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Queen Victoria: A Life of Contradictions
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Queen Victoria: A Life of Contradictions

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  124 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Queen Victoria is Britain's queen of contradictions. In her combination of deep sentimentality and bombast; cultural imperialism and imperial compassion; fear of intellectualism and excitement at technology; romanticism and prudishness, she became a spirit of the age to which she gave her name.

Victoria embraced photography, railway travel and modern art; she resisted compu
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 15th 2013)
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Amy Davies
Short but fairly interesting, this was a well-written book for the most part. However, I didn't like the propensity in which Dennison used old-fashioned, excessively long or extremely unusual words, meaning I had to look things up several times a chapter. Usually the word ended up meaning something which could have been replaced with a far more commonplace word - I'm not sure if this was done to give the illusion of cleverness, but it put me off somewhat.
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
Feb 08, 2017 Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition rated it really liked it
Clear, concise information about Queen Victoria's life and her personality. This book does not get into politics, just Victoria as a person. Short and informative.
This is quite an insightful, entertaining and amusing look into the life of Victoria, from the lead up to her birth to her death and beyond. Dennison focuses on key moments and periods throughout her life so it does jump forward at the end of each chapter which made it a little disjointed at first but once you got used to it, it was fine. I did enjoy Dennison's writing style and he has managed to make a complex and colourful life accessible to the general reader but I found I was left wanting to ...more
Oct 02, 2014 Carolyn rated it really liked it
A good book, mostly for those who have read a bit on Victoria already or conversely, who have not read anything on her. It is small and not necessarily packed full of information, but still entertaining enough.
I chose to read this after reading A Victorian City and prior to reading Little Dorrit, so it was a great refresher to get me in the mood for Dickens.
I do recommend, as it is an easy and educational read!
This book was such a disappointment to me. I have a passing interest in royalty, more so in the Victorian era as a whole, and I thought that this short volume would offer all of the insight that I was looking for in a biography of Queen Victoria. Having finished it in just a few days, I am left feeling as though I know even less about her than when I started.
The author tends to drift back and forth in time throughout the narrative, making the sequence of events a bit hard to follow. He mentions
Stuart Smith
Feb 21, 2015 Stuart Smith rated it did not like it
This book is not great. I blame the editor. The book jumps all over the place like a coked out conversation about qv instead of a lucid historian with something to say. How this author has a multiple book publishing deal is beyond me.
Apr 02, 2017 Ionuț rated it really liked it
Un portret fascinant al celei care a fost și va rămâne ,,bunica Europei” :)
Aug 06, 2014 Pamela rated it really liked it
I seem to like this book better than many reviewers. In fact, I looked forward to picking it up again whenever I had a moment. The author's insightful analysis of Victoria's family background and her resultant behavior provide a fascinating glimpse into this second longest reigning British monarch (after the current queen, Elizabeth II). I didn't want to know all about the foreign and domestic affairs of her reign; I did want to understand her a little better - and I do.
Mar 15, 2014 Mysteryfan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I am not really sure who the audience is for this book or its goal. It presents Victoria's life in a superficial way, It focuses on family and a few other people but it is too short to do them justice. It's not even a good intro for those seeking to learn more about the woman who gave the name to an age and style. Disappointing.
Tuborg Skratulja
Oct 18, 2013 Tuborg Skratulja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Very interesting read, though I think there would have to be a more precise and In depth biography out there, this book has got me more wanting to read on her expanding families and how theory branched out through Europe and how there lives would've changed despising one another as there countries faced wars.
It's a pocket-sized biography. Sparse on the facts/history and big on the salacious melodrama. A good perusal for those already knowledgeable about Queen Victoria's reign.
Nicole N.
Oct 24, 2014 Nicole N. rated it liked it
Although not the most thorough account of Victoria's life that I have read, it was one of the few that talked and in which I learned a little more of Victoria's life after Prince Albert's passing. I think the author gave himself as disadvantage when he wrote such a short book. After all, Victoria's life and reign was so long that he could have written at least 150 more pages that I would have been glad to read.

