Queen Victoria: Her Girlhood And Womanhood by Grace Greenwood is an unusual biography. It was written by an American contemporary of the Queen, while she was still alive, and is vastly based on the recollections of people who knew her. Greenwood herself happened to meet the Queen on one occasion, which she relates in the book. A staunch republican, Greenwood however admired Queen Victoria and believed that “her example as a daughter, wife and mother, and as the honored head of English society could but have, if told simply, yet sympathetically, a happy and ennobling influence on the hearts and minds of my young countrywomen”.
If you don’t like boring history lessons, don’t worry. You won’t find any here. Greenwood’s aim is to make the real Queen Victoria come to life, showing the person behind the crown and manages to do so very well. The emphasis in this book is placed on the Queen and her personal life, rather than on the politics of the time or the society she lived in, although those are mentioned too. Thus, in this book we find many personal anecdotes regarding the Queen, giving us an interesting insight into her personal life and personality.
We thus discover the Queen loved animals and the arts, what subjects she studied, what her relationship with her family was like, the interesting people she met, the state visits she went on, and how she dealt with those around her. The Queen always had, since her childhood, a kind, compassionate and caring disposition and was thus loved by everyone that met her. We then see her fall passionately in love with her cousin Albert, become a devoted wife and mother, and cry with her when her spouse dies prematurely, leaving her to face a long widowhood.
The writing style is obviously archaic and old-fashioned, but still the book flows smoothly and is easy to follow. If you’re interested in the personal lives of royals and their family dynamics and care more about little anecdotes than the political, economical and social aspects of their reigns, then I highly recommend you this book. It will captivate you. If, on the other hand, you want a more complete picture of the Victorian era, the political issues the country was involved in and how the Queen dealt with them, you may want to give this one a miss. Keep in mind that, because the book was written while the Queen was alive, the author didn’t have access to all the information and documents available to modern historians. Still, it’s a very charming read.
Queen Victoria by Grace Greenwood is a charming biography of this British sovereign, written while she was still alive. The biography focuses mostly on Victoria’s personal life and character, while the political, social and economical issues of the time aren’t analyzed in-depth. The writing style is archaic but easy to follow. Overall, this is an enchanting biography for those interested in the person behind the crown.
Available at: archive.org