Tuesday, March 16, 2010

REVIEW: The Queen and Lord M by Jean Plaidy

In the first book in the series, The Captive of Kensington Palace we met Victoria the young girl. In this installment we meet Victoria the Queen. At the youthful age of 18 Victoria has ascended the English throne upon the death of her uncle King William and she has got a lot to learn. Finally getting a taste of freedom, she distances herself from her overbearing mother and falls under the spell of the charming Lord Melbourne, her Prime Minister. Melbourne knows just what to say and do to please the Queen and helps to guide her during the first year of her reign.

Lord Melbourne

All can not go well forever though and Victoria starts to hit a few bumps in the road. First is the Flora Hastings scandal in which one of her ladies accuses a woman of the Duchess of Kent's (Victoria's mother) household of being pregnant and by none other than the odious John Conroy. This soon proves to be tragically false but it whips the public into such a frenzy that they turn against the Queen. Second, Victoria thinks that dear Lord Melbourne and the Whig party he leads can do no wrong. Melbourne is forced to resign as Prime Minister and is replaced by Robert Peel whom Victoria despises because he is a Tory and wholly unlike Melbourne. Victoria makes a stink about Peel wanting to change her Ladies of the Bedchamber from being all wives of Whig party members to a more diverse make-up. Since no agreement can be reached Peel is unable to form a government and Melbourne is recalled.

Meanwhile rumors are rampant that Victoria and Melbourne share a much closer relationship than Queen and Prime Minister and when the public starts to call her Mrs. Melbourne behind her back, Victoria realizes it is time to consider marrying. She is reluctant to do so but her thoughts return to cousin Albert and she wonders if after three years time her feelings for him will be the same as they were when she first met him. They are reunited and Victoria adores him. They marry after facing many difficulties. Now Victoria must learn to share her life with her Prince Consort and differentiate between what it means to be a wife and what it mean to be a Queen.

Queen Victoria, Age 23

I like the new spunky Victoria we meet in this book. It is clear from the get go that she is determined to be her own woman but it is also clear that she has a lot to learn. She tends to pull the "Queen" card a lot in an attempt to get her way even though in many instances she is relying on her feelings instead of the rational course of action. What a change it must have been for England to go from having three crusty old men in a row as monarchs to this inexperienced but determined young girl-and one who clearly knew nothing of politics.

I was waiting for the end of the book when she would be reunited with Albert and they would fall in love. I'm not sure I like how Plaidy handled it though. She wrote it as if as soon as Victoria laid eyes on Albert again she was madly in love and couldn't bear to be parted from him. While I believe that they fell in love rather quickly, I am sure it was not the instantaneous-I simply cannot function without Albert near me-type love that Plaidy makes it out to be. She also didn't make Albert seem very interesting at all. I understand he is supposed to be Mr. calm cool and collected when compared with the impulsive Victoria but there must have been something interesting about the man. Also Victoria describing everyone as dear dear this and dear dear that got really annoying after awhile.

I enjoyed this book, but maybe not as much as Captive of Kensington Palace. I'm more interested in the love story which occurs in the 3rd book The Queen's Husband.

If the FTC is wondering: This book is from my own personal library


  1. A great review!
    I have not been able to read as much of Plaidy as you have, but The Tudors always seem to have a lot of drama surrounding them so I always gravitate towards those reads first.
    But I'll have to remember to reach for Kensington one next.

    PS I just noticed the photo in the top left of your background: it is a Monet, of his wife Camille, and it is going to put of a slideshow that I put together for our Round Table event. See how smart books can get us sometimes? Now we have a valid excuse of why we bury ourselves in books all the time. And I also wanted to let you know that in my next Sunday post your blog name will be mentioned for an award. Do with it what you will when you want, but I wanted to let you know in case you did care!

  2. +JMJ+

    Interesting reviews, so far!

    Have you seen The Young Victoria?

  3. @ Marie- Thank you for the upcoming award. I love those Tudors too. It seems there is drama to be had no matter what family/time period you delve into :)

    @ Enbrethiliel- I haven't seen it yet but it looks fantastic. I saw a teenager in the parking lot of the grocery store today and immediately thought to myself "wow he has sideburns like Prince Albert!" and the only reason this occurred to me was the movie stills I'd seen from Young Victoria :)