I will be the first to admit that I was way out of my comfort zone when I bought this book. It’s not only fiction but also offers an alternative universe where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had just one surviving child as Prince Albert was shot and killed while Queen Victoria was pregnant with their second child. She subsequently had a miscarriage and does not remarry, leaving Princess Victoria – the Princess Royal – as her only child and heir.
The book is a rather slim volume, though it’s apparently intended to become a trilogy eventually. After explaining the alternative universe we are in, the book begins with 17-year-old Vicky about to embark on her first foreign trip. Naturally, there are concerns for her safety, given her father’s assassination and a recent attack. Also on everyone’s mind is the search for a potential husband for her, though the appropriate candidate is not too Vicky’s taste and she much prefers a British nobleman. As a side story, there is also Queen Victoria’s romance with John Brown, and her subsequent pregnancy and marriage threaten Vicky’s place as first in the line of succession as a boy would take precedence over her.
As the book is rather slim, we go through the story at breakneck speed, and I think several important parts could have been expanded upon a lot more. Nevertheless, it is an interesting look at what could have been (for example, if male-preference primogeniture hadn’t existed). The style of writing is actually quite good and makes for easy reading. I look forward to reading the other parts.