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4.6 27
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



"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.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Priya Parmar
…lively and effervescent…the range of [Goodwin's] storytelling is rich but brief.
Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the diaries of Queen Victoria, British TV producer and author Goodwin (The American Heiress) mines a rich vein of royal history with the ascension of the impetuous and imperious 18-year-old—whose sole companions were dolls and a lapdog—to the English throne in 1837. “Your subjects are not dolls to be played with. To be a queen, you have to be more than a little girl with a crown,” scolds a dying lady of the court whom Victoria has cruelly shamed. It is a heartbreaking lesson as the new monarch navigates the palace and political intrigues under the guidance of her charming and lovelorn prime minister, Lord Melbourne. It’s this relationship between the impressionable teen and her attentive middle-aged adviser that forms the irresistible emotional center of Goodwin’s rich and passionate historical novel. “When you give your heart it will be without hesitation... but you cannot give it to me,” Melbourne tells Victoria after she confesses that her prime minister is “the only companion I could ever desire.” Rejected, Victoria begins the stormy and politically fraught courtship with her German cousin and future husband, Albert. That true-life ending, however, pales in comparison to Goodwin’s timeless recounting of a young girl’s aching first love. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

"In Victoria, Daisy Goodwin's lively and effervescent novel, the range of her storytelling is rich...Goodwin's queen has all the makings of a captivating human paradox.”
—The New York Times Book Review

"An intimate portrait of an extremely bright but painfully lonely teenage girl who one day had only pets and dolls for company and the next was regent of England."
—The New York Post

"[An] irresistible love story…Fans of Downton, The Crown, etc., will want to dive right in."

"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."
–Amanda Foreman

"Irresistible...[A] rich and passionate historical novel."
Publishers Weekly

“Goodwin’s grasp of the background is impeccable, and she has an instinct for the delicious details that turn a history lesson into cracking fiction…doing full justice to the spirit and independence that made [Victoria] one of our greatest monarchs.”
The Times

"Fans of character-driven storylines will relish witnessing Victoria's transition from immaturity to adulthood."
Real Simple,"Best New Books to Read This Month: November"

“A deep exploration of a well-known character who hasn’t quite become who she’s going to be…A wonderful read.”
Toronto Star

"Fun, romantic, and suited for both adult and teenage readers."
Kirkus Reviews

"Goodwin demonstrates her admirable ability to fuse wide-ranging knowledge of the period with lively storytelling skills."
Sunday Times (UK)

"Highly recommended...Bestselling Goodwin always draws in fans."

"[Victoria] will sweep you away. It sumptuously brings to life the tale of Victoria's ascension to the throne, her battles with her mother and her relationship with her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. I loved the detail in this novel, and tore through it."
Stylist (UK)

“A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail—from protocol to petticoats—perfect, and it brings the formidable figure of Victoria to sparkling life.”
Sunday Mirror (UK)

Additional Praise for Daisy Goodwin

"Ms. Goodwin writes deliciously."
–Janet Maslin, The New York Times on The American Heiress

"A shrewd, spirited historical romance with flavors of Edith Wharton, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen,Upstairs, Downstairs, and a dash of People magazine...Superior entertainment."
Kirkus Reviews (starred) on The American Heiress

"Gorgeous...the perfect storm of escapism, suspense, romance, and superb historical research."
The Times (UK) on The Fortune Hunter

"A luxurious indulgence...Goodwin writes with effortless grace, and her dialogue's subtle wit is delightful."
Booklist on The Fortune Hunter

