Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have been waiting for the Victoria miniseries for several months after seeing a trailer on Facebook. When I found out that there was going to be a companion novelization, I was very excited. When I found out it was being written by Daisy Goodwin, I was absolutely ecstatic. I enjoyed reading her Victorian era novels, and was not aware that she was the creator of the television series.

The Victoria novel covers the events on the first season of the television series beginning with an adolescent Victoria learning that her uncle has died, making her Queen of England. Victoria grew up in virtual isolation, and now she must navigate the choppy world of 19th century politics. There are many who doubt her ability to lead, but she develops a rapport with Lord Melbourne, the Prime Minister. His advice and companionship prove to be invaluable in the first years of her reign. It’s clear that she’s infatuated with Melbourne, but she must choose a royal husband. Victoria’s uncle tries to steer her toward her cousin Albert, but Victoria is skeptical; she remembers an awkward youth who came to visit her three years ago. She is pleasantly surprised to discover that Albert has changed considerably.

Goodwin does a wonderful job with bringing Victoria’s world to life. It certainly helps that the source material includes a healthy amount of melodrama, like the actions of the scheming Conroy, who makes numerous attempts to ingratiate himself into Victoria’s household, thereby furthering his own political ambitions. Goodwin’s portrayal of Victoria is very realistic; there were times when I did not agree with her actions, but ultimately, I was happy to see her overcome adversity and find success.

I would recommend Victoria to fans of historical fiction, especially those who are looking forward to watching the miniseries premiering in a little more than a month. This book is full of period details; I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Victoria’s outfits and coiffures. Many people think of Victoria as a staid matriarch, whose children and grandchildren populated the royal houses of Europe, but Goodwin offers a compelling account of an intelligent and passionate young woman.

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