Review: Victoria, May Blossom of Britannia

Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia, England, 1829 (The Royal Diaries)Victoria, May Blossom of Britannia
by Anna Kirwan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Victoria, May Blossom / 0-439-21598-6

Looking back over the Royal Diary series, "Victoria" is another solid addition to the group, although, like many of the European princesses, there is a lot here that's been seen and done before. But Victoria is an interesting, if sometimes slightly prim, young woman - and it is gratifying to see her attempting to live her own life and record her own thoughts, even as she is surrounded by those who would use her.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few people who fit into that description. Victoria's mother comes across in the novel as being abhorrently selfish and weak - relying completely on the advice of an abusive manservant who lives with the family, manages their affairs, and emotionally terrorizes Victoria and her mother. Although she does not know it, Victoria is next in line for the throne, and her mother spends much of the novel plotting to try to increase her yearly allowance from the government, and sniveling that the sickly king isn't generous enough towards Victoria. Victoria handles all this with good grace, but she is torn between trying to be an obedient daughter and her understanding that her mother's behavior is not helpful or appropriate much of the time.

If "Victoria" has any failings, it is perhaps that as a European princess, there is much here that you've already read before, if you're a long time fan of the Royal Diary series. When I first read "Victoria", I was new to the series and would have given it 5 stars, but having read the whole series and come back to "Victoria" again, it feels less exciting somehow. Still, I would heartily recommend this book to children and adults alike, especially as an interesting and speculative look into the heart of this important historical queen.

~ Ana Mardoll

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