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We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals
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We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  3,036 ratings  ·  292 reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

It was the most influential marriage of the nineteenth century–and one of history’ s most enduring love stories. Traditional biographies tell us that Queen Victoria inherited the throne as a naïve teenager, when the British Empire was at the height of its power, and seemed doomed to find failure as a monarch and misery as a woman until she married
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Paperback, 466 pages
Published November 30th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Chrissie
Any and everybody interested in the Victorian Era should read this book. Actually this time period and all that it stands for should be called the "Albertian Era”! The book explains why. It was so funny. I came to this conclusion and then the author said exactly that. She used the words "Albertian Era"; it is not me that invented the phrase. I feel this is the most important message of the entire book.

People who say they love Victorian literature, they simply have to be interested in the couple
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Susan
We Two has one of those tantalizing subtitles that nonfiction loves to plaster on covers: “Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals.” If Victoria and Albert had consciously considered themselves rivals, this concept for the book would have made for an extremely interesting study of two competing partners ruling the most powerful nation of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately for author Gillian Gill, Albert and Victoria seem to have left nothing in the way of their own writing or in others’ ...more
Maya Ganguly
So, I finished this a few months back and read this in conjunction with another biography on Albert (Stanley Wientrab's Uncrowned King). I found this book more compelling to read, but totally biased against Albert. Gillian Gill makes a lot of conclusions about Albert and his personality that I didn't quite sit well with me, for example, at one point she makes a statement about Albert being antisemitic, but doesn't back this up, and ignores the fact that Prince Albert was supporter/friend of the ...more
Candace
Gillian Gill's "We Two" is an excellent history that, yes, sorry for the cliche, reads like fiction. There's a lot of interesting stuff to learn from this book. I had always wondered how princes and princesses from these tiny German duchies ended up marrying into nearly all the royal houses of Europe and the answer is easy--there were a lot of them! Since royals can only marry royals, preunited Germany offered lots of royalty even if they were from teeny debt-ridden countries. Who cared if the p ...more
Trina
I put this biography on hold after watching the movie, Young Victoria. It was a delightful movie and I wanted to get a sense of how real it really was. I found that by doing so, I stumbled upon a delightful biography in its own right. While obviously nonfiction, it flows and captivates as if it were fiction. It feels similar to historical fiction in that these characters connect so many parts of history that I've read or known about from other sources such as the Great Exhibition of 1851 (this w ...more
Alanna
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written, well researched, and fascinating to read. The only reason I didn't give it the full five stars was just because I was slightly sad to see how difficult Victoria and Albert's marriage was (which really isn't the author's fault, but it still left a shadow on my reading!). While their marriage was very happy and successful, both had their fair share of disappointments-- Victoria hated and feared being pregnant, which is pretty awful considering s ...more
Alicia
This was another book that I picked up 100% based on the cover. Something about the title in italics and being able to see it across the room. It was purely visual. But after reading the inside cover I was interested enough to check it out. And then after the first few pages I was hooked.

I totally thought this would be another "Seabiscuit" like "Woman and the Sea" was. Like full of drama and intrigue and royal politics. It was less Woman and the Sea and more "A&E Biography". But still it was
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Julia Reed
A must read for those that are fans of the Victorian era. I had to do this one in chunks because it can be very dense, but I was glad that I read it. People usually fawn all over themselves about how in love Victoria and Albert were, how he was satisfied to let her rule while being the perfect royal consort. What you probably don't realize is that the British hated Albert to their bones and while the pair were very much in love, Albert was always uncomfortable with his consort role, and sought t ...more
Heather
I think that perhaps I should have read a biography of Victoria by herself before getting into a dual biography of Victoria and Albert. I am much more interested in Victoria; Albert's narcissism and contempt for the female sex was very frustrating, and made more so because Victoria worshiped Albert and joyfully subjugated herself to him. It was hard to reconcile Albert's bad qualities with his love of family, work ethic, and progressive ideals. However, it seems that as long as he was completely ...more
Tim
A great historical exploration of the fascinating relationship between Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort Albert. A must-read for historical readers who like royalty.

