Monday, January 23, 2017

Victoria

Victoria. Daisy Goodwin. 2016. 404 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: A shaft of dawn light fell on the crack in the corner of the ceiling.

Premise/plot: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin fictionally chronicles the early years of Victoria's reign. The book's prologue sets the stage for booing and hissing of Sir John Conroy and the Duchess. The final chapter has Victoria proposing marriage to the visiting Prince Albert. In between expect a lot of drama and flirtation.

The book was written around the same time as the author was writing the television series.

On the one hand, if the actor who plays with Lord M (Melbourne) or Tsar Alexander II were let's say persuasive and super charming in their roles then the silly let's make the Queen fall in love with everyone but Albert scheme might work.

My thoughts: Right now I have three things to compare it with. First the wonderful and amazing Young Victoria with the magical soundtrack. The romance between Victoria and Albert was giddy making and probably enhanced in places. Albert was swoon worthy and perhaps a little too good to be true. Victoria probably had some of her less pleasing qualities toned down as well. The film start to finish is romance. Second the earlier film Victoria and Albert. This one covers decades not years. And Albert is far from ideal. He does not love Victoria when they are engaged, when they marry, when they start having child after child after child. That movie has Albert only realizing he loves her twenty years after she falls in love with him. For her it was love at first sight. Both are human displaying a lot of not so nice behaviors. What I appreciate about that one is the real-ness of it. Third are the nonfiction books I've read through the years. Those establish that movies are movies and they give viewers what they want or what they think viewers want most. Some Victoria biographers have an anti-Albert bias, some don't. Few praise excessively and exclusively. Facts can shape the story but can creatively do so. Whether or not the medium is film or book, writers pick and choose what "facts" to dress their stories around. They can play with the how and the why and sometimes even the when.

This book makes Lord M EVERYTHING to the Queen. She is madly madly in love with him and always will be. Since Albert isn't introduced until the last hundred pages of the book, one can't really be on his team. I wasn't necessarily on Team Melbourne (or team William Lamb) but I didn't necessarily hate him either. It helped that I've seen Young Victoria dozens of times and could shout hold out for Albert as their theme song played in my head. I do want to see this. I think it will either be something I love like crazy or something that will want to unsee.

I read the book in two days to give you an indication of my interest in it!


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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