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Topping off Plaidy's previous Victoriana opuses which touched on the various phases in the long, long life of the Queen, this is a complete childhood-to-post-Jubilee chronicle, narrated by the queen herself in the same tick-tock intonation with which Plaidy's other queens have Told All. And as always, Plaidy never roams far from fact or generally accepted speculation. Plaidy's Victoria begins her ""journal"" by filling in a bit of all-important genealogy and shady bits about her many ""wicked uncles."" George IV was fat and a painter, and William IV was rather bumbling, but she was fond of them both. Widowed Mother, hateful to nice William and gentle Queen Adelaide, aided and abetted by greedy Sir John Conroy, was looking forward to Regency powers--if only William would die before the heiress to the throne was 18! Then finally at age 18, Queenship!--an exhilarating state eased by the P.M., dear Lord Melbourne (""so delightfully protective""). Then amongst gossip, feuds, and ticking off of Mother and Sir John, there arrives through dear Uncle Leopold of Belgium--Albert (""more handsome than anyone I had ever seen--quite beautiful""). Throughout the marriage, ""Queen"" gradually gives way to ""Wife,"" although Victoria hated bearing children and rather disliked babies (""little frogs""). Affairs of state are mentioned (""Sebastopol! How we longed for it to fall!""), and Victoria worries considerably about Albert's discipling of poor Berrie, the Prince of Wales. (Victoria will blame him for Albert's death--Albert ignored an illness to check on Bertie's latest misadventure.) As a widow, she has other men--from dear Disraeli (so flattering) to dear servant John Brown (""strong body, long legs""). There's little doubt--as biographers have suggested--that Victoria had a robust Hanoverian eye for the opposite sex. Unlike the recent more subtle Hanoverian queen novels (The Princess of Celle, etc.), this fictional biography is old-time Plaidy--historically accurate, packed, and bland as broth--although, here, spiced with dollops of Victoria's own words.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1985
Publisher: Putnam