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Victoria: Portrait of a Queen

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  420 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Catherine Reef brings history vividly to life in this sumptuously illustrated account of a confident, strong-minded, and influential woman.

Victoria woke one morning at the age of eighteen to discover that her uncle had died and she was now queen. She went on to rule for sixty-three years, with an influence so far-reaching that the decades of her reign now bear her name—th
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Clarion Books
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Awesome awesome reading about Queen Victoria (though brief). I'm totally obsessed with her and can't wait to learn more once I start living in London this year.
Victoria Portrait of a Queen is a comprehensive introduction to the life of Queen Victoria written for young adults. It would also appeal to adults who want to learn more about Victoria and the times in which she lived.

Author Catherine Reef includes many photos and drawings of the Queen and her family, as well as some of the people who were close to Victoria over her long reign. Reef draws her information from letters, news articles, diary entries and much more. In addition to being an interesti
For teens who love The Crown on Netflix, this short biography takes readers back further in British history to the Victorian era. Beautifully illustrated in print, it's a quick and compelling listen as an audiobook available on Hoopla.
First sentence: If another princess had not died tragically and young, Victoria never would have been born.

Premise/plot: Catherine Reef has written a lovely biography of Queen Victoria. Readers hoping to learn more about Victoria, her personal and public life--what she was like as a Sovereign, a wife, a mother, a grandmother--will likely not be disappointed. The book isn't exclusively about Queen Victoria; it is also about the times in which she lived: the industrial revolution, the (much-needed
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, ya
Well-balanced and visually appealing.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
That was a really good biography. I was actually very hooked, and I stayed up pretty late reading it. I don't really know anything about Queen Victoria, and I didn't plan on knowing much about her, but I saw this at the library, and I just got it randomly. And I'm really glad that I got it. It has a gorgeous design, both inside and out, and the pictures are so lush and bright, and I felt like they really added to the story, and helped put the full picture in my mind. The whole package of the boo ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I randomly picked this up in the YA non-fiction section of the library because I need to read more non-fiction. And I definitely learned a lot from this book. I’ve watched a little bit of the show, Victoria, on PBS, and really liked it, and this book was really good too.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was very brief, but I still wanted more from it. It focuses on Victoria’s relationships with the people around her, but not on her actual reign or the events during it.

The narration was great though! 5/5 for that.
Klaudia Janek
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libres
This is a very timely book to add to your school library collection. Catherine Reef has written many biographies for younger readers and this one about Queen Victoria does not disappoint. Typical of any biography, it talks about her childhood, living in a palace, ascending to the throne at 18, her coronation, wedding, politics and national decisions, her family life and her love for her husband. The text is engaging and it reads like a story.
The book itself is gorgeous. From the beautiful cover
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, biography
I spotted this lovely book at my library and couldn't resist borrowing it despite the size of my TBR stack. Its full of interesting art and photos, and honestly I thought I'd just browse the pictures, but I found myself drawn into reading it. Its written for young adults and though I've read several books on Queen Victoria, I still find out something new about her in each one. For instance, I'd never heard any mention of Victoria's terrible fashion sense before. When Victoria and Albert visited ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Victoria's reign was so long and encompassed a period of such tremendous change and pivotal events that writing about her in a comprehensive way for young people is not an easy task!

Reef does an really outstanding job of providing not only a fascinating look at this strong willed individual but also provides a readable but comprehensive account of the period, the culture, the historical events and their roots and the long-reaching impact for readers who probably have little to no background know
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've developed a great appreciation for the biographies written by Catherine Reef. Not only is the research amazingly complete, but the book designs are fabulous. This book is truly beautifully designed in terms of book art, photographs and paintings chosen to highlight the text and the fonts used. But beyond that is the text. Reef really knows how to tell a story. Her subject truly comes alive in this book as the reader follows her from an unhappy childhood into a sixty-year long life as queen. ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Very enjoyable to listen to. I enjoyed the quotes taken from the writings of the people actually involved in the events. It was a very brief look at Queen Victoria’s whole life and left me wanting more information about what came before and after her.

I felt this book didn’t do a very good job of helping me understand what about Victoria’s reign made her so influential or so loved. I felt the author’s explanation was simply that Victoria reigned for a long time and a lot of changes happened in t
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
An excellent biography of Queen Victoria, from birth to death (and that was a long life she lived!). Clearly explains British politics and royal culture, and is lavishly illustrated with black and white and color reproductions of contemporary paintings, political cartoons, some early photographs. Explains her prominence in British history, and the illustration captions give further explanations (something I like to see in nonfiction books; I don't see the point of a caption if it's telling me th ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Review cross-posted from reviewer’s personal Goodreads account

Reef, Catherine Victoria : Portrait of a Queen NON FICTION 246 pgs.Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 2017. Content: G.

Reigning for over 60 years, Queen VIctoria was one of England’s longest serving rulers. She ascended to the throne barely old enough to not require a regent, she married young, and had 9 children. So much changed happened during her reign that it is called the Victorian Era. This beautiful biography of Queen V
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A very comprehensive look at the reign of Queen Victoria, without being overly done or wordy. For the top-notch scholar, this book only scratches the surface. But if you've started to watch Masterpiece Theater's Victoria, or love all things British royalty, it's a nice compliment to her history.

While the book is about the size of a text book, it didn't feel like it was written that way. The pictures are probably what I loved the most. Clearly the Victorian Age in history is traced to the reign o
Melissa Mcavoy
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now I know a lot more about Queen Victoria. Well written and well researched and remarkably even- handed and neutral in its treatment. I don’t feel exactly about the book as I do (now) about Queen Victoria, but it’s pretty close: Grudging admiration and a sense that with a bit more spark things could have been remarkable.

