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I've been a bookworm for a very long time. My earliest memories of reading include me laying on the living room floor with my face buried between the pages of a book, with family members stepping over me and my mother laughing, "Jennifer's reading, she's dead to the world."
Reading a good book is better than watching a good movie: you get to step into the story and create it in your mind's eye, and while the author may guide you with descriptive narrative and distinguishing features of the characters...it's ALL IN YOUR IMAGINATION. The imagination, in my opinion, is a vastly underrated thing. I read Victoria by Daisy Goodwin on a rather boring day, when I wasn't particularly motivated to do my usual blog work or household chores, and I immediately slipped into that "dead to the world" trance that only a really good book can induce.
Now, here's my problem with doing a book review: how do I encourage you to read it, and give my thoughts, without ruining the entire thing for you?
Let's begin with what Amanda Foreman, British/American biographer and historian, said about Victoria:
"Victoria is an absolutely captivating novel of youth, love, and the often painful transition from immaturity to adulthood. Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit."
– Amanda Foreman
The novel is based on the diaries of Queen Victoria, which Daisy Goodwin first began reading when she was a student at Cambridge University. To be honest, I had no idea that these diaries were even out there. I've never been one of those Americans that was obsessed with the Royal Family, I know my history of the Kings and Queens and that's about it. Daisy Goodwin is the creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece Victoria and also wrote the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter, which I haven't had the chance to read yet. Based on how much I enjoyed Victoria, I am going to have to read those too now!
Back to Victoria. Which also happens to be the name of one of my best friends! Ha!
In Victoria, Daisy Goodwin tells the story of Queen Victoria's 63 year reign as Queen, beginning with the day she found out that her uncle William the IV passed away and that she was now WHAT, THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND.
As an American, I can't even begin to understand what it feels like to hear this kind of news. We don't have titles, or the fate of an entire nation resting on our names...it's crazy. Of course, being an 18 year old girl, the newly named Queen Victoria is given a major case of side eye by the men running the country, but she is a serious bad ass and takes it all in stride, even immediately changing her NAME. Oh, yeah, Alexandria is a boring name, you can call me Victoria now. SO SAYETH THE QUEEN. (I made that up, she was much more political and polite when she said it)
“I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.”
Me: YES. This is my kinda lady.
Being an 18 year old girl and of ripe marrying age, of course they want her to get wifed up immediately. Everyone wanted her to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, which is disgusting and gross and partly why I am SO GRATEFUL to be an American, in a country that frowns upon incest...but that's a whole different story, isn't it?
Anyway, Victoria had only met Prince Albert once before and didn't care for him, so she stands up for herself and with the help of Lord Melbourne, Prime Minister, she runs the country on her own. Screw incestuous marriages, this lady knew what she was doing!
This was a really interesting read and it was entertaining too. Now, I don't have much knowledge of what Queen Victoria's reign was really like in a historical sense, other than my limited "World History" reading in high school, but the Victoria novel was entertaining if nothing else.
It also reminded me that tiny feisty ladies can rule the world...which I am all about.
For more information about Victoria, please visit DaisyGoodwinNovels.com.
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