My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Although Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria has been on my TBR list since I first heard about it, I ended up seeing the Masterpiece series based on (and written by the author of) the novel first. As expected, the two are similar in many ways. There are several differences, however, that in some ways make the book and the television series two different kinds of stories.
For television, some downstairs storylines were added, taking advantage of the popularity of Downton Abbey. Also, the series went further ahead in time than the novel does, exploring Victoria and Albert’s relationship even further than the novel does. Because of this, the series is more of a romance while the novel is a coming-of-age look at the character of Queen Victoria just as she ascends to the throne. The Victoria in this book is a pretty normal teenage/young woman who is still trying to figure out who she is while trying to gain respect as a young queen. Eighteen-year-old Victoria is self-centered, passionate, headstrong, and, after years of isolation and being overly protected, pushes the limits of her new role. Through trial and error that is on display for her country and the world to see, by the end of Victoria, she is just beginning to understand that she isn’t as independent as she’d like to believe and is gradually settling into her monarchy. She has a long way to go yet.
This isn’t to say that the novel doesn’t have its moments of romance. I dare you not to swoon when Albert cuts open his shirt to place her gardenia’s near his heart. But, at its heart, the book is a character study of a typical young woman in extraordinary circumstances. Despite her lofty position, Victoria is relatable and likable and Goodwin’s writing is simple and accessible.
P.s. My new favorite word is Schokoladenseite.