Victoria: A Novel

Victoria: A Novel

by Daisy Goodwin


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"Victoria is an absolutely captivating novel of youth, love, and the often painful transition from immaturity to adulthood. Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit."

Drawing on Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, Daisy Goodwin—creator and writer of the new PBS Masterpiece drama Victoria and author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter—brings the young nineteenth-century monarch, who would go on to reign for 63 years, richly to life in this magnificent novel.

Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world.

Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.

“I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.”

Next, people say she must choose a husband. Everyone keeps telling her she’s destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.

On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin’s impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250045478
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/26/2017
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 157,568
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

DAISY GOODWIN is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter. She is a Harkness Scholar who attended Columbia University's film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University, and was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. The creator and screenwriter of the Masterpiece presentation Victoria on PBS, she lives in London.

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Victoria: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Almost verbatim to the TV series but stopped way too soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So entertaining and shows such a personal side to the world of royalty that none of us will ever know
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn’t know much about Victoria having only seen older pictures of her. The book provided a glimpse into the life of the Queen. Well written easy read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a delightful insightful collection of the early years of the Queen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Victoria takes you from a young girl, to a teen Queen. You find yourself cheering her on as she works on finding her footing to the Queenly states of her responsibilities, with the help of her Lord M, whom she falls in love although it is a love that is doomed, as Lord M is not a Royal suit for the Queen. But, her first cousin, Prince Albert, is her chosen match. The story unfolds, keeping us wondering if it will be her love for Lord M, or the hand of her chosen husband, the Prince, that she will ask in marriage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, just wish there was more of it, or better yet a series of books on the remainder of Victoria's reign.
JamesJohnCudneyIV More than 1 year ago
4+ stars to Daisy Goodwin's Victoria, a historical fiction novel released with a PBS TV series bringing the book to life on Sunday evenings. I was very sad when Downtown Abbey was ending, but looked forward to the release of "The Gilded Age," "The Crown," and "Victoria," all of which handled similar themes and historical families. I won this book through a giveaway but had already started watching the TV series. I finished the book this week with one episode still left to watch to see how this chapter of the story ends -- and so far, I'm quite fascinated. A MUST-READ for all... Story Victoria's father was next to be king, but he died young, and his brothers inherited the throne after their father passed on; however, none produced heirs. At 18, Victoria became Queen when her uncle died and she was quickly thrust into the spotlight. Raised by a German mother, with little education, and still a very young girl, Victoria waffled between rebellious teen and resourceful leader throughout this story. It covers about 2 years of her life from 18 to 20, ending when she proposes to her cousin Albert in order to bring some additional stability to her power. Based on Victoria's journals and several other historical documents, Goodwin recreates the beginnings of a rocky reign which eventually became the longest British royal on the throne (until Elizabeth II recently surpassed it a year ago). While the TV Series ends with Victoria and Albert married, having their first child, and her Prime Minister about to retire, the book stops a few months earlier... but it's still an amazing story. Strengths 1. The story is classic: rebellious teen, loves someone she cannot have, fights with her mother, wants all the beautiful things, but is coming of age... so much drama we all have today but with the splendor of nearly 200 years ago added in for good measure. 2. It's full of family genetics and history. Who's married to whom? Who cheated on whom? It's her cousin? It's her uncle? It's also her third cousin once removed from the other side? Crazy... but it seems logical and makes sense all at the same time. 3. The ability to recreate the setting and the ambiance is well done. Goodwin is a master. Suggestions I have very little to suggest. Perhaps a family tree tucked into the jacket of the book? A little more background on her father and early years before she inherited the throne? It may help readers understand how her parents fell in love, what kind of relationship they had, how she was raised by her mother using German educational systems. You get a flavor of it, but I thirsted for a bit more. Final Thoughts Forget this is founded in some reality. Ignore that it's about royalty. Pretend it is modern times. The story is just a classic tale. And it has everything.
