Victoria, the future queen of England, is the subject of Victoria Rebels, a new historical fiction novel from Carolyn Meyer. We see the British Empire through Victoria’s eyes as she grows from a very young princess into a young married queen. The novel begins in 1827, when Victoria is age eight and under the care of her mother, German-born Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Victoria’s mother is being advised by her longtime friend, Sir John Conroy, who aspires to rule England through Victoria and her mother. Together, Victoria’s mother and Conroy design the Kensington System, which is a set of rules created to make young Victoria completely dependent on him and her mother. The novel takes place over the course of sixteen years, ending in 1843, after Victoria has been crowned, wed to her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and produced the first three of her nine children.
Victoria Rebels is written in first person, so it reads more like a diary than a novel. Meyer has provided rich descriptions of the dress, culture, and food of Victorian England through Victoria’s eyes. The intricate ancestry and heritage of Victoria’s family is cleverly woven into the story. The tension between Victoria, her mother, John Conroy, is depicted so strongly that readers will feel how oppressed Victoria was under the Kensington System and why she chose to rebel against Conroy and her mother.
The author has included a bibliography, a list of interesting websites to visit for further information on the time period, and extensive notes about the Victorian Age at the back of the book.
This novel will be enjoyed by those readers who enjoy historical fiction or like reading about the Victorian time period. I recommend Victoria Rebels for middle school and high school readers!
Reviewer's note: The copy reviewed was received from Library Media Connection in exchange for an honest review.