When Victoria was born in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe's monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public's expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.
Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security - queen of a quarter of the world's population at the height of the British Empire's reach.
©2016 Julia Baird (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
A well-written biography of a rather misunderstood woman. Victorian has come to imply prudishness, but the queen was actually fairly broad minded. She was more sentimental than anything else. The author shows how Victoria played a pivotal role in the political landscape of her age and also exposes her frailties. The queen emerges as a very real and human figure, a woman surprisingly unpretentious and free of prejudice for her time. The major flaw in the book is the author's tendency to write about how Victoria thought or felt or wondered, which is not something for which there is any possible evidence. Or to describe how Lord Whoever drove through the streets, naming the types of people or happenings as he drove by--again, pure fiction. I found this annoying and condescending, as though the reader can't be persuaded to keep reading unless the facts are tarted up with fiction.
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