Victoria Victorious is the story of one of the greatest Queen’s in Britain’s history. The story is told through Victoria’s eyes—a memoir of sorts. The story begins in Victoria’s childhood where she lives in Kensington Palace under the consistent watchful eye of her mother, the Duchess of Kent. When Victoria is born, she is fourth in line to the throne and her mother sees Victoria as her ticket to becoming Regent to the Queen of England as Victoria’s father dies shortly after her birth and her uncles are rather old. The Duchess of Kent keeps her daughter locked away in Kensington Palace, forbidding her to attend royal events, virtually keeping Victoria prisoner. Things get even worse when Sir John Conroy takes over the house and her mother’s heart. Victoria knows that he is not to be trusted and begins to countdown until her 18th birthday. Soon after her 18th birthday Victoria awakens to the news that she is now Queen of England. She becomes very fond of her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne—one of many men who would have a great influence on Victoria’s life and reign. Victoria then falls in love with her German cousin Albert, Prince of Sacs-Coburg, through the coercion of her Uncle Leopold. The English people dislike Albert because he was German and not English, therefore he was not a proper man, but Victoria could not care less what the people thought of her dear Albert as she was head over heels in love with him. Throughout their married life Victoria and Albert produce a grand total of nine children. After the tragic death of Albert, Victoria continued to reign for almost another 40 years.
I was excited to read this novel as I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Jean Plaidy’s novels that I have read thus far and I have always been interested in learning more about Queen Victoria’s life; however I regretfully have to say that I was extremely disappointed in this novel. The first half of the novel was good—I enjoyed reading about Victoria’s childhood and her marriage to Albert and her trials and tribulations of married life and motherhood. It was after Albert’s death where the novel fell apart for me. The amount of political details was tedious to get through and honestly, it was very dry and boring. Victoria was portrayed as weak and extremely dependent on the men in her life ranging from her Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, to her husband Albert to her subsequent Prime Ministers. My final criticism was the fact that it was incongruous—Plaidy jumped from event to event without any notion that any time had passed. Some events that you know would take time, for example a 9-month pregnancy, started and ended in the same paragraph whereas other events that many have only lasted a few hours, such as a ball, took 2-3 paragraphs from start to finish. You could also start one paragraph in one year and by the next you were 5 years in the future without even realizing that any time had passed at all.
Overall I found this novel to be extremely tedious and I could not wait to finish it—I even considered giving up on it half way through but I convinced myself that it would get better . . . which it didn’t. Definitely was not my favourite Jean Plaidy novel and I would only recommend this to someone who enjoys reading about British politics as that was the main focus of the majority of the novel.