Desert Isle Keeper
Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life
Popular TV historian Dr. Lucy Worsley once again proves her popularity is well deserved with this delightful biography of Queen Victoria. But this book is different from any other you may have read about Victoria in that it takes an in-depth look at twenty-four specific days in the Queen’s life which were the most auspicious, from her birth to her death.
Those who read My Name is Victoria, Worsley’s fictionalization for young readers of Victoria – and Victoria Conroy’s – lives last year know how much research she has put into the life of the Queen, and in this volume it spills out, bright and lively and incredibly fascinating. There’s a sixty-four page bibliography and ten more of references, and every page of the book reflects the high quality of that research.
There are a few interesting new facts turned up along the way. Perhaps, Worsley posits through evidence, Victoria and Albert’s marriage was no paradise of perfect harmony, but was in fact a union of two human beings who were flawed and whose marriage had its bruises, lumps and errors. The material about Victoria and Albert’s many children and the semi-happy lives they endured or enjoyed are well known, but in all instances, Victoria – spirited and determined, assertive and brilliant, and then determined to give her life to the theater of royal living – bounces from the page, true and genuine. She is reflected in her gentle moments, her acidic moments – she is captured remarking upon her daughter-in-law Princess Alix: “are you aware that Alix has the smallest brain ever seen?” – and those of frantic tenderness, such as when, unable to let go of her daughter, Beatrice, who desperately wants to marry and be away from her mother’s shadow, Victoria tortures herself thinking of Beatrice being defiled upon the marriage bed and the wedding is eventually conducted beneath the black buntings of mourning and an enormous portrait of Albert.
Worsley does a deep dive into every moment of these important days – we learn right down to the last detail what the queen wore and what she ate. But sometimes this indulgence doesn’t feel necessary to the narrative, which can make the process of reading it lugubriously arduous.
Yet the overall effect is fascinating enough to keep the reader going. From Victoria’s colonial Africa, to Albert’s deathbed, to her own, Lucy Worsley produces an effortlessly readable and solid portrait. Queen Victoria: Twenty Four Days that Changed Her Life is an eminently readable piece of work that keeps the viewer excited and engaged right to the last moment.
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