This biography explores the two sides of an extraordinary woman—the public side, involved in politics and negotiating the tensions of monarch as real power, and the private side of wife, mother, and widow.
When Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the monarchy was a very different thing than when she died in 1901, and Julia Baird successfully negotiates the pressures Victoria dealt with over her long life, particularly the succession of prime ministers, not all of whom were comfortable dealing with this powerful woman.
It is the tension of being a women in power in a time that did not see women as having a role outside the home, and the demands of her personal life as mother to nine children that make this book so interesting. Julia Baird moves effortlessly between the private woman and the public monarch.
The book balances the demands of a monarch with the demands of a wife, mother, and widow, with a deftness that makes this book so readable.