Friday, February 08, 2019

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life. Lucy Worsley. 2019. 432 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Kew Palace, a little brick building peeping out from among the trees in west London's Kew Gardens, is an unlikely-looking royal palace.

Premise/plot: Lucy Worsley's newest book is not your traditional biography. If you're looking for a straight-forward biography of Queen Victoria there are dozens--if not hundreds--to choose from. Instead of the traditional approach, Worsley has selected twenty-four days from her life to write about. (Technically twenty-three days from her life. The first, 11 July 1818, was the wedding day of her parents.) There are nine days highlighting Victoria as a 'naughty daughter.' There are eight days highlighting Victoria as a 'good wife.' There are seven days highlighting Victoria as 'the widow of Windsor.'

My thoughts: I wanted to love, love, love this one. I really did. I have both a fascination with the royal family AND a love of Victorian literature. If any book was a 'sure thing' for me to love--it would be this one, right?! Unfortunately, I didn't end up loving the approach.

I really enjoyed the first twelve chapters. The first chapter focuses on the wedding of her parents. Chapters two through twelve takes us through the birth of Queen Victoria's first child--a daughter. These chapters were well-paced and the dates seemed closer together. (1818, 1819, 1820, 1830, 1835, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1839, 1839, 1840)

I didn't enjoy the last twelve much. In fact by the end I was BORED. I honestly don't know if the events were spaced too far apart to carry a story OR if the events focused on aspects of her life that just don't have the same appeal OR if I was just in a bad mood. The dates are further apart: 1850, 1854, 1856, 1861, 1861, 1871, 1877, 1884, 1885, 1897, 1910. The subjects are also less personal--think family oriented--and more public--think POLITICAL. Perhaps the focus has shifted to what events in Victoria's life had significance from a political/social standpoint.

I think I just like traditional biographies better.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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