A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin- Feature and Review


“They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”

Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”


 In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….

Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.



VictoriaVictoria by Daisy Goodwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin is a 2016 St. Martin’s Press publication.

This is a light and easy spin on Queen Victoria’s first days as the Queen, being at the ripe old age of eighteen. This fictional version of events reads more like a historical romance than a work of historical fiction.
As the sheltered Victoria tests the waters of her new found freedom and power, she often clashes with her mother and others who attempt to gain influence over her or advise her.

The Queen holds resentment in her heart for a long time, is often petulant and stubborn, and in some cases manipulative.

She is lucky to have found Lord Melbourne, who became her secretary, and could handle her in a way no one else seemed capable of. She loved him as a father figure, respected him as a friend, but soon developed deeper feelings for him. Theirs was a tumultuous association at times, but was one of deep affection and loyalty.
Lord M was her most trusted ally and did a great service to Victoria all the way up until her marriage to Albert.
This relationship dominates much of the book. It was interesting to see how that relationship developed and changed over time. The drama and intrigue at court is also very compelling, and although Victoria behaved like a spoiled child on many occasions and seemed to go through the motions of being a Queen, not taking her responsibilities beyond mere duty, she did have the courage to stand up to people she knew were attempting to ‘handle’ her or sway her decisions, although she made some awful mistakes along the way.

Victoria’s initial encounters with Albert are funny and their romance got off to a very rocky start, but I absolutely loved the banter between them and Albert was most assuredly a positive influence on the young queen, who benefited from this challenging person in her life because he was more than just a ‘yes’ man. By the same token, Victoria was the perfect woman for the extremely serious Albert, who never smiled.

I enjoyed reading about Victoria’s life prior to her marriage. She was only a teenager and rebelled like most normal teens do, especially those who are overprotected. This led to plenty of machinations and drama, and was on occasion, pretty suspenseful.

This is an interesting approach to historical fiction, and to Victoria’s early life, but the quick pacing and sharp dialogue, kept me turning pages and completely engaged in the story.

Overall, this is not exactly what I was expecting from this book, but I ended up liking it a lot and was glad the book took a buoyant tone, instead of a heavier one, which is what I was expecting, and is a fresh look at Victoria’s life before Albert and the way she finally accepted Albert as her husband.




DAISY GOODWIN, a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University’s film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University, is a leading television producer in the U.K. Her poetry anthologies, including 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, have introduced many new readers to the pleasures of poetry, and she was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. That was the year she published her first novel the American Heiress ( My Last Duchess in UK) , followed by The Fortune Hunter and now Victoria. She has also created VICTORIA the PBS/ITV series which starts in January. She has three dogs, two dogs, and one husband. (

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