MY NAME IS VICTORIA, by Lucy Worsley, Candlewick, May 8, 2018, Hardcover, $16.99 (young adult)
I began reading My Name is Victoria just before my mom entered the hospital in June. As soon as she saw my copy, my mom asked if she could borrow it next. We’d both been watching the Victoria series on PBS, and were excited about a novel written by Lucy Worsley, who you might have seen as the host of several PBS documentaries.
More about Worsley, later. Here’s the synopsis of her book:
Miss V. Conroy is good at keeping secrets. She likes to sit as quiet as a mouse, neat and discreet. But when her father sends her to Kensington Palace to become the companion to Princess Victoria, Miss V soon finds that she can no longer remain in the shadows. Her father is Sir John Conroy, confidant and financial advisor to Victoria’s mother, and he has devised a strict set of rules for the young princess that he calls the Kensington System. It governs Princess Victoria’s behavior and keeps her locked away from the world. Sir John says it’s for the princess’s safety, but Victoria herself is convinced that it’s to keep her lonely and unhappy. Torn between loyalty to her father and her growing friendship with the willful and passionate princess, Miss V has a decision to make: continue in silence or speak out. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
There’s so much to like about My Name is Victoria. Worsley immediately immerses readers in Princess Victoria’s life and the Kensington System. You’re soon swept up in the day-to-day activities of the future queen of England told through the eyes of her fictional companion, Miss V.
And while the book itself is historical fiction, readers can take comfort in the fact that the author is chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and other historic places. In fact, Worsley’s latest nonfiction book, Queen Victoria: Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow (out now in the UK), is an intimate look at 24 days of Victoria’s life told through diaries, letters and more.
If you’ve ever seen any of Worsley’s TV programs, you know how at ease she sounds. My Name is Victoria features that same conversational tone. Initially, the book does seem to skew a little younger, but as Miss V and Victoria age, the book moves squarely into YA.
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