Tag Archives: Daisy Goodwin

Victoria Series 2 Episode 1 Review

Queen Victoria has the rare distinction of being one of the few female rulers in human history. Last year, the television series Victoria (based on the book of the same name by Daisy Goodwin, who is also the series’ show runner ) hit our small screens.

Last night, the second series of Victoria premiered on PBS. The second series starts a month after the first series ended. Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) is a new mother and has been on resting since giving birth. Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) has stepped into his wife’s shoes while she recovers from bringing their daughter into the world. But Victoria is eager to get back to work and like many mothers, has to find the life/work balance that is sometimes akin to walking on a tightrope. While Victoria is trying to balance family life, her marriage and her job, Albert is trying to find his own identity outside of his marriage.

I really enjoyed last night’s episode. Not just because creator and writer Daisy Goodwin brings these real life people into our modern lives, but also because Victoria and Albert’s marriage seems so ordinary, despite their extraordinary status in society.  Like any married couple, they love each other, but they disagree quite fiercely. I also very much appreciated that Victoria’s dilemma is quite modern. She is working in a man’s world, but at the same time, she is a wife and a new mother. Any woman trying to maintain the same delicate balance will tell you that it is not easy.

I recommend it.

Victoria airs at 9PM on Sunday nights on PBS. 

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Victoria Book Review

To be a King is extra-ordinary. To be a Queen is extra-extra-ordinary.

Queen Victoria ruled from 1837 until 1901. When we picture her, we see a stern, moral and regal monarch who knows who she is and her place in the world.

But before she was that Victoria, she was another Victoria. She was young, impressionable, a bit naive, a bit temperamental, but she also knew her destiny. Daisy Goodwin’s new novel, Victoria, takes the reader back to 1837. A short time after her 18th birthday, a messenger from Buckingham Palace has arrived. Her uncle, the King is dead and she is now Queen. The first thing she does is break the shackles that her widowed mother, The Duchess Of Kent and her mother’s adviser, Sir John Conroy have kept her in.

Victoria finds an ally in Lord Melbourne, but many fear that he has a Svengali like hold on the young Queen. Given her age, her previously sheltered life and her lack of experience, there are concerns that Victoria may be too blind with the first blush of infatuation to see Melbourne as others do. Enter her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Their relationship is destined to be one of the most romantic relationships of the ages. But before the happily ever after can commence, Victoria’s dislike of her cousin has to turn into love.

I have been eagerly waiting for this book for months. The wait was well worth it. Writing fiction is a difficult endeavor to begin with. But to write historical fiction about real people who are still in the public consciousness, whether living or dead is a herculean task. The thing that grounds the book and the characterization of Queen Victoria is that at that stage of her life, she was an 18 year girl. Yes, she was also a Queen, but she was also 18, growing up and unfortunately, as we all do at that age, making painful mistakes along the way.

I absolutely recommend it.

P.S. My review of the first episode of the television series Victoria is up. It will be airing on PBS early next year and it is good.

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The American Heiress Book Review

In 1776, America won the war of Independence against the British. In the 1890’s, wealthy American parents returned to the British Isles, looking for titled and wealthy aristocratic husbands for their daughters.

Cora Cash, heroine of Daisy Goodwin’s novel, The American Heiress is one of the wealthiest young women in America. Mrs. Cash, her controlling mother, is not looking for husband for her daughter among the young men in their social circle.  She requires a title for her daughter, coupled with a large estate.  While riding in the countryside, Cora meets the Duke Of Wareham, known to his family and close associates as Ivo. Their engagement and marriage quickly follows.

But Cora is unaware of the stringent customs and traditions of her new country. Her husband is distant at times, causing Cora to question if she made the right choice.  While Cora is learning about her new life, her free black maid, Bertha is also learning about English customs while being courted by the Duke’s valet.

This book is absolute perfection. It is part Edith Wharton, part Jane Austen, with a dash of Downton Abbey. Ms. Goodwin balances the details of the period with a very entertaining story line and interesting characters.

I highly recommend this book.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Downton Abbey, Jane Austen