I have been enamored every Sunday evening by the PBS series Victoria. I have eagerly watched each episode wishing it were longer than just an hour. Daisy Goodwin, author of The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter,  has tapped into the history of the young queen Victoria and dazzled us a with a novel based on her early years as a monarch. 

Victoria led a very sheltered life away from court. She was stifled by an overprotective mother afraid for her safety. When she was crowned Queen of England she had little experience but so desperately wanted to prove herself to her peers and all of England that she was up for the task. She found a friend and adviser in Lord Melbourne, a man with a troubled past. Lord M., as Victoria nicknamed him, was just who she needed to help her navigate her new responsibilities. 

Daisy Goodwin has blended fact with fiction in this interesting take on Queen Victoria. I enjoy her writing so much, I'm disappointed when I get to the end of the book. I love that she's also the writer of the television series. I don't think anyone else could have done it justice.

While the television series goes on to explore Victoria's relationship with Prince Albert after their marriage, the book ends with their engagement. I think anyone who enjoyed watching Victoria on television will love this book. It's the perfect companion. My hope is that Daisy Goodwin will write another book to pick up where this one left off.