Like I said before, I learned a bit more about the life of Victoria that I didn't kno
Feb 17, 2017 Donia rated it did not like it
This book reminded me of a college history text book. I adore history. It's what I'm all about but this book is so dry and disconnected; one has to wonder what audience it was written for.
Christopher Morgan
A comparatively short look at the reign of one of Britain's longest serving monarchs. The author does duty to the life of Victoria rather than getting caught up in the lives of prominent relations.

If you want an in depth understanding of Queen Victoria's reign this is not the book. However, it does not profess to be as much. What it does do is give an original insight into an aspect of the subjects character. It charts emotional development under the tutelage of The Prince Consort and the subseq
Feb 09, 2017 Becky rated it liked it
OK but not great
Aug 24, 2015 Donna rated it it was ok
The cover was beautiful, but I'm just not really sure about the book itself. Parts were very interesting, but overall, I found it very frustrating in so many ways. The author used words that I constantly had to look up to see what they meant, he would also jump from one thing to another and I would find myself wondering what and who he was talking about. But in some chapters, it would be like a totally different person wrote it and it was totally accessible. In the later chapters, I found myself ...more
Apr 11, 2016 Alicia rated it liked it
This book was generally okay, but not really what I was after to find out more about Victoria. There were parts here and there that were fantastic, but other parts jumped from one thing to another without warning and there were people that were mentioned but not explained so I didn't know how they fit into her life, or why they were mentioned.
It did get me doing some research on wiki/google so it helped in that regard!
There wasn't anything too special about this. A lot of the book seems to be made up of a collection of other people's work on Victoria and extracts from her diary rather than the author's own original work which is disappointing and doesn't really work that well, though the information is interesting. This book should have either been much shorter or much longer but as it is, it doesn't really work too well as the balance feels off.
May 01, 2014 Mandy rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2014
I received this book via the goodreads first reads program - thank you goodreads,matthew dennison and the publisher.

This is a small book considering the subject lived a very long life. I did enjoy the book but felt this was more of a teaser for a more indepth, detailed account of a very lengthy life.

Certainly a well researched book,I would read more of Matthew Dennisons books because I enjoyed his style of writing.

Oct 31, 2016 Savvina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, biographies
A pleasant and very informative read!
Indeed, it is a good introduction to Queen Victoria and her era. Surprisingly successful was Matthew Dennison 's attempt of this pocket-biography.
That being said, there were times that the choice of vocabulary felt forced and in addition to that I found a little bit odd the parts in which the pictures were inserted, quite wrongly put.
Jun 10, 2015 Christine rated it really liked it
Short, interesting and focusing especially on the contradictions in Queen Victoria's life rather than being a thorough biography - which is exactly what one would expect from reading the title. Some new facts and insights about the queen, so all in all a positive read. I liked it.
Oct 11, 2016 Hatchuu rated it really liked it
A wonderful introduction to the life of Queen Victoria. It's succinct but engaging, and provides an accurate review of those people whom surrounded her - a wonderful taster and the best place to start for a new fan of Victoria, and a refresher for long time fans.
Aug 14, 2016 Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Victoria and Albert are really something to admire, aren't they? Even in death they are together, and Victoria's dying words were, of course, "Oh, Albert..."
Jan 12, 2017 Amy rated it really liked it
I'm now curious to read more about the relationship between Queen Victoria & John Brown! Did they indeed secretly marry? Hmm....
May 07, 2014 Linda added it
Review for Library Journal
Angela Pezel
A very limited biography of Queen Victoria. Easy to read and full of anecdotal information about her home life. Not a scholarly work, but of interest to the antiquarian and casual historical reader.
Sep 20, 2015 Kathy rated it it was ok
This book gave me a new view of Queen Victoria. The author used some very little known vocabulary and hence, reading this book was not easy. I would not recommend this book because of that.
Andrea Engle
Feb 02, 2015 Andrea Engle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2015
Brilliant, though brief, biography ... crammed with interesting facts, it concentrates on the personality of the queen ... good introduction to the history of the reign ...
Brenda Dobson
Aug 09, 2014 Brenda Dobson rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book - couldn't put it down - highly recommend it!
Sandra Abbott
Sandra Abbott rated it it was ok
May 01, 2014
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Matthew Dennison is the author of five critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, including Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West, a Book of the Year in The Times, Spectator, Independent and Observer. He is a contributor to Country Life and lives in the United Kingdom.
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