Author Carolyn Meyer tells the story of Queen Victoria of England who reigned from 1838 to 1901. The story is told in first-person from Victoria’s point-of-view.
Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819 and christened Alexandrina Victoria. She was called Drina as a baby, but as a young girl she decided she wanted to be called Victoria. The name stuck and so did her determination to have things her way.
"I’m generally not a big history buff, but I do enjoy reading novels based on the lives of historical figures, especially ones as interesting as Queen Victoria."
Although Victoria had a half-sister and a half-brother from her mother’s previous marriage, she is the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent and Princess Victorie. Her father died before her first birthday, leaving no male heirs and making her next in line for the throne. King William IV’s only child died before Victoria was born. Although she had several uncles on her father’s side, they were either too old or in health too poor to be king. There were also numerous nephews in the family tree, but none of them were legitimate, so none of them could inherit the throne.
From the moment of her father’s death, Victoria was groomed to be the future Queen of England. Her mother, now a widow, sought guidance from Sir John Conroy, a politically ambitious man who controlled, not counseled, Victoria’s mother. He gave instructions for Victoria’s every waking moment, never allowing her any private time and treating her like she was his piece of property. Victoria soon grew to hate the man and to later resent her mother’s interference in her life. Victoria felt very isolated and lonely, as there were few people in her life she could trust.
Victoria is introduced to her cousin, Prince Albert, on the occasion of her 17th birthday. Until that time, she was uncertain as to whether or not she wanted to marry anyone. She thought Albert was very handsome and intelligent, and she grew to love him, though she was not in a hurry to wed. She was crowned Queen of England on June 28, 1838 at the age of 18 (when her Uncle, King William IV died), and she married Albert about a year and a half later on February 10, 1840. She gave birth to nine children, with second child, Edward Albert, being the next in line to the throne.
Victoria was a good queen, but her stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise got her into trouble on more than one occasion. Albert died on December 14, 1861 after 21 years of marriage. Victoria never remarried, and reigned for nearly 63 years, until her death on January 23, 1901.
Carolyn Meyer is the author of more than fifty books for young readers, specializing in historical novels, and has won numerous awards for her writing. She brings Victoria’s historical character to life in the pages of this book. Meyer relies heavily on personal journals that Victoria kept throughout her life where she recorded her thoughts and actions on many events that occurred. I’m generally not a big history buff, but I do enjoy reading novels based on the lives of historical figures, especially ones as interesting as Queen Victoria.
Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on January 7, 2013