Details: Gill explores the long and complex lives of Victoria and Albert. This is a comprehensive review of their relationship starting from their first brief meetings and how their courtship was supported by influential family members. We learn how their marriage altered over time and feel Victoria's sadness when Albert dies.

Thi
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V.r. Christensen
This is truly one of the best non fiction books I've ever read. Granted, I'm particularly infatuated with the Victorian era, but I was pleasantly surprised in this to find it both accessible and concise. Much background history is discussed, which might ordinarily bog down the narrative, but in this case it is all presented in the clearest and most insightful of ways. That Victoria was fated for the throne is perhaps evidenced by the complexity of circumstances that surround her history and upbr ...more
Sarah
We are so utterly amused. This book is just really delightful (there are two colons in the title; how can it go wrong?). For a couple of days I stalked around the house deeply, even maritally, irritated at Prince Albert. Best part: Victoria hates being pregnant but JUST CAN'T STOP boffing the prince.
Kimberly
I really enjoyed this biography, although I must admit, I tend to love all things related to England's royal past. Gill does a fabulous job discussing the unlikely love story of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort. Although she seems inclined to favor Victoria when discussing the nature of their relationship, Gill does an admirable job discussing the childhood experiences which may have shaped the misogynist leanings of Albert. As well, Gill explores the childhood experiences of Victoria, ...more
Fergie
With the rich, long history of England, an author has a wealth of potential subjects from which to choose. Every modern day student of history certainly knows of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert so Gilligan Gill was quite right in choosing these royals if she wished to ensure at least some prior knowledge and interest of her subjects. What Gill was successful in securing was an ongoing interest through her ample use of interesting facts and details of Victoria and Albert, the German prince conso ...more
Camilla

This book is a very good introduction to the lives of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert. It is detailed without being oppressive, entertaining while still being informative, and well-researched in addition to being well-written. Pictures and handy family trees scattered through the chapters help the reader understand Gill's points while the informative end notes are an un-looked for but gratifying treat.



My only criticism is that a double biography such as this often has trouble deci

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Lady Knight
Jun 22, 2012 Lady Knight rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lady Knight by: The History Chicks (Podcast -- Queen Victoria parts 1 and 2)
I came across this one when The History Chicks (which as a side note is a fantastic podcast... it's pretty much girl talk about the life of a well known historical figure!) did a two-part podcast on Queen Victoria. They highly recommended the book and since I enjoy their podcast so much, I figured I would give it a try. I hate to admit it, but I didn't enjoy this one too much.

I wasn't too keen on how much explanation and emphasis was placed on the fact that Albert really only ever enjoyed male c
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Jill Hutchinson
I bought this book somewhat on a whim but also because I thought it might give more insight into the lives of Victoria and Albert. I was not disappointed. This is a dissection of their lives, both personal and "professional" with even a little of their sex life tastefully thrown in. A marriage made in heaven?....probably not........but certainly one that was much happier than that of any other monarchs before or since. The book covers the early life of both individuals which gives the reader a b ...more
Brittany
I just finished this book about 40 pages before I expected to, and I'm a little cranky with Gillian Gill. I did enjoy the book (quite a lot, in fact), but I kept wishing there were footnotes. Gill kept asserting facts--usually about people's feelings or thoughts--without backing up how she knew them. If only I had known that there are pages and pages and pages of endnotes explaining exactly that. Perhaps this is my fault, too. I suppose I should have checked the back of the book, but the possibi ...more
Eva
Most of this book was extremely fascinating as Gillian Gill describes the conditions of Victoria's early life, her relationship to her mother, and her family life as an adult. The great romance between Victoria and Albert worked because they both worked at it. All was not sweetness and light in the family home, but when they disagreed or struggled over power, they made sacrifices for the other.

