Alicia's Reviews > We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals

We Two by Gillian Gill
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it was amazing

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 sooo SOOO interesting.

This book is LOOOONG. And by long I mean that it took me more than 1 day to finish. It took me several. And it's complicated. It's not an easy skim read. And it's very difficult to keep all the people straight because they all name their kids the same things!! Leopold the 1st, 2nd. George III, George IV, Victoria (called Victoria) and Victoria (Called Vicky). So confusing.

But again, I was sucked in. It's so interesting. But maybe that's me. I find English history intriguing. Where the lineage comes from, and where it's going. How they all marry with one another. Albert and Victoria (the main subjects of the book) were first cousins. As in his father was her mother's brother. FULL ON BLOOD RELATED. And it didn't help the kids. Their youngest boy had "hemophilia" a blood disease, and almost all her daughters were carriers of the disease. And then they went out and married Prussians, Germans, Spaniards and Russians and then made THEIR kids sick. DON'T MARRY YOUR COUSINS ANYMORE, YOU CRAZY BRITISH.

But what I really liked was how this was a very good history lesson. A lesson in social aspects of the 1800's, lessons in disease, lessons in male/female/royalty relationships. The author gives a great background on all things. And like I said, you are sucked in.

I haven't talked much about the main story of Albert and Victoria. And that's because I still don't know how I feel about it. Albert was a HUGE misogynist. He was 100% assured that the fact that he was a man made him superior to all women, especially his wife. And yet, he married a woman with ALL the power, and who for the first few years of their marriage wouldn't even let him listen in when she talked to her prime minister or read letters that she wrote to parliament. But then she would defer to him and say he was her husband and leader and he was always right and beg his forgiveness when they fought.

I'm telling you, their relationship was so weird. Just weird. I don't know how to describe it. But there was love. Always love. I will say that. They loved each other passionately, completely and till the end. While the "Victorian" era gets its name from the Queen this book is about, in truth, Albert has lots to do with instituting and implementing the values that Victorians prized. i.e. frugality, chastity, morality, family. He was the one that cleaned up the castles from the stink and grime in the people and in the atmosphere.

Did you know he came to his wedding bed a virgin (UNHEARD OF for a prince in the 1840's)) and hence made sure that his wife didn't get a venereal disease and became barren. She thanked him for his virtue by giving him 9 kids (4 of them boys, which you know are WAY better than girls. Boys are like flesh and blood gold to monarchs) And those 9 kids came in like 17 years. In her first year of marriage she gave birth TWICE! That woman was a factory. Poor girl.

Ok, this is a long review. I wanted you all to know that I really REALLY liked this book. Make sure you dedicate several days to it. It's so interesting. But I'm still not sure how I feel about Victoria and Albert. . .I'll let you know if I make up my mind.
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Reading Progress

October 6, 2009 – Shelved
October 12, 2009 –
page 140
30.43% "Awesome! I can hardly put it down"
Started Reading
October 14, 2009 –
page 140
October 14, 2009 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Kara (new)

Kara L. Nice review. FYI, the hemophilia did not come about due to their being cousins... it was due to a spontaneous mutation passed from Victoria's parents to her. It might have been due to her father's age when she was conceived.

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