My Name is Victoria is a YA novel written by Lucy Worsley. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because 19th century England is my favorite era in history. I also enjoyed the Victoria television series, as well as Daisy Goodwin’s companion novel and Julia Baird’s biography of Queen Victoria.
The story is told from the perspective of “Miss V”, the daughter of John Conrad, who oversaw the future Queen Victoria’s upbringing. The young Victoria was kept in isolation, and V is one of Victoria’s first friends. Victoria has been told that she needs to be kept apart from society because of her scheming uncles and cousins who might wish to harm her because of her proximity to the throne. Whether there is any merit to this claim, or whether this is intended to instill a sense of paranoia remains to be seen.
There is not very much that happens in this book because Victoria is not allowed to go anywhere. It’s easy to empathize with the girl, who wants nothing more than to have a life of her own, but is constantly scrutinized and overanalyzed. V tries to be a good friend to Victoria, but she ultimately realizes that she cannot be loyal to both her father and her friend. She needs to make a choice, and her decision will have permanent consequences.
I think that this book may be more thrilling to readers who are unfamiliar with Victoria’s childhood and the Kensington System. When Conroy started up with his machinations, I just saw Conroy being Conroy. I’d imagine that if this was new information, the scheming might be more melodramatic. I will say, however, that the plot twist is quite well done, and I didn’t see it coming at all!
I would recommend My Name Is Victoria to fans of YA books. As far as YA historical fiction goes, this book is exceptionally well done. It’s clear that Lucy Worsley knows what she’s talking about; this book has been impeccably researched. It’s slower paced than many of the other titles I’ve read recently, but every moment is just crammed with period details and tidbits. This is the first book I have read by Worsley, but I am definitely going to check out more of her nonfiction titles in the future!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book.