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How Victoria Became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

by Michaela MacColl

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8118-7300-0
Publisher: Chronicle

Regency romance blends enjoyably with historical fiction, with a plucky heroine for each mode. Newly orphaned Liza is left penniless on the verge of her London Season and is forced to accept the vastly-beneath-her position of maid to the Princess Victoria. There, Liza is embroiled in the real-life historical intrigue that surrounded the princess. Sir John Conroy and Victoria's mother schemed to keep Victoria dependent, hoping for power during Victoria's coming reign. In reality, the nearly friendless Victoria overcame their machinations alone. Here she survives with the help of Liza, Liza's newspaperman beau and a Dickensian street child. As Victoria approaches her 18th birthday and Conroy ramps up his desperate, Machiavellian plots, Liza becomes less self-absorbed and judgmental, willing to fight for Victoria. Suitor Will becomes accordingly more affectionate. Diary entries and letters from Liza and Victoria pepper the narrative (Victoria's are genuine and feel prissy beside the contemporary prose). The romance between characters with relatively modern sensibilities makes for a pleasurable portal into an historical event which is practically a Gothic novel even without the addition of fiction. (Historical fiction. 12-14)