Kirkus Reviews
The teenage Queen Victoria, raging against her mother, crushing on her prime minister, and not impressed by her loser cousin Albert.Goodwin (The American Heiress, 2015, etc.) wrote this novel imagining the adolescence of the woman whose rule defined most of the 19th century just as her television script of the same story went into production in England; in her acknowledgments she thanks the actors and her daughter, a "teenage queen" herself. When the death of Victoria's uncle, His Majesty William IV, puts her on the throne of England one month after her 18th birthday, she is legally in charge and ready to seize the reins of power, disappointing her mother and her adviser Sir John Conroy, who were counting on controlling her. Brushing them off like gnats, she announces, "For a start, I do not intend to stay here at Kensington. It is miles away from anything, and quite unsuitable as a royal residence.…I think I shall look over Buckingham House. It is in the centre of town, at least, and I believe it has a throne room." Her plan to ditch her mother and Conroy out in the burbs is quickly shot down by her new best friend and adviser, Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, who explains that "if you leave your mother behind at Kensington, there will be talk of an unpleasant kind, and that would be a shame so early in your reign." Soon hopelessly in love with the handsome older statesman she calls "Lord M," the little queen hasn't much more than a glance for the suitors vying for her attention. Then from Germany come two cousins from her mother's side—blond "demigods" Ernst and Albert. "Such a prig" is her judgment on the latter—but readers who remember their history know that something's gotta give.Fun, romantic, and suited for both adult and teenage readers. On its way to PBS in January 2017.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
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6.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.40(d)

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By Daisy Goodwin

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Daisy Goodwin Productions
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-04546-1




Kensington Palace, June 20th, 1837

When she opened her eyes, Victoria saw a faint sliver of light coming through the shutters. She could hear her mother breathing in the big bed on the other side of the room. But not for much longer. Soon, Victoria thought, she would have her own bedroom. Soon she would be able to walk down the stairs without holding Lehzen's hand; soon she would be able to do whatever she pleased. She had celebrated her eighteenth birthday last month, so when the moment came, she would reign alone.

Dash lifted his head and then Victoria heard her governess's quick footsteps. If Lehzen was coming now, it could only mean one thing. She got out of bed and went to the door, opening it just as Lehzen was putting out her hand to knock. The Baroness looked so comical standing there with her hand outstretched that Victoria started to giggle, but checked herself as she saw the expression on her governess's face.

"The messenger from Windsor is downstairs. He is wearing a black armband." Lehzen lowered herself into a deep curtsey. "Your Majesty."

She felt the smile spread across her face before she could stop herself. Reaching out her hand, Victoria pulled Lehzen up to face her, and was touched by the devotion she saw in the older woman's worried brown eyes.

"Dearest Lehzen, I am so glad that you are the first person to call me that."

The governess looked over towards the sleeping figure in the bed, but Victoria shook her head. "I don't want to wake Mama just yet. The first thing she will do is to call Sir John and then they will start telling me what to do."

Lehzen's lips twitched. "But you are the Queen, Drina." She stopped, realising her blunder. "I mean, 'Majesty.' There is no one who can tell you what to do now."

Victoria smiled.

A door opened at the end of the corridor, and Brodie the hall boy hurtled through it, slowing himself down to a more respectable pace when he saw the two women. As he drew near, Victoria noticed him hesitate and then commit himself to a deep bow. She felt herself wanting to smile; he was almost as small as she was, so the gesture seemed droll, but she knew that it was her duty now to keep a straight face. A queen could laugh, but not at her subjects.

"The Archbishop is here," he announced, then hastily added, "Your Majesty." Brodie's small freckled face was suffused with relief at having addressed her correctly.

Lehzen looked at him sharply. "And you have told no one else?" The boy looked affronted. "I came straight to you, Baroness, as instructed." There was a slight pause until Lehzen took a coin out of her reticule and gave it to the boy, who scampered away, all pretence at dignity obliterated by his delight with his prize.

"You should go now, Majesty, before ..." Lehzen glanced over Victoria's shoulder at the figure in the bed.

Victoria pulled her shawl down over her nightdress. Although she would prefer to get dressed first, she knew that by the time she had arranged herself, the rest of the household would be awake and her mother and Sir John would start to interfere. No, she would go now; she would start as she meant to go on.

