I received this book free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.
These long books are making it hard for me to blog as much as I’d like. I finally finished Victoria The Queen. An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird. As interested as I am in the Victorian time period, it’s embarrassing that I knew so little about Victoria. This book seemed the perfect way to remedy that.
This detailed biography pulls extensively from primary sources to give the reader a picture of the woman as well as the queen. Baird strikes a good balance between lauding Victoria’s accomplishments, explaining her popularity, and discussing her faults and where she fell short. Often, snippets in the queen’s own words are her own worst critiques, showing Victoria’s self-absorption, her complete conviction of her own infallibility, and her neediness. Yet she mastered the art of winning the adoration of her subjects.
In addition to presenting Victoria’s life history, this is a fascinating look at the policies and tactics of the British Empire of the times. It’s lengthy and, at times, a bit repetitive, but overall well-organized and informative, with an extensive bibliography.
For those interested in the Victorian Era and Victoria herself, this is superb biography.