Victoria: Portrait of a Queen

My family refuses to conduct road trips in silence, so when my grandmother and I were preparing for our drive to DC, I headed to the library to pick out an audiobook for our trip. I prefer nonfiction audiobooks, and I found a great selection on the YA audiobook shelf of my local library.

Victoria: The Portrait of a Queen by Catherine Reef is a well-done look at Queen Victoria’s entire life, from her birth to her ascension to the throne, her marriage, her children and grandchildren, and her eventual death in 1901 after sitting on the throne for over 60 years. Interspersed between well-woven prose are excerpt from writings by the Queen and about the Queen, novels of the time, newspaper clippings, et cetera.

The audiobook was well narrated by a nice British voice actress and had a very soothing voice for the most part, though the strange rasp she adapted for male voices, and elderly voices, felt very odd. She also did an American accent that just felt mildly offensive, but overall she did a great job.

This book is short, less than 5 hours long, but you’ll learn a lot about Queen Victoria’s life, from how she became Queen (family politics, scoundrels, the work) to what life was like in Victorian England in workhouses to her political dealings with various prime ministers and her devoted love to her husband, Albert. I loved seeing how she handled her many children so differently and what was expected and allowed of each of them, from the heir to the throne to the many spares and even a daughter she didn’t want to let marry so she could keep her company!



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