I give the book great credit in that I believe I have a very balanced picture. She was clearly a devoted individual, utterly exasperating and remarkably peculiar in an ordinary
Jennifer (Teen Librarian) Beiermann
I am not usually a fame of nonfiction. It’s just not my thing. But I have to admit, I did enjoy this book. The author made Queen Victoria come to life for me. I enjoyed reading about her love story with Prince Edward, her family life, and even the ups and downs of her leadership.

I think the topic of British royalty will appeal to some teens, especially with the recent engagement of Prince Harry. I found it interesting to read about the people who are the namesake of some of the current royalty
What a fabulous biography of Queen Victoria of the Victorian Age. Truly focused on her and her family, it does give you basics about those that she reigned over yet not the glimpse of "Victorian life" that one would hope-- and that's fine. Understanding her ways, who she was close and connected with, the wishes/hopes/dreams/futures of her children, her relationship with her husband, her long reign itself tells so much.

And it doesn't help that I'm also watching the PBS Victoria series currently!

This was a fascinating book to listen to. I hadn't known very much about Queen Victoria beyond the Victorian age of Literature. So this was a great book to read/listen too and learn more about her. I would label this book as YA because it has such a heavy emphasis on Queen Victoria at a young age and as she grows up. This book explores the issues and choices that the Queen had to make and humanizes her. I think it is so easy to distance ourselves from the past and
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reigning for over 60 years, Queen VIctoria was one of England’s longest serving rulers. She ascended to the throne barely old enough to not require a regent, she married young, and had 9 children. So much changed happened during her reign that it is called the Victorian Era. This beautiful biography of Queen Victoria is accompanied by paintings and photographs from the period. Well told without getting too personal or political, this is a perfect text for a young reader. Also contains a full lis ...more
Kay Carman
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This young adult biography is just right for an overview of Victoria's life since curiosity about the monarch has been piqued by the current PBS series starring Jenna Coleman.

Turns out, and shouldn't be surprisingly, but disappointingly is, that Coleman's charming character isn't a lot like the actual queen who reigned for over sixty years. Gratifying to see, however, that many of the situations and plot twists shown in the series are based on historical events.

I am disappointed that more is no
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I understand this is YA, but I still expected more detail and better-sourced research. In particular, I wanted to see more quotes and first-hand accounts. Each incident in Victoria's life seems to get a mere paragraph or two, as if a scandal or an attempted assassination really isn't that big of deal and doesn't warrant more attention. I felt like I didn't know what each moment meant in the life of Victoria, as the author provided little context. Quoting Victoria's diary a little more would have ...more
Penny Peck
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-ya
This in-depth biography of Victoria is perfect for tween and teen fans of the PBS series about young Victoria and Prince Albert; it describes her positive and negative attributes during her long reign. It has many photos and reproductions of period artwork, newspaper illustrations, and other matter (but no map). There is also an index, family tree, source notes, and other helpful back matter. The reader gets a clear portrait of this self-made woman who was not formally educated but had good inst ...more
Andria Morningstar-Gray
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love history, and queens and kings are fascinating. Queen Victoria does not disappoint. She certainly wasn't perfect, but she was a strong leader for years and years. I really enjoyed reading how a girl becomes the monarch and how the personal queen compared to the very public ruler. It was interesting to see how things worked in the past as well as within a royal system. I loved this book. It sat on my night stand, and I read leisurely whenever I had a few minutes here or there. The pictures ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've always found the story of Queen Victoria, and life in Victorian England, to be rather fascinating. What I found particular enjoyable about this book documenting her life was that the author did not attempt to portray only the positives about Queen Victoria. This book chronicles the ups and downs that Queen Victoria faced during her many years as Queen (including the loss of her beloved husband and several of her children). It is easy to read and includes plenty of references to other curren ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This short biography of Queen Victoria is geared to young adult readers. Most of the book focuses on Victoria's childhood and the early years of her reign. Reef paints a convincing picture of an all too human monarch. You learn more about the queen's lack of fashion sense, love of gossip, child-rearing practices, and personal difficulties with her prime ministers than about the great events and policies of her long reign. This book is a manageable introduction to a queen who reigned for many yea ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had known bits and pieces about Victoria's life from movies and other stories (but not, yet, from the PBS/BBC series!), so it was good to read an actual biography about her. Since it's written for kids, it focused on hitting the highlights, and I can see wanting to read a more in-depth biography at some point...but now I at least know the highlights! The author kept the reader's interest (and I've read many biographies that bog down, so that's no mean feat), and the use of pictures and photogr ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Absolutely everyone knows about Queen Victoria. My 4th grade granddaughter was doing a report on her, and I realized I wanted to know more about her myself so I picked up this very interesting book. This book for young adults is a readable and enlightening biography! Here are some fascinating facts about her. She reigned for 66 years from 1819-1901, as a fair, capable, confident, strong-minded and intriguing monarch. She loved her husband and had 9 children! Victoria was queen during an era that ...more
Sharon Lawler
A book about Queen Victoria can be extensive given the length of her rule, the historically imminent Prime Ministers in her life, and number of children she deposited into the royal lines of Europe. At 238 pages, Reef's book, illustrated with oil printings, photographs, and sketches, offers a starting point for anyone studying the Victorian period.
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Catherine Reef is the author of more than 35 nonfiction books for young people. Her books for Clarion include the highly acclaimed JOHN STEINBECK and SIGMUND FREUD, which was the recipient of the 2002 Sydney Taylor Award, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries. She lives in College Park, Maryland.

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