Victoria followed Lehzen through the picture gallery, past the portrait of Queen Anne, who as Lehzen never ceased to remind her was the last woman to sit on the English throne. Passing Anne's sulky, disappointed face, Victoria hoped that she would never look so unfortunate. She caught a glimpse of herself in the looking glass. Her cheeks were pink, and her blue eyes were sparkling with excitement. She was not dressed like a queen, in a nightdress with her hair loose across her shoulders, but she thought that today she looked like one.

When they reached the top of the great staircase, Lehzen put out her hand, as she always did.

Victoria took a deep breath. "Thank you, Lehzen, but I can manage unaided."

Surprise and worry flickered in succession across the other woman's face.

"You know that your mother told me that I must always be there in case you are falling."

Victoria looked up at her. "I am quite capable of walking down the stairs without mishap."

Lehzen wanted to protest, but seeing the look in Victoria's eye, she subsided.

Victoria started down the steps and said, looking over her shoulder, "Things cannot be as they were, Lehzen. Now that I am Queen."

Lehzen stopped moving, her foot poised over the step, as if frozen in midair. Her words were slow and painful. "You will no longer be needing a governess, I suppose. Perhaps it is time that I went home to Hanover."

Victoria stretched out her hand, and her face softened. "Oh, Lehzen, I didn't mean that. I don't want you to go anywhere. Just because I choose to walk down the stairs by myself, that doesn't mean I don't want you by my side."

Lehzen took Victoria's hand, and the colour began to return to her face. "I never wish to leave you, Majesty. My only wish is to serve you."

"And you will, Lehzen. But I don't need you to help me down the stairs anymore." Victoria looked upstairs to where her mother slept on. "That part of my life is over."

Lehzen nodded her understanding.

"And you can tell the servants that I will be moving into Queen Mary's bedroom tonight. I think it is time that I had a room of my own, don't you?"

Lehzen smiled. "Yes, Majesty. I think a queen does not sleep on a cot next to her mother's bed."

* * *

At the foot of the stairs, she paused. The Archbishop and the Lord Chamberlain were behind the library door. She had been waiting for this moment for so long, and yet now it was upon her, she had to fight a sudden impulse to flee to the comfort of her schoolroom.

She had never been in a room alone with a man before, let alone an archbishop. Then she heard the clatter of Dash's paws as he came down the wooden staircase. He sat at her feet, looking up at her expectantly. He, at least, was ready for the adventure that lay ahead. Victoria swallowed her fear and walked towards the door. She was the queen now.

The two grey-haired old men bowed as she entered the library, and Victoria heard the sound of the Archbishop's knee cracking as he knelt to kiss her hand.

"I regret to inform you that your uncle, the King, passed away at two thirty-four this morning," the Archbishop said. "Queen Adelaide was at his side."

Victoria looked up at the two whiskery faces looming above her. "My poor dear uncle. May God have mercy on his soul."

Both men bent their heads. Victoria wondered what she should say next, but her thoughts were interrupted by the feeling of a small, rough tongue licking her foot. Dash was trying to get her attention. She bit her lip.

"The King's last wish was to commend Queen Adelaide to your care." The Lord Chamberlain looked down at Dash, and his eyelids flickered. Victoria knew that look, which she had seen many times before; it was the expression worn by a man who felt that what he was doing was beneath his dignity. His proper place, it said, was dealing with the mighty affairs of state, not pandering to a young girl and her dog.

Victoria pulled her shoulders back and stuck her chin in the air, trying to lift herself from four foot eleven inches to a full five feet — if only she had a few more inches. It was uncommonly hard to be regal when everyone could see the top of your head. But, she reminded herself, it didn't matter how tall she was. She thought for a moment and decided to use the phrase she had once heard her Uncle King utter, and had longed to use ever since.

"Thank you, Archbishop, Lord Chamberlain. You have my permission to withdraw."

