A Novel of a Young Queen
by Daisy Goodwin
St. Martin's Press
Pub Date 22 Nov 2016
PBS has been publicizing a new Masterpiece Theater mini-series entitled Victoria about Britain's Queen Victoria. The previews have looked fantastic. When I saw Netgalley was offering the book, Victoria A Novel of a Young Queen by Daisy Goodwin, the miniseries is based on, I jumped on it.
Victoria begins when she is still a young teenager and heir to the British throne. Her grandfather King George III had many children but one by one they died without heirs. Finally the line of succession reaches Victoria. Should she die before having children, her uncle one of the last of King George III’s sons, the Duke of Cumberland would be the heir. Cumberland is greatly disliked at all levels of British society, from his peers to the common man. Cumberland sits and waits and nurtures his ambition. Meanwhile Victoria is keep in isolation under strict the strict supervision of her mother and Sir John Conroy who has plans to be the power behind the throne when Victoria inherits.
The book uses some flashbacks to demonstrate Victoria’s lack of power in her own life. The main part of the book does a great job illustrating how this young girl nourishes hope that he uncle the King will survive until Victoria is eighteen to avoid having her mother as Regent. When the King finally dies shortly after her eighteenth birthday, Victoria finds being Queen does not automatically mean independence. She must fight for it.
I enjoyed Victoria. The sense of place and time is well established through vivid descriptions of the clothing, the palaces and the outdoor settings. The characters speak and act as one would expect for the time period. I was left though with a hunger for more. How did Victoria’s mother become such a vapid character that she becomes totally controlled by Sir John Conroy? Was Albert, Prince of Coburg, the only possible match for her? I know the author could only cover so much in one book. I would encourage her to write more books covering successive eras of her reign. All in all, it is a good historical fiction that I think any fan would enjoy.