This absorbing, fictionalized first-person account of Queen Victoria’s early life reveals the hardships she endured as a child and young woman.
Readers meet Victoria at age 8, growing up under the strict supervision of her mother, a woman completely under the influence of one Sir John Conroy, a man so ambitious he schemes to rule England through Victoria. Kept under observation virtually all the time, young Victoria struggles to escape total domination. After her half sister marries and moves to Germany, her former governess remains as her only private confidant. When 18-year-old Victoria is crowned, she banishes Conroy and assumes control of her life, but not without some hiccups. Basing the story on Victoria’s diaries, Meyer writes convincingly as the young princess and queen, imitating the girl’s writing style but keeping the narration accessible to modern readers. The story follows Victoria from childhood and adolescence through the births of her first three children. Although written entirely from Victoria’s viewpoint aside from a few brief letters, it conveys the young queen’s inappropriate political biases, her initial reluctance to marry and her terrible temper. As it turns out, though Victoria’s early life was stifling to her, it comes across as an engrossing tale.
The author does not enhance or alter the history; she simply and convincingly translates it into a lively narrative. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)