Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Becoming the Queen

Daisy Goodwin
St. Martin's Press
November 22, 2016

Victoria is a fictionalized account of the brief period of the future Queen's life just before her eighteenth birthday, the subsequent death of her uncle, the King, and her ascension to the throne. It ends with her proposal to Prince Albert and his acceptance. Having been raised in almost total seclusion at Kensington Palace by her over-protective mother and her mother's smarmy, power-mad equerry, Victoria is ill-equipped for her role. She is naive, innocent, and very badly educated. She does, however, take steps to free herself from her mother's control. With the help of her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, she begins to grow into a Queen who will have an entire age named after her. There are some serious missteps in the first year of her reign, but Victoria learns from them. In Victoria, the relationship between Lord Melbourne grows from respect, trust, and a shared sense of humor, to something much more. Victoria thinks that she is in love with him, and Lord Melbourne has a great affection for her. Thankfully, he understands that a match between a man some forty years her senior, plagued by scandals of his own, would be an impossibility. He steps aside when the time comes with considerable grace.

I love coming-of-age stories and historical fiction with some romance. Victoria has all of those elements backed up with known facts. Victoria and Lord Melbourne had a long-lasting and close relationship. Whether it was romantic, or simply mentoring can only be guessed at. There is no doubt that he did a splendid job of mentoring her through the rough first days. I can see why she might have fallen for the Prime Minister if he was anything like the version presented here, especially as her own father had died early. Prince Albert, however, is almost an afterthought in the story, and one that I did not find all that appealing. I enjoyed Victoria and am looking forward to seeing the mini-series based upon it when it comes to PBS in 2017.

Thanks to St. Martins and NetGalley for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

RATING- 4 Stars

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