VICTORIA, by Daisy Goodwin, is a novel of Queen Victoria who ruled Great Britain and Ireland once upon a time. I had my eye on this novel for a while. Kept going back to it. Finally broke down and actually got it from the library just to see if it would be exactly what I hoped. Yes, it truly is!
VICTORIA is not only a novel, it’s about to be a series on Masterpiece Theater on PBS. Daisy Goodwin is the creator and the writer; she wrote this fine novel in tandem. I think she’s pretty amazing.
What did I know about Queen Victoria before reading this new novel? Darn little. But I can say with confidence that I feel much more in tune with Victoria’s life now. Goodwin read Victoria’s diaries and did extensive research to bring this period to life. The characters crackle and spring to life on the page. The sense of place is perfection. The fashions are detailed and true to life. The pages almost turn themselves. And her little lapdog Dashy is delightful.
In 1837, less than a month after her 18th birthday, Victoria became Queen of England and Ireland. She was still sleeping in the same room with her mother at the time. But not for long. Born Alexandrina Victoria, she changed her name to simply Victoria directly after being named the new Queen. Wee in size, Victoria had to work hard to appear worthy of such a huge distinction. But with the help of Lord Melbourne, who was her prime minister and personal secretary, she slowly became a force to be reckoned with. And those who had thought her too young, or not fit because of being a female, soon realized Victoria’s strength.
But even through it all everyone thought Victoria needed a husband to keep her reigned in. Her family had someone in mind. Her cousin Prince Albert from Germany seemed the perfect match. However, Victoria had spent time with him three years ago and found him dull and too serious. But as people and things tend to change over time, Albert too changed. And they meet again in this novel leading up to their marriage. It’s no secret since all of history knows….
VICTORIA the novel begins on the day Victoria becomes Queen at the age of 18, and it ends just before her marriage to Prince Albert. I would love for it to have continued. Perhaps Goodwin has more in mind for the future. I sure hope so.
Daisy Goodwin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels THE AMERICAN HEIRESS and THE FORTUNE HUNTER. She attended Columbia University’s film school and lives in London.