She kept her face as still as she could as the two men bowed and proceeded to walk backwards out of the room. There was something irresistibly comic about the sight of these two old men retreating as if pulled by invisible strings, but she knew that she must not laugh. Being the Queen gave her the right to dismiss but not to ridicule. The thing every monarch needed was dignity. She remembered how embarrassed she had been when her uncle had started to sing a song about a drunken sailor in the middle of a state banquet. He had, she thought, been quite drunk, and as he sang, little strings of saliva had formed at the side of his mouth. She had looked down the table at the faces of the courtiers to see how they would react, but to a man they had kept their faces smooth and impassive as if nothing untoward was going on. The only sign that anyone had noticed the King's drunken antics was a young footman whose shoulders were shaking with laughter until an older colleague nudged him to stop. She had resolved then that she would never let this happen when she was Queen. The idea that her courtiers might be laughing at her behind those smooth faces was not to be borne.

Victoria looked about her, but as there was no one in sight she picked up the hem of her nightdress and started to run up the stairs, Dash barking at her heels. Running was forbidden under the Kensington System, the rules set up by her mother and Conroy to govern every aspect of her existence. Running upstairs would have been unthinkable only yesterday, but today she could do whatever she liked.

Jenkins, her dresser, was waiting for her. The black silk dress, the one that had been ordered last week when it had become clear that the King would not recover from his illness, was laid out on the chaise longue. Jenkins had wanted to order several dresses, but Sir John had said that it was a needless expense. That was another thing that would have to change now she was Queen.

Jenkins was looking at her curiously. Victoria realised that she was clenching her fists.

"You must order the rest of my mourning clothes now, Jenkins. I see no reason for further delay."

"Yes, ma'am." Jenkins's round face was split by the width of her smile.

Victoria put her arms up, and the dresser pulled the black dress over her head. She turned to face herself in the cheval glass. The black silk dress with its caterpillar sleeves was quite different from the simple muslin dresses in pastel colours that her mother deemed suitable. The mourning dress made her look older, and the crenellated sleeves gave her outline a sharpness that she found pleasing. She smoothed the folds of silk at her waist.

Hearing a sound somewhere between a sigh and a gasp, Victoria turned to see Lehzen standing behind her.

"Oh ... forgive me ... Majesty. I am not used to seeing you in black, you look so ... grown up."

Victoria smiled at Lehzen. "I am glad. It is time that people stopped seeing me as a little girl."

The door from the bedroom burst open. The Duchess of Kent rushed in, her hair still in curling papers, her paisley shawl flapping around her.

"Mein Kind, where did you go?" The Duchess's voice was, as always, reproachful. But then Victoria saw her mother register the black dress, and watched as her expression changed from injury to shock.

"Der König?"

Victoria nodded. Her mother put her arms around her, and she allowed herself to relax into that lavender-scented embrace.

"Mein kleines mädchen ist die Kaiserin."

Victoria pulled herself away. "No more German, Mama. You are the mother of the Queen of England now."

The Duchess nodded, her curl papers shaking. She put a trembling hand to Victoria's cheek. Her pale blue eyes were wet.

"Oh, my little Drina, have I ever told you about my journey from Amorbach across France when I was carrying you in my belly?" She mimed the bulk of an eight-month pregnancy.

Victoria nodded. "Many times, Mama." But the Duchess was not to be forestalled.

"It was just a hired carriage, and so uncomfortable. But I was crossing my legs the whole time, so that you, mein Liebe, could be born in England. I knew that if you were born anywhere else, then those awful uncles of yours would say that you were not English and then you could not be Queen. But I held on."

The Duchess smiled at her own obstetrical feat. She was right, of course; Victoria knew that. There were enough people already who doubted whether an eighteen-year-old girl would make a suitable monarch, but the idea of an eighteen-year-old girl who had been born in Germany would never be countenanced.

"If only your poor father could have lived to see this day." The Duchess looked up at the life-sized picture of the late Duke of Kent, standing with his hand resting on a cannon, that hung behind them.

