I enjoyed this author’s portrayal of the first years of Queen Victoria’s reign. I must confess I am quite ignorant of the details included in her story; the difficulties within family relationships and the influence that Sir John Conroy (unsuccessfully) sought, and Lord Melbourne won.
This book was fast moving for me and piqued my interest in the time period and Queen Victoria herself. I didn’t realize how young Victoria was when she initially came to the throne. Her governess, Baroness Lehzen, helped to steer her but being German herself, did not totally comprehend the details of Parliament and duties of the monarchy. Victoria must learn quickly, and she did become adept at judging motives and procedures, although not without making some errors in judgment.
When her most trusted advisor Lord Melbourne resigns, the Queen must appoint a new prime minister. The Duke of Wellington himself has advice for her:
“If I might say so, ma’am, I think you will find Sir Robert to be a most able fellow … You may not want him, but the country needs Peel.”
Victoria resumed her pacing. Everything she had heard about Sir Robert Peel suggested that he would not be at all congenial. Emma Portman had told her that he had no greater vice than calculus and disapproved of waltzing. How was she expected to be comfortable with a man who took no pleasure in life?”
My only regret is that I read the book after watching the television series. The dramatized version is close to a word-for-word rendition of the author’s writing.
Goodwin creates realistic, believable characters during the height of England’s international supremacy. I am looking forward to reading biographies about this admirable Queen now, due to Daisy Goodwin’s skill.