I was unaware how hard Albert struggled to become King in everything but name and how hard he worked t
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Lynne-marie
Although a well-written biography, the author seemed to make a point of keeping the reader at odds with his subjects. Partly that was becase there were two of them and a triangle is always a bit difficult. What I did like about the book was seeing the push and pull of the personal lives of Victoria and Albert and how she sank into motherhood and Albert's idea of home and family only to appear in all her unopposed glory at his death, with no reference at all to what he would have liked. We tend t ...more
Lev Raphael
If you saw and loved "Young Victoria," you must read this book which is a terrific story of two very complex and demanding people brought together in a wild cauldron of family craziness, politics, and social change. I read it one weekend in a state of utter enchantment for its style, its insights, its range. I won't read a book for "story' or "information" any more--it has to have everything going for it, no matter what the genre. You'll never see Victoria or Victorian England in quite the same ...more
Victoria Welch
After seeing "The Young Victoria" (highly recommended) over the holidays, I realized how little I actually knew about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Given the way both this film and the BBC miniseries I'd seen a few years ago played up their romance, I thought their courtship and marriage worth examining. "We Two" strips away a bit of the rose-colored lenses, instead focusing on an imperfect pair of people in an intense - and, yes - loving relationship. The imperfections is what makes these p ...more
Marilyn Beyer
2 1/2 stars --

The book is a joint biography of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, her husband whom she deeply loved. The writing is dry and academic, drones on at times, void of wit and not cleverly done. Some topical format jumped forward and back in time, so a timeline would have been helpful. (Other charts are included in the book.)


The author drew largely on letters and prolific journals the Queen wrote before Albert's premature death from typhoid in 1861, applauding his chief contributions as
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C.
Good book. Very gossipy and fun. Some historic inaccuracies. Takes a few liberties. Did NOT like the family tree placements throughout the book. If one is a first time Victoria/Albert reader they would be lost, as far as whose related to who. Excellent note section. Was compelled to order two books from based on Gill’s note section. Gillian Gill, please write a book on Alexander II.
Abby
I highly recommend We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals to anyone interested in Queen Victoria, the Victorian Age, European royalty or 19th century British/European history. I really like Gillian Gill writing and even though the book was packed with facts, it was easy to read (unlike other history books I have read in the past).
Dorothy
Perhaps the period from 1837 to 1901 should be referred to as the 'Albertine' era rather than Victorian. What is most edifying in this impeccably researched twin biography is the manner in which Victoria was subsumed by Albert. Simply fascinating. In many respects Albert was much more interesting and his actions had greater ramifications than his little wifey for whom an era is named.

He was a prig. Quite misogynist. A Germanic chauvinist. Tireless worker with great commitment to his causes. A mo
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Lisa
This lengthy biography of Queen Victoria, her husband Prince Albert, and of their relationship is interesting except in a very few places where it bogs down a bit. I enjoyed learning this history, and the author seems to have the benefit of previous biographers and a twenty-first century outlook while maintaining a professional historian's approach. As with most ebooks, the genealogy charts and maps and such are almost impossibly small--I wish they'd fix that problem. But it's not just this book ...more
Karen
Accessible, readable, enlightening

An accessible account of Albert and Victoria pre-marriage, the family dynamics that led to their marriage, their married life, the ramifications of their lives, and Albert's early death. The author covers the struggle for power between Parliament and the Crown, between Victoria and Albert (especially given the deference wives were expected to give their husbands at the time), and between the different thrones in Europe.

The author explains different personalitie
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Charis
A great history of the entirety of Victoria's childhood and early reign (until Albert's death), and probably a necessary dose of reality for the ideal that Victoria and Albert's marriage was all sunshine and rainbows. It is very much a story of real people with real desires and hurts, influenced by the circumstances that raised them. Very rarely is the curtain lifted to provide the family dynamics and, in the case of a royal family, the national issues that shape their decisions and relationship ...more
Kiri Dawn
An overview of the life of a fascinating couple. this book was marred by the author's modern (and unbiblical) ideas. Her liberal view of sexuality, in particular, taints the way she portrays the characters - implying that Albert must have had homosexual relationships at University since he was able to please Victoria on their wedding night, mocking Albert's views on monogamy, and insisting Victoria must have had flings post-Albert's death. It read as if the author disliked the Prince Consort and ...more
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Gillian Gill, who holds a PhD in modern French literature from Cambridge University, has taught at Northeastern, Wellesley, Yale, and Harvard. She is the author of Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale, Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries, and Mary Baker Eddy. She lives in suburban Boston.
More about Gillian Gill...
Agatha Christie Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale Mary Baker Eddy The Widening World of Childhood

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