"But Mama, even if he hadn't died when I was a baby, he would never have seen me become Queen now, would he? The only reason I am Queen is that he is dead."

The Duchess shook her head, impatient with Victoria's pedantic insistence on the facts of the succession. "Yes, I know, but you know what I mean, Drina. He would be so happy to think that out of all his brothers, it was his child who was becoming the Queen. Just think, if I had not been what your father was always calling a Coburg brood mare, then that monster, your uncle Cumberland, would be the King." The Duchess shuddered theatrically and crossed herself.

"Well, he isn't. Not of England, anyway. But of course he is the King of Hanover now," said Victoria. It was a wrinkle in the laws of succession that while she could inherit the British throne, as a woman she was barred from reigning over the German state that had been ruled jointly since the Elector of Hanover had become George I in 1713. Her uncle Cumberland, as the next male heir, had inherited the German duchy.

"Hanover! It is, how do you call it, a pimple, in the middle of Germany. Let him go and be King there, and leave us alone."

Victoria tugged at the bodice of her dress so that it lay straight. Her mother had tried to frighten her with the man she called "your wicked uncle Cumberland" ever since she could remember. He was the reason that Victoria had always slept in her mother's bedroom, the Duchess believing that if Cumberland were to come for Victoria in the night then she would at least be able to interpose her body between the assassin and her child.

Victoria had no difficulty in believing her uncle capable of murder; he was almost comically villainous in appearance — tall and cadaverous with a livid dueling scar down one cheek. When Cumberland's valet had been found with his throat cut, it had been generally assumed that Cumberland had been responsible. She had less confidence in her mother's ability to defend her. Determined as the Duchess was, Victoria did not think even she would be able to fend off a six-foot man with a cutthroat razor.

Her mother was fussing now. "Why didn't you wake me up at once?" She looked reproachfully at Lehzen. "You should have told me, Baroness."

The Baroness bowed her head, but said nothing. She could hardly say she had been acting on the explicit instructions of the daughter. Before the Duchess could remonstrate further, the door opened and Sir John Conroy walked in, planting himself, as he always did, in the middle of the room as if taking possession of a newly conquered territory.

The Duchess turned immediately and fluttered towards him. "Oh, Sir John, have you heard? That awful old man is dead, and our little Drina is Queen."

Watching the Duchess lay a hand on his arm, Victoria felt a shiver of revulsion run through her. Why couldn't her mother see that it was beneath her dignity as a royal duchess and now the mother of a queen to be always fawning on this odious fellow as if he were a man of rank and fortune instead of her paid advisor?

Conroy spoke in his deep, booming voice with its slight Irish inflection, his words, as ever, uttered with total conviction. "The first thing to decide is how you will style yourself. Alexandrina is too foreign, and Victoria is hardly the name for a queen. You could adopt Elizabeth, perhaps, or Anne. Yes" — Conroy's long, handsome face was flushed with his proximity to power — "Elizabeth II sounds very well. Very well indeed."

He turned to the woman who had followed him into the room. "Don't you think so, Lady Flora?"

Victoria stared straight ahead. She thought that if she did not look at Conroy and Flora Hastings, they might realise that they were not welcome.

But she heard the rustle of Lady Flora's curtsey, and her murmur, "To be called Elizabeth would be a reminder of a great queen." The implication could not have been clearer. It would take more than a name to turn a little girl into a monarch.

The Duchess turned back to Victoria. "Has the Archbishop come? I will just be getting dressed and then we can go and see him together."

Victoria turned to face her. She could feel her heart pounding as she said in a voice that was braver than she felt, "Thank you, Mama, but that won't be necessary. The Archbishop and the Lord Chamberlain were here earlier. They have already kissed hands."


Excerpted from Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. Copyright © 2016 Daisy Goodwin Productions. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

DAISY GOODWIN is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Fortune Hunter and The American Heiress. 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. She is the creator and screenwriter of the PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria. She lives in London.

