Books: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Uhm . . . No.

I love me some historical fiction, and I love queens and such, but there are some expectations that come with those elements. For one, historical fiction usually has a sort of elevated writing style. This . . . did not. In fact, this was written like bad young adult fiction. The sentences are simple, the POVs hop around, and we're told instead of shown. In particular, the characters are flat. Bad guys are bad, and no one is well rounded, not even Victoria or Albert or Lord Melbourne, the three sides of the poorly constructed love triangle this book puts forth as the central "conflict," such as it is.

That's another problem with this book. There is no tension and no real conflict. I think we're supposed to feel worried that Conroy and the Duke of Cumberland will succeed in ruling over Victoria or setting her aside in some way, but that plot line comes and goes with nary a ruffle. And then maybe we're supposed to feel tension over Victoria + Melbourne versus Victoria + Albert, but since we all know how that ends, how can we really worry over it?

The "romance" between Victoria and Albert, too, is tiresome. They seemingly can't stand each other, yet we're told over and over again that they've fallen in love. What? It makes no sense, and there is zero chemistry on the page. The whole thing seems far more forcibly arranged by Leopold than a true romance between two people who, history shows, really did love one another.

Are we supposed to like Albert? It's impossible to in this incarnation. He's serious and borderline cruel at points. We're given the sad story of his mother leaving when he was young as though that might soften him, but again, we just don't feel it. This book is so much tell and so little actual feeling.

Overall, this book suffers from a lack of backbone. There is no strong through line, no development arc, and the characters are static rather than dynamic. I was disappointed.

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