Historian Worsley’s (Jane Austen at Home, 2017, etc.) second novel for young adults puts a unique spin on Queen Victoria’s childhood and path to the throne.
Miss Victoria Conroy, daughter of Sir John Conroy, the royal comptroller, is going to London to be a companion for Her Royal Highness the Princess Victoria. The 11-year-old “Miss V” finds the prospect of meeting the princess and living at Kensington Palace both thrilling and terrifying. However, the quiet, obedient, and shy Miss V is surprised to find that the possible future queen of England is dirty, boisterous, and prone to tantrums. Claiming he has Victoria’s best interests at heart, Miss V’s father has devised the oppressive Kensington System ostensibly to protect the princess from would-be assassins. As the years pass, the girls grow closer, and Miss V discovers her father is using the System to feed his own hunger for power. Miss V’s duty is to the princess, and it’s up to her to beat the System and help ensure that Victoria takes her rightful place on the throne at 18. Contemporary customs and royal politics round out the narrative to provide an intriguing glimpse into the girlhood of one of the most powerful women in European history as imagined by one of Britain’s most popular historians.
A brilliant blend of historical fact and artistic license. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12-adult)