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Victoria: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
JamesJohnCudneyIV 9 months 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great writing
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.
Anonymous 15 days ago
What a delightful insightful collection of the early years of the Queen.
KrittersRamblings 3 months 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 3 months ago
(review taken from http://literaryweaponry.com) 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 http://literaryweaponry.com)
Anonymous 8 months 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.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 10 months ago
I really enjoyed this book!
booklvr916 12 months 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!
Joanie_Wanamaker More than 1 year ago
I think the mark of a good historical novel, especially one based on a real person and real facts, is one that makes me want to know more. After reading Victoria by Daisy Goodwin, I want to know more about the real Queen Victoria. "Ma'am... you cannot do this alone." "Oh, don't worry, Sir John, I have no intention of being alone. You see, I have Dash." [Dash is Queen Victoria's Spaniel] This is young Queen Victoria. Witty. Smart. Quick with retort. And very sheltered. She is constantly fighting to show her worth, her power and her independence against forces who wish to rule for her and who deem her too young and too naive to rule a country. And, it is against this backdrop that Queen Victoria finds herself. We meet her as a young girl, before she is Queen. We witness a part of her childhood and see how sheltered from the world she was brought up. Dash is her only truly friend and loyal companion. When she takes the throne, Victoria is thrown into a world where finally she has power and can start to live how she wishes. Yet, there are people who are close to her who think she is incapable of ruling and who try to plot against her. Through all this, Victoria keeps her wits and proves to everyone that she is every inch a Queen as well as an independent woman who has her own mind. Throughout the book we watch her develop into the woman she will be and witness as she realizes that Albert is her true love. The book Victoria shows us Queen Victoria from a different angle. Daisy Goodwin exposes the young girl behind the Queen who has fears, desires, dreams just like any young girl does. Through the trials and tribulations of life, we see Victoria grow into her own and become the Queen that she always knew she could be. Although this book was written very well, I felt it lagged in certain places. I did not find it a book I could read in one sitting, or one that I couldn't put down, but I did find it a very good read. The story was well written, the characters highly developed and most importantly, the book made me want to know more about the life and times of Queen Victoria. I give this book 3.5 stars. I received an advanced copy of this book from Goodreads Giveways to review.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Ooooooh!! First off….COVER LOVE ❤️!!! I confess, I know very little ablout Queen Victoria. Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth are more my time period. So, when I started this read I, of course, had to do a little research on Queen Victoria. I love a book which teaches me something! Queen Victoria was only 18 years old when she took the crown. This was a tumultuous time for her, her family and her country. Can you imagine? 18 years old and ruling a country. Some thought she could not do it. Some thought she needed a reagent to help her rule. She was very much a sheltered child. She had a lot to learn about life in general as well as how to rule a nation. With the help of Lord Melbourne, she tackles these tasks with strength and gusto. She was determined to do her very best despite some very serious challenges from areas of her family. Most of this book covers her Reign from the beginning to when she is married. I would have loved more of her later years and less about balls and other trivial matters. I also had some trouble with bits of the conversations. Especially the conversations between Queen Victoria and her mother. They were overly dramatic and stilted. This does not take away from the read. It is still a well researched, classic, historical tale which leaves the reader wanting more. I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