Mirella More than 1 year ago
I have yet to watch the PBS Series Victoria, but after reading this novel, I am intrigued and eager to see it. The author wrote both the screenplay and this book. The novel spans the early life of Victoria, from becoming queen to her marriage to Prince Albert. The author did an exceptional job at portraying Victoria as young and impressionable, sometimes naive, too. I enjoyed the interaction and affection she shared with the Prime Minister who proved to be a strong ally and mentor, guiding and easing her into the political arena. I loved this book from start to finish. It is a coming of age story, one of perseverance and triumph, and one that portrays Victoria with all her imperfections and courage. For those who are fascinated with England's Royal Family or those who simply enjoy historical biographical tales, there is much within this book's pages to entertain. It definitely left me eager to read the next installment. Definitely recommended.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Wow, who knew a history lesson could be so incredibly entertaining. I fact checked a couple things in this book just to see how close to true history it was and it was spot on. Yet, I did not feel like I was reading a history book. Daisy Goodwin must have done an amazing amount of homework to be able to tell the story so true to Queen Victoria’s life. If the miniseries that is going to be released in January 2017 is anything like Victoria, the book, I cannot wait to watch it. I knew nothing about Queen Victoria when I picked up my copy of Victoria by Daisy Goodwin so I had no idea what her history was or how the book would end. I devoured her story. The descriptions of the era, room, dresses, even hairstyles made the book play out as I read it. With each description I read I could easily picture more and more of the life that the Queen was living. The interactions with the other characters in the book were equally wonderful. I enjoyed watching Victoria grow for a young girl who was unsure of what her reactions should be in situations to a strong Queen who was able to make her wishes known and they were followed without question. As I learned more and more about the history of the time I found myself wanting to know more about the other characters. Victoria’s mother was interesting. While I could not agree with the way she raised Victoria, I do believe that she loved her daughter and was trying to do what was right by her. Lord Melbourne is someone that I would have loved to know more about. His history and his future are questionable and I only hope he was able to find happiness again. There are so many wonderful secondary characters that I would love to know more about.
gaele More than 1 year ago
It's Easy to see this as a Chicken-Egg conversation - did the idea for book or screenplay come first -- it's easy to see this as a screen production and I can't wait for the PBS airing. I love my Brit History, and Victoria, as one of the most unlikely candidates for Queen oversaw the multitude of changes in the 19th century. While this book focuses on her early life and determination to be independent and fully embrace her new role, for me, much of the intriguing parts of her life were the post-Albert years, the trials and tribulations of her children, and her near-reclusive removal from the public eye. But now there is a chance to see Victoria as she was, pre-widow’s weeds on a round and seemingly joyless countenance, and what potential there is for a compelling read. It did, however, read very much like a screenwriter’s book to me… and therein lies the rub. Early on, Victoria appears as a sheltered and spoilt child, frustrated with her mother’s attempts to protect (or manipulate as common history would have one believe) her: cycling through emotional ups and downs much like a teenager. The requisite emotional impact behind her actions was lacking, if not entirely demanding readers assume it there. With the choice of her ‘royal name’ and her determination to strike out and take on the role of Queen, we see mistakes made in haste, great learning and growth. All rather superficially until the very compelling Lord Melbourne, William Lamb. The introduction of Lamb, a man with a rather troubled personal life but wholly versed in the politics of the day was eager to influence and inform the young Queen, and from early mentor to later trusted friend and advisor, he did provide a sense of continuity and intrigue to the story… Fictionalized to bring in a romantic element, the appeal of Lamb for Victoria was apparent. Older, father-like, educated, deferential and self-aware: he’s not entirely Byronic in his manner, but there is a layer of melancholy that does appear in context. While Goodwin doesn’t always score high points from me for pacing, the descriptions and insets that allow readers to visualize the moments are wonderful. It is easy to see that this could be a “chicken-egg” conversation: whether the idea for a screen production was first and book second, or book was written with the intention of a screen production – the story is perfectly suited to the screen. As a book, the subject and the author’s treatment of fact v fiction is the true intrigue in the story, with a few moments of little known history revealed and the years pre-Albert are highlighted, unlike many other books about this woman. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
