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To the world, she was Princess Victoria, daughter of a queen, wife of an emperor, and mother of Kaiser Wilhelm. Her family just called her Vicky…smart, pretty, and self-assured, she changed the course of the world. Young Vicky imagines she'll inherit the throne of England. Why not? She's the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and her little brother Bertie is To the world, she was Princess Victoria, daughter of a queen, wife of an emperor, and mother of Kaiser Wilhelm. Her family just called her Vicky…smart, pretty, and self-assured, she changed the course of the world. Young Vicky imagines she'll inherit the throne of England. Why not? She's the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and her little brother Bertie is sweet but lazy - she'll make a far better heir. When her father tells her that males will always take precedence, the precocious princess sets her sights on marrying a powerful prince who will also be the love of her life. January 1858: Vicky glides down the aisle of St. James Chapel into the waiting arms of her beloved, Prince Frederich, heir to the kingdom of Prussia. Vicky is determined they will lead by example, just as her parents had done, while bringing about a liberal, united Germany. Brought up to believe in herself, Vicky struggles in the narrow-minded Prussian court, where her status as Queen Victoria's daughter fuels the resentment she faces as an outsider. Frowned upon by her in-laws and criticized in the press, each day she seems to take a wrong step. But handsome Fritz is always by her side as they navigate court intrigue and challenge the cunning Chancellor Otto von Bismarck while fighting for principle—and the soul of a nation. At home they endure tragedy, including their son, Wilhelm, rejecting all they stand for. This is the dramatic story of an indomitable English princess, undoubtedly royal and completely human, from her younger years as the apple of her father's eyes, through her rise to power, to the final months of her life.


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To the world, she was Princess Victoria, daughter of a queen, wife of an emperor, and mother of Kaiser Wilhelm. Her family just called her Vicky…smart, pretty, and self-assured, she changed the course of the world. Young Vicky imagines she'll inherit the throne of England. Why not? She's the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and her little brother Bertie is To the world, she was Princess Victoria, daughter of a queen, wife of an emperor, and mother of Kaiser Wilhelm. Her family just called her Vicky…smart, pretty, and self-assured, she changed the course of the world. Young Vicky imagines she'll inherit the throne of England. Why not? She's the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and her little brother Bertie is sweet but lazy - she'll make a far better heir. When her father tells her that males will always take precedence, the precocious princess sets her sights on marrying a powerful prince who will also be the love of her life. January 1858: Vicky glides down the aisle of St. James Chapel into the waiting arms of her beloved, Prince Frederich, heir to the kingdom of Prussia. Vicky is determined they will lead by example, just as her parents had done, while bringing about a liberal, united Germany. Brought up to believe in herself, Vicky struggles in the narrow-minded Prussian court, where her status as Queen Victoria's daughter fuels the resentment she faces as an outsider. Frowned upon by her in-laws and criticized in the press, each day she seems to take a wrong step. But handsome Fritz is always by her side as they navigate court intrigue and challenge the cunning Chancellor Otto von Bismarck while fighting for principle—and the soul of a nation. At home they endure tragedy, including their son, Wilhelm, rejecting all they stand for. This is the dramatic story of an indomitable English princess, undoubtedly royal and completely human, from her younger years as the apple of her father's eyes, through her rise to power, to the final months of her life.

30 review for A Most English Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria's Daughter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    An admirable debut tackling a very complicated time in history. The focus is on Crown Princess Victoria as she grows up, marries a Prussian crown prince and raises her children in the midst of the turmoil surrounding the many German states. I learned so much about Queen Victoria and husband Albert; about the life one leads as an in-law married into royalty; about the Prussian outlook on the world. Vicky was fortunate to have a loving and faithful husband at her side, but the politics was a thorn An admirable debut tackling a very complicated time in history. The focus is on Crown Princess Victoria as she grows up, marries a Prussian crown prince and raises her children in the midst of the turmoil surrounding the many German states. I learned so much about Queen Victoria and husband Albert; about the life one leads as an in-law married into royalty; about the Prussian outlook on the world. Vicky was fortunate to have a loving and faithful husband at her side, but the politics was a thorn in her side. Compared to the nationalistic views many Prussians had, Vicky had learned more liberal and parliamentarian principles at the knee of Prince Albert and believed it was her duty to work for a unification of the German states. As we learn in the beginning, her son would continue the militaristic of his grandfather Wilhelm, the first kaiser. The pacing was a bit slow at times and I would have loved to read more about the interlude when the kaisers first began to rule. All in all, the whole thing was on the long side. I do want to read more about both royal families after finishing this one. Thank you to William Morrow and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Celia Morse