BeesKneesBookishKorner More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very well written. In all honesty, I know very little factual information about Queen Victoria; most of what I know about her I’ve read in fictional accounts and Wikipedia. I cannot write about the veracity of Goodwin’s story, but then again, this is fiction and I shouldn’t have to. What I judged this book by is how it pulled me into the story. I followed along with Victoria growing into being a queen and enjoyed the adventure from page one. We first meet Victoria when she is younger and before she’s become queen of England. It’s a bit of the backstory that portrays the uneasy relationship that she had with her mother and this relationship plays an important role in how Victoria rules and how she makes decisions. The main story, however, is the struggle that this 18 year old girl makes as she transitions to being queen. How does one prepare for such an important role, let alone a teenager? She leans heavily upon the advice and wisdom of Lord Melbourne to the point where her mother, other nobles, and her subjects begin to question the actual extent of their relationship. Was there something going on between the two of the beyond subject and queen? The story proceeds through time and takes the reader to when the romance between Victoria and Albert commences. If anything at all bothered me about this book, it would be the romance bits. At first, Victoria and Albert don’t get along. He’s too serious and she’s too flighty. Then it seemed as if it was an all of a sudden epiphany that Victoria realizes she loves him and proposes marriage. Maybe it happened this way in real life, but it really felt rushed to me. Then again, Victoria was being pressured by all sides to find a husband and one that her people would accept and she, herself, was looking for an ally. That aside, I really enjoyed this novel. I liked the character development, Goodwin’s writing style, and the pace of the story. When I reached the end, I literally yelled out loud, “That’s it???” Reading eBooks tend to surprise me like that, lol. I truly felt like there was more to the story and I was sad that it ended where it did. I can easily see Goodwin developing this into a duology or even a trilogy. I definitely would read any further books she would happen to write about Queen Victoria. I gave this 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and consider this book one of my favorites from 2016. (This review originally appeared on The Bees Knees Bookish Korner)
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Daisy Goodwin wrote the novel, Victoria, while she was writing the screenplay of the PBS series due to be shown beginning in January 2017. It is also ironic that it follows the biography of Victoria by Julia Baird almost simultaneously being published. The novel about Victoria, however, is confined to the time between Victoria first becoming Queen of England at the age of 19 up to the time when she marries Albert in the early nineteenth century. This is a very young Victoria, whose deepest consolations vacillate between her little dog Dash and the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne or William Lamb. So anxious is she to shed the advice of her domineering mother and her mother’s lover, Sir John Conroy, that Queen Victoria flounders, making many huge mistakes but somehow making up for them with her gracious ways. Lord Melbourne clearly was the ruler’s right-hand man. Although Victoria has received an education in history and other appropriate subjects for her role, she displays a child-like ignorance of many of the issues of pivotal importance in her kingdom. So, we see how rebellion in Ireland, the protests of the Chartists, and other “situations” required Lord Melbourne’s guiding hand; but this is true of every day. At the same time we see her kinder nature evident in those rebels who escaped hanging because of the Queen’s merciful nature. Queen Victoria’s reputation is almost permanently ruined when she makes a very bad judgment about one of her ladies-in-waiting. Thus the Queen has her first taste of the people’s favor dramatically turning, along with the realization that she rules with the approval (or not) of her subjects. Many more fascinating scenes fill the pages of this notable novel soon to be seen in film. Read it to the vicissitudes of how this young woman grew into the noble, intelligent and wise ruler of Great Britain for sixty-three years. Daisy Goodwin has once again captured the essence of an age, royalty, and the world surrounding royalty! This reviewer eagerly anticipates the film version of this notable historical novel!
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I won this book through Goodreads Giveaways. This another wonderful book from Daisy Goodwin. Telling the story about a strong young queen who had to put up with men telling her what she should do, her mother trying to tell her who she should marry and having her own feelings. Nobody thought anything of her because of her height but she was a strong woman with strong opinions and the men of the country didn't know how to handle it. They kept trying to get her married off right away. She wanted things her way. I cant wait for the showing of this on PBS and see how close to the book they keep the story. Please read it is worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kensington Palace - 1835 Victoria’s real name is Akexandrina, a.k.a., Drina, but she has chosen to call herself Victoria. Knowing her uncle, the King, is old and ill, she hopes to reach her 18th birthday before he dies and she becomes Queen. Victoria’s widowed mother relies on Sir John Conroy whom Victoria detests. When Victoria gets typhus and is so ill, Conroy tries to get her