As a fictionalized history, "Victoria", by Daisy Goodwin, touches on everything from Victoria’s precarious relationship with her mother, to her childish infatuation with Lord Melbourne, to her love for Prince Albert. Her immaturity shines through in her continued dependence on Lehzen who was once her governess, but continues to care for her charge by taking on the role of lady-in-waiting. Victoria is often described as flighty, inconsistent, and emotional, which is expected of a teenager, but not of a queen. Her lack of socialization as a young child has left her friendless and suspicious, so it’s only natural she bonds with the dynamic Lord Melbourne, the current Prime Minister. Not only does she rely on his advice in matters of state, but she also depends on him for guidance in her personal life and relationships. This reliance quickly turns into infatuation, which, of course, cannot be publicly acknowledged. When Prince Albert, her Coburg cousin, is introduced, he comes across as being awkward, formal, and unyielding. Despite his faults, Victoria sets aside her disapproval of him and falls in love.
Overall, this is an easy and engaging read that combines historical fact with speculative prose to bring to life the Victorian era. Small details such as the red boxes, Victoria’s love and care of Dash, and fashion and hair styles create a realistic setting, illustrating what life might have been like for these fictionalized personalities who lived in the 1800’s. I would have liked to see more of the relationship between Prince Albert and Victoria, as her change of heart from Lord Melbourne felt abrupt. Even though this wasn’t a love story as much as a coming of age story, there’s a jump from flighty, infatuated child to confident engaged woman that feels incomplete.
I received a pre-release copy of "Victoria" by Daisy Goodwin via Netgalley for an honest review.