girlfromwva64 More than 1 year ago
"THEY THINK I AM STILL A LITTLE GIRL WHO IS NOT CAPABLE OF BEING A QUEEN" In less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, in 1837, Alexandrina Victoria became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. She was sheltered and controlled by her mother while growing up. She was small in her stature, female and they thought she was too unappealing to be on the throne. As soon as William IV passed, she surprised them all and started taking care of what needed to be taken care of. She met with ministers alone, and one of those ministers became Victoria's private secretary. Lord Melbourne might have become more than that, but everyone argued that she was destined to marry her cousin. When Victoria had met her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Doburg and Gotha when she was a child, she thought he was stiff and critical. Later when she met him again she had a different idea about what kind of a husband he could be. This novel brings the young queen more richly to life. It uses Victoria's diaries and the gifts of history and written drama from the author. I have always admired Queen Victoria and her transition from being a child into a young adult. I love how this shows her desire to be the kind of Queen she wants to be and the steps she took to make it happen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Read. A fun, light glimpse of history. It is exciting to know that Victoria's own journals were used to write this book. This book makes history come alive. To see Victoria change from a very young woman to become queen is fascinating. Great read for adults and young adults.
MamaHendo More than 1 year ago
For those of you who have not yet discovered “Victoria” on PBS, get to a TV right now. This has easily become one of the shows I most look forward to watching every week. The author of this book is the head writer for the PBS show. “Victoria” is meant to accompany season one of the show. If you haven’t seen the show, no worries, the book is definitely still worth the read if you like slightly fictionalized history. Obviously the events surrounding the Queen’s life during this time period are historically factual but Daisy Goodwin’s imaginative take on what transpired is so colorful and romantic you sometimes forget these conversations likely didn’t actually happen. I’m already looking forward to reading season two’s book “Victoria & Albert”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rokinrev More than 1 year ago
Alexandrina Victorine,only 18 years old,becomes Queen Victoria, a title that seems almost bigger than she is. This book focuses on her early adjustments, her friendship with Lord Melbourne, thee then Whig Prime Minister, her dealings with the money and power grubbing relatives and wanna bes, and how hard she fought to be respected when as an isolated child, she was anything but. With an often misquoted line from Shakespeare’s Henry V that “heavy is the head that wears the crown”, we she in this tome, the young child become the young adult. With the help of Melbourne, Victoria learns just how to lead. In fact, I doubt she would have flourished into the wise monarch we all hear about. In the 62 million words- reported by Goodwin- Victoria’s journals contain, we see the whole woman struggling with growing up, learning to speak for herself and not only make decisions a young lady needed to, but decisions for the betterment of an Empire that “the sun never set on.” According to the afterward of the book, Dausy Goodwin, the author, says that Victoria “was the most un-Victorian of heroines”. She must propose according to State law, although it is felt that, on some level, she had deferred to her elders in even thinking about marrying Albert. And Albert, too, acted differently than a man of his time, having only eyes for his beloved rather than the roving eye that was usual for a married man of the time. In “Victoria”, Daisy Goodwin, author and screenwriter of the BBC miniseries of the same name, writes about Victoria before Albert. The second book in the series “Victoria and Albert: A Royal Love Affair” picks up after the proposal and promises to continue this wonderful love story not only between these two people, but between a monarch and her country. Highly recommended. 5/5
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings If you are a historical fiction fan, stop what you are doing and get this book! Ok. Started this review with an exclamation, but I am serious. I absolutely adored this book. A fiction tale based on a real person (which are always good!) on a former Queen of England who took the throne at an early age and had to put her foot down to give herself the authority to make the decisions a queen should.
ManiB More than 1 year ago
