Here is a coming-of-age story with an assortment of elements frequently found in young adult novels. There is teen rebellion, distaste for parental guidance, foot stamping temper tantrums, a crush on a much older and without a doubt unavailable gentleman, and a painful transition to adulthood. The twist is that our heroine is not a typical teenager. Rather, she is a young, sheltered woman who is not taken seriously by anyone in her life. Before she turns nineteen years old, she suddenly finds herself in a position to control the fate of those who had previously controlled her.

Alexandrina Victoria ends her day on June 19, 1837 as a protected eighteen-year-old girl and wakes up on June 20, 1837 legally in charge of the richest country in the world.

Her uncle King William IV has died. She is instantly the Queen of England. Those in power doubt the competence of the tiny queen who is less than five feet tall. She wastes no time and quickly exercises her rights by reorganizing her household and declaring that she will be known only as Victoria rather the Alexandrina or Drina. There is a changeof residence and though mother and daughter have always shared a bedroom, her mother is speedily removed to a separate wing. Sir John Conroy is her mother’s companion and has had significant influence on the Duchess and her handling of Victoria. We are witness to considerable drama surrounding Sir John and others as they vie for influence and attempt to orchestrate a suitable marriage for Victoria. After all, every woman and especially a queen, needs a husband who will control her.

Enter the much older, unavailable Lord Melbourne. The new queen is drawn to her prime minister’s charm. She learns to trust his guidance on both political and personal matters. Their feelings for each other and the complications that arise from their relationship weave more tension into the story. Most of her family believes her destiny is to marry her cousin, Prince Albert. Are they a love match or would it be a marriage of convenience? Even the palace servants place wagers on their favorite candidate.

I chose to “read” this book in audio format.

I knew little of the lineage of the British royal family so I enjoyed both the history lessons and the love story. I looked forward to my drive to and from work each day in order to find out the next piece of the story. What great fun to be driving along a rural South Dakota road and be entertained by descriptions of royal dwellings and balls. I was completely caught up in the mystery of whom or if Victoria would marry.

Ms. Goodwin wrote the novel at the same time as she was writing the PBS series of the same name. Victoria is available at the library in both CD audio and print format. Season 1 of Victoria is also available at the library on DVD.