ARC Beat the Queue – Victoria by Julia Baird
January 30, 2017
This is an historical biography running at 25 holds. I haven’t gotten to it personally except for some online snippets shared by the publisher but Lorraine finished over the weekend and highly recommends. Queens are a popular and revealing topic for biography (e.g. Catherine the Great by Massie circulated 533 times here and Cleopatra by Schiff over 1300 times!) . Women rarely got to the throne without being interesting and impactful, it seems. Comment to claim. If it’s after tomorrow, you may have to wait as I’m out of town for a couple weeks. I have a feeling in time it will be a solid candidate for a book discussion kit as well.
Excerpt of Publisher Summary: Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother’s meddling and an adviser’s bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security–queen of a quarter of the world’s population at the height of the British Empire’s reach. Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria’s relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.