(review taken from Sometimes I sit down to write these reviews and just don’t know where to start. I’ve been staring at this screen for several minutes now wondering, “Now, where do I begin?” Always best to start at the beginning, I suppose. I didn’t intend to read this book. I hadn’t read any opinions about it on Goodreads or, to be honest, had not ever even seen it before. This book was chosen completely at random. I was walking into the library with my little girl and snagged a book haphazardly from a display near the entrance to amuse myself while she did her thing. I’m so glad that my hand landed on this one. “I am referred to as Alexandrina Victoria. But I do not like the name Alexandrina. From now on I wish to be called Victoria.” Our story begins with a young Alexandrina, the heir to the English throne. She is hardly more than a child and is already keenly aware that when the current king dies she shall ascend to the throne. Her mother, a rather self serving German duchess, and her co-conspirator Conroy believe that upon the king’s imminent death they will be the power behind the throne and control Alexandrina Victoria’s every move. However, the young Victoria has far too much spirit to ever allow that to happen. I’m mildly ashamed to admit that when I started this book I knew very, very little about Queen Victoria. Other than knowing she was an English monarch, about the only other exposure I had had to her was a portrayal of her in Doctor Who that was mostly unflattering. I know, I know, horrible of me. As a lover of history I should have had more knowledge of her. Somehow the queen had never been a blip on my radar, though. I will be amending that. From the moment Victoria took the throne she began as she meant to go on. She dropped her first name of Alexandrina, which she disliked, for the uncommon Victoria. She also promptly created distance between herself and her mother. Victoria knew that the duchess and Conroy intended to rule her and she would not have it. She was young, only eighteen, when she took the crown and was well aware that people thought her too young and inexperienced to rule effectively. The Queen had every intention of proving them wrong. I have to applaud the nerve Victoria displayed throughout the book. She knew her own mind and was more than willing to push her agenda. The Queen seemed fearless. During the course of this story, once the monarch had made up her mind there was no turning back. Sure, she was wrong occasionally but she had no qualm about making strong decisions. One such decision she weighed heavily was taking a husband. The young queen had become enamored with her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. Though he was years older than her she still took a liking to him. He had kindly and gently guided her at the beginning of her reign. Victoria had not been properly taught all the ways of the English court and government and Melbourne was there to help her through the worst of it. She even went as far as to propose to him though he, as politely as he could, declined. There were no wars and battles in this book. No obvious and flashy entertainment. Instead it was a story of the Queen’s everyday life and her struggles to adjust to her role up until her betrothal to Prince Albert. We witness her coronation, her opening of ... (remaining review at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
booklvr916 More than 1 year ago
Most recent novel I have read by Daisy Goodwin. I love her historical accuracy. Yes, I have seen the Masterpiece on PBS. But it just enhances the love Daisy exudes for Queen Victoria. I won't spoil it. But she has an amazing way of drawing the reader in. As always, the book is better than the "movie".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent historical fiction about the young Queen Victoria. The novel includes the relationship with her mother, her Prime Minister, her enemies, her relatives, and her loves. This is historical fiction at its finest! Highly recommended! This book deserves an A++++++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent historical fiction about the young Queen Victoria. The novel includes the relationship with her mother, her Prime Minister, her enemies, her relatives, and her loves. This is historical fiction at its finest! Highly recommended! This book deserves an A++++++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent historical fiction about the young Queen Victoria. The novel includes the relationship with her mother, her Prime Minister, her enemies, her relatives, and her loves. This is historical fiction at its finest! Highly recommended! This book deserves an A++++++
aimlyss More than 1 year ago
Excellent book that I'm so glad to have been given the chance to read. I loved learning more about Alexandrina Victoria who became Queen Victoria at the young age of 18. Daisy Goodwin's telling of Victoria's life from just before she became queen to her engagement to Albert is beautifully told, giving enough details that I was able to easily "picture" everything in my mind. I especially liked that this wasn't a historical fiction novel that focused only on the politics of the time. There was a bit of that, but for the most part, I learned about her family, a bit of romance of the time, balls, fashion, hairstyles, the sorts of things I'm more interested in. I feel like I know just enough about her early reign now that I need to keep reading and learn more. I would highly recommend this book to everyone that enjoys historical fiction and stories about princesses/queens. As an aside that has nothing to do with the actual writing, I adore the cover of this book, it's so pretty!