Victoria by Daisy Goodwin: Review

Victoria Daisy Goodwin

Queen Victoria: what do you know about her? In my case, despite my interest in British royalty, not a whole lot. I knew she was married to Prince Albert. I thought they had several children. Beyond that …

So, I was an ideal candidate to read “Victoria” by Daisy Goodwin. The book has a gorgeous cover, don’t you think? (I should also add that the coronation mug in the photo was given to me by friend and commenter Leona. She got it years ago from a friend who purchased it in England not long after the actual coronation of Queen Elizabeth II).

Don’t expect an exhaustive biography, as the book covers approximately two years in Victoria’s life. It begins the day she learns she has become Queen due to her uncle’s death, and ends the day she proposes to Albert (yes, as Queen, it had to be her doing the proposing).

I looked at other reviews of the book, and found some quibbling over parts that supposedly were not accurate. The largest of these was that Victoria’s Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, was presented in the book as a romantic interest who Victoria would have liked to have married. Apparently, this was not the way things really played out. But after reading the book, I quickly perused Victoria’s Wikipedia article. Most of the major parts of the book do appear to have been accurate.

Victoria on PBS Masterpiece Theatre

The book reads a lot like a screenplay. At various points, I could just imagine the scene being part of a TV show — so it’s no surprise that “Victoria” will air on PBS stations in January as a part of Masterpiece Theatre, in the Downton Abbey time slot. There are several ball scenes, men in dashing uniforms, lots of description of Victoria’s hairstyles, etc., so I can imagine the production will be beautiful and worth watching. Additionally, the author says in a note that she wrote this book while writing the TV script. I bet the two will be very similar.

“Victoria” reads quickly, despite its 400-page length. I particularly enjoyed a scene where Victoria and her cousin Albert first begin to show interest in each other — over a piano duet. The musical allusions continue for a while, so note to the author — when playing a G flat minor scale, you don’t make your “chromatic way back.” Ah, well. Minor squabble.

I enjoyed “Victoria” and recommend it to all who love history, or just a good story.

What do you know about Queen Victoria?


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5 thoughts on “Victoria by Daisy Goodwin: Review

  1. I know very little about Queen Victoria so thanks for the crash course. I am so glad you seek out joy in life and FIND it! We each chart our own course in life.

  2. I know nothing about her, so I think I might enjoy reading the book. I hope I can find the PBS production, but since I have nothing that has a TV guide in it, that is unlikely.

  3. I also know nothing about her but she certainly sounds like an interesting character. Thanks for telling us about her. I love the book cover and the tea cup is a treasure!!

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