to sign a document making him her Private Secretary. But she refuses to sign which angers Conroy. Victoria is determined to be strong and not be bullied by her mother, Conroy, and others. Two years later she is now age 18. The King has just died and Victoria is now the Queen. She immediately shows her mettle and sets down her own rules insisting again that Conroy not be her Secretary. Victoria finds that the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, is a great help to her and she trusts him. They form a confidence but when Lord Melbourne decides to step down from being Prime Minister, she is lost without his help and friendship. As a Whig, he feels he should step aside for a Tory. John Conroy is still doing all he can to gain some power and see Victoria removed from the Throne. When Lord Melbourne becomes aware of his plot, he decides to remain as Prime Minister and Victoria is pleased. She decides to move into Buckingham Palace which is more befitting for the Queen. There she learns her duties and how to assert herself. Her relatives want to pair her up with Prince Albert Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. It has been some years since she last saw him and did not care for him then. But, when he comes to visit her, she begins to see him in a different light. This is a book that I have been highly anticipating for a long time now. I am a huge fan of Daisy Goodwin. The story is well written and I enjoyed it very much. However, I did not expect it to end when it did. I would like to read more about this very captivating Queen. Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
Pros: Story flows well and the ending is satisfying // Many points of rising action and tension // Well-fleshed characters: Victoria is easy to sympathize with and Lord Melbourne is fascinating // A great historical perspective of an endearing character Cons: Some parts are melodramatic (not that they're overly dramatic, but the characters just act really scandalized over the smallest things) // I wish the subplot with Victoria's domineering mother had been more developed in the latter half of the book Verdict: Less of an all-encompassing biopic and more of a glimmering coming-of-age story of one of the most powerful female rulers in history, Victoria is a historical drama that paints a vivid picture of the Queen's earliest, most transformative years. Daisy Goodwin is a natural storyteller; lovers of all things British Royalty will eat this book up. Equal parts political examination and budding romance, it left me thinking: What a beautiful novel. If you're curious about Queen Victoria as a person rather than just her political roles, go pick this up immediately. Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts (3.5 stars): Not perfect, but overall enjoyable; would recommend, but borrow a copy before you buy! Source: Complimentary copy provided by publicist via publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, SheSpeaks and St. Martin's Press!)
Buecherwurm161 More than 1 year ago
I got this book from the publisher in exchange for a review which I am happy to provide. I really enjoyed the book and the possibilities of how a young Queen Victoria might have behaved and felt. I thought Daisy Goodwin did a good job with the book and I was hooked right from the start. I only ever knew the older version of the Queen, so it was fun to imagine what it might have been like for an 18 year old to rule a county and all the responsibilities and heartache that might follow. Very entertaining read.
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
Victoria is a compelling well-written, historical fiction novel, depicting the early reign of Queen Victoria. Alexandrina Victoria became the Queen of England at the age of eighteen. Victoria had been sheltered to an extreme extent by her mother and Sir John, so that when she became the Queen, she wasn’t as prepared as she should have been. Her mother, and Sir John, both assumed that Victoria would come to them for assistance. They were wrong. Victoria refused all of their counsel. She leaned instead heavily, on her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, for advice. Victoria and Lord Melbourne developed deep feelings for one another. It was, however, a relationship that could never truly be. Regardless of what the Prime Minister wanted, he put Queen Victoria’s well-being above everything and did what was necessary, even though, he knew it would hurt him. Queen Victoria’s family conspired behind her back. They wanted to strip her of her power. Lord Melbourne stepped in, though, and saved the Queen from ruin. Since this is to be a TV series, I’m sure that there will be a book two. I’m looking forward to reading about the Queen’s life with Prince Albert. I felt as if the book came to its conclusion too abruptly, but in truth, it’s probably because I didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend this well-written, character-driven book about Queen Victoria. It’s engrossing, captivating, and unputdownable. I loved it. I received this ARC from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.