In this unforgettable novel of Queen Victoria, Jean Plaidy re-creates a remarkable life filled with romance, triumph, and tragedy.
At birth, Princess Victoria was fourth in line for the throne of England, the often-overlooked daughter of a prince who died shortly after her birth. She and her mother lived in genteel poverty for most of her childhood, exiled from court because of her mother’s dislike of her uncles, George IV and William IV. A strong, willful child, Victoria was determined not to be stifled by her powerful uncles or her unpopular, controlling mother. Then one morning, at the age of eighteen, Princess Victoria awoke to the news of her uncle William’s death. The almost-forgotten princess was now Queen of England. Even better, she was finally free of her mother’s iron hand and her uncles’ manipulations. Her first act as queen was to demand that she be given a room—and a bed—of her own.
Victoria’s marriage to her German cousin, Prince Albert, was a blissfully happy one that produced nine children. Albert was her constant companion and one of her most trusted advisors. Victoria’s grief after Prince Albert’s untimely death was so shattering that for the rest of her life—nearly forty years—she dressed only in black. She survived several assassination attempts, and during her reign England’s empire expanded around the globe until it touched every continent in the world.
Derided as a mere “girl queen” at her coronation, by the end of her sixty-four-year reign, Victoria embodied the glory of the British Empire. In this novel, written as a “memoir” by Victoria herself, she emerges as truthful, sentimental, and essentially human—both a lovable woman and a great queen.
In this third novel in her new series on the queens of England, Plaidy, indefatigable romancer of Europe's royal lines, arrives at the times of Queen Victoria. The first-person narration of Victoria's life and loves, taking her from plump, pouting girlhood to the unamused "grandmother of Europe,'' unfolds replete with familiar incidents and anecdotes of her 64-year reign. The cast of male supporters is large: the dominating consort, Prince Albert; the reprobate heir, ``Bertie,'' who could never please his royal parents; the men on whom she dependedministers like Disraeli and Gladstone, servants like Scotsman John Brown. For young or unsophisticated readers, this is an uncomplicated introduction to Victoria's many roles. Others will find it overlong, tiresome in its primer-style narration, and lacking the sparkle of Plaidy's romances. February 17