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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

The perfect companion to the upcoming PBS Masterpiece series Victoria

A gripping account of Queen Victoria's rise and early years in power from CNN's official royal historian

"Kate Williams has perfected the art of historical biography. Her pacy writing is underpinned by the most impeccable scholarship." (Alison Weir)

In 1819, a girl was born to the fourth son of King George III. No one could have expected such an unassuming, overprotected girl to be an effective ruler - yet Queen Victoria would become one of the most powerful monarchs in history.

Writing with novelistic flair and historical precision, Kate Williams reveals a vibrant woman in the prime of her life while chronicling the byzantine machinations that continued even after the crown was placed on her head. Upon hearing that she had inherited the throne, 18-year-old Victoria banished her overambitious mother from the room, a simple yet resolute move that would set the tone for her reign. The queen clashed constantly not only with her mother and her mother's adviser, the Irish adventurer John Conroy, but with her ministers and even her beloved Prince Albert - all of whom attempted to seize control from her.

Williams lays bare the passions that swirled around the throne - the court secrets, the sexual repression, and the endless intrigue. The result is a grand tale of a woman whose destiny began long before she was born and whose legacy lives on.

©2016 Kate Williams (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Kate Williams has excelled herself. One is engaged from the very first line. She has perfected the art of historical biography. Her pacy writing is underpinned by the most impeccable scholarship." (Alison Weir, author of Lady in the Tower)
"The amazing untold story of Victoria before she was queen...Kate Williams reveals a passionate young woman beloved of her future subjects but at war with her family." ( London Sunday Telegraph)
" Becoming Queen Victoria showcases an outstanding talent from which we can expect much more." ( Spectator)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wren
  • Texas
  • 04-01-17

Extremely Well Written and Readable

One of the most informative biographies placed into an enjoyable writing style that I have had the pleasure to read. The dual biography of Queen Victoria and her lesser known predecessor, Charlotte the almost Queen whose death changed the line of succession. Fascinating and enjoyable. The narrator had a slightly noticeable style that I came to enjoy. Very pleasant to listen to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating and well read

Would you consider the audio edition of Becoming Queen Victoria to be better than the print version?

This well told biography is wonderfully read and a fascinating tale of the rise of Victoria. A compelling listen!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it's based a lot on journal entries and letters.

What other book might you compare Becoming Queen Victoria to and why?

No idea.

Which character – as performed by Katharine McEwan – was your favorite?

It's a biography.

Any additional comments?

There's a gap in the story at 13:15:20 to 13:15:22. I thought there was a buffering isuse, but it turns out there's an issue. every time I replayed the 30 seconds prior, it would happen again at the same time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this

If you enjoy history and a great story this is a good find. It is like two books in one and very good in that it includes several bits from Victoria's journals throughout the period and information gathered from letters of others in the inner circle during this time. I enjoyed the narrator as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Title does not include Princess Charlotte.

I enjoyed this well written and researched book. But the title does not reveal that the entire first third of the book is about the Hanovers and Princess Charlotte, also a fascinating tale.

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Intriguing, from beginning to end

Although it's not just about Victoria's life, but also about Charlotte and her mother, it's no critique; their lives are utterly fascinating.
The path to the crown has been showed to be rather complicated, unpredictable and full of intrigue, which, despite the stress it must have caused to them it's nevertheless very interesting and always keeps the reader anxious for the next chapter.
When Victoria finally is crowned queen, the book is 80% finished and the focus switches to showing her contribution to our modern vision of monarchy and how she dealt with her private life affairs.
Even though the book leaves you wanting for more, even after it's end it still wraps up wonderfully, establishing correlations between Victoria's past decisions and nowaday events, such as the press coverage of the affair of the former King of England with Willis and how the monarchy slowly acquires resemblance with celebrities, such as seen with Diana.

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Very informative

I enjoyed getting to know more about the history, joys, and struggles. This book helps to "humanize" a group that is sometimes seen as different and less "normal" than those of us with "regular" careers.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not exactly what I thought.

This book was more of a timeline than anything else. A very tedious listen, good thing I Iove any thing history and I am a patient listener. I think the book spent to much time prior to Victoria. I recommend if you decide to listen to this book, you realize it takes patience to get through it. Narration was okay.

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Love European History? Queen Victoria? READ THIS

Where does Becoming Queen Victoria rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

On a scale from 1 - 10, I would rank it a 9

What did you like best about this story?

At first it was a bit confusing as to how the author took so much time on Princess Charlotte, but I ended up enjoying this bit of history that I was unaware of.

What does Katharine McEwan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

N/A

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I would have to say when Princess Charlotte died.

Any additional comments?

It's a great book, enjoyable, a great entry into History if you are beginner. I would read the book and listen to the audio book again as well as recommend to others!