(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
…I had to kiss His Majesty’s hand. Really, one kisses the air over his hand, and that’s a good thing, for he’s so glistening with lotions and powders to cover the liver spots on his skin, which he hates…
Aunt Soap says he was a beautiful lad when he was young. “Prinny was the handsomest Prince ever. His curls were the colour of honey on toast, like that red-gold Russian sable the Princess de Lieven wears.” Now, unfortunately, his beauty has quite fled. Perhaps he does wear a corset, as I once heard Lady C. remark—though I can’t see that it does much good. (I’m sure she would be shocked to know I overheard. But I do wonder why so many people seem to think a young person’s ears do not work unless they are instructed to by some adult.)
Even for a princess in The Royal Diaries, Victoria is quite young when she’s ‘writing’ this book, at only 10 years old. Maybe it’s because I’m a cynical old reader, but even for ten years old she was, quite simply put, an annoying brat. Part of it was her immaturity and the other part was the annoying quirks Anna Kirwan used to make her ‘unique’.
In this portrayal of the future Queen Victoria, Anna Kirwan has made her quite ignorant of her station, immature and an incredibly annoying writer. You see, sometimes Victoria speaks in the language you would expect of the times and in the same entry you might see language you would use in an email to a friend. I don’t know why Kirwan decided to do this, but she makes Victoria use the arcane form of ‘choose’ (‘chuse’) without using any other arcane language. This, of course, doesn’t make it authentic so much as it makes it annoying. The most annoying personality quirk used was Victoria’s habit of using ‘v.’ as an abbreviation of ‘very’. So we end up with a character who uses words that are ten letters long, but abbreviates a four letter word. Writers take note: this is not quirky; it’s annoying.
When you have a book written in diary form, a good narrator is an absolute must because you can’t escape from their point of view. Therefore, Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia was bad overall. I’m sure with a better narrator I would have been more focused on the historical events than on translating v., but that was not the case. As far as I can tell, this book is mostly accurate, but Anna Kirwan admits to changing a few things around in her Historical Note.
I give this book 1.5/5 stars.
*Only available as a used book.