    Queen Victoria's oldest daughter Vicky met her future husband Fritz, the heir to the king of Prussia, when she was nine, became engaged at fifteen, and married him shortly after she turned seventeen. Vicky's father Price Albert supervised her education and she studied history, philosophy, politics, and government and was acquainted with royalty and politicians in England and on the continent to prepare her for her future role of queen consort. She kept up a voluminous correspondence with her fat Queen Victoria's oldest daughter Vicky met her future husband Fritz, the heir to the king of Prussia, when she was nine, became engaged at fifteen, and married him shortly after she turned seventeen. Vicky's father Price Albert supervised her education and she studied history, philosophy, politics, and government and was acquainted with royalty and politicians in England and on the continent to prepare her for her future role of queen consort. She kept up a voluminous correspondence with her father and mother and continued hey liberal education in politics in that way. Vicky gave birth to the future Kaiser Wilhelm when she was 18, and this novel details the formation of his character and the simultaneous formation of a unified Germany. Despite Vicky's best efforts (or possibly because of her strictness and criticisms), Wilhelm expects adulation as his birthright, takes excessive pleasure in victory, and is unable to feel sympathy, gratitude, or compassion. The novel ends at the victory parade following the Franco-Prussian War when Vicky is 30 and Wilhelm is 12, and it is easy to understand how Wilhelm's character, the German national character, and the reparations demanded of France at the end of that war planted the seeds for the first world war. Despite its length this book was a very fast read and an interesting blend of character study and history. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Athena Archeron

    Following the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Princess Victoria, as she marries a Prussian Prince and lives in the court of Berlin in the late Victorian period, this novel had the potential to be excellent. Sadly, that potential was missed. My main issue with this book is that Vicky didn't really do anything. She sat around, cried, had children, complained about her life, and wrote letters to her mother. There were wars brewing around her, and complicated political schemes, Following the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Princess Victoria, as she marries a Prussian Prince and lives in the court of Berlin in the late Victorian period, this novel had the potential to be excellent. Sadly, that potential was missed. My main issue with this book is that Vicky didn't really do anything. She sat around, cried, had children, complained about her life, and wrote letters to her mother. There were wars brewing around her, and complicated political schemes, but she did not really influence any of it. I am not sure if that was the historical figure herself, or rather the author's portrayal of her, but I found Vicky to be childish and lacking tact. Beginning when the princess was 6, she never really grew up, keeping the demeanor of a spoiled child for most of story. Additionally, this book was about 500 pages long, and did not even include Vicky's actual rise to power. Half of the story dragged, and the writing in general was dense. The book ended abruptly, and there was no real climax. I kept hoping things would get more interesting, but they never did. The one thing that saved this book from being a one star is that is was extremely well researched. It was clear from the first chapter that the author knew what she was talking about, though why she chose to write a novel on a princess who accomplished little is beyond me. Considering there are so many more interesting women in history, from Irene of Athens to Harriet Tubman, the author could have definitely chosen a more captivating person to study.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Very detailed historical record for Queen Victoria's firstborn. Good nuance for her (Vicky's) strong self identity and reliable intelligence and strength of solid opinion. Actually more domestic in nature, IMHO, but quite similar to her mother's personality and notable vitality. And at the same time more book smart or language talented. Most of the book is her married years in Prussia, before her widowhood. Much minutia of political moves and 19th century noble mores is 50% of the copy. The more Very detailed historical record for Queen Victoria's firstborn. Good nuance for her (Vicky's) strong self identity and reliable intelligence and strength of solid opinion. Actually more domestic in nature, IMHO, but quite similar to her mother's personality and notable vitality. And at the same time more book smart or language talented. Most of the book is her married years in Prussia, before her widowhood. Much minutia of political moves and 19th century noble mores is 50% of the copy. The more you know of Osbourne and the siblings - the less you may like the density of the masses of information for minor daily exchange in this telling. Just a guess but a good one. Wilhelm, her son, that's the life path and proclivities that were the most "new" material for me here in this novel. And it did give light to his difficult and rather adversarial nature and handicaps. If you know much less re her birth family and first 18 years (less than I did) there are exchanges and relationship connections that may be more a 4 star level for your interest. But not for my own. I've read too much fiction and non-fiction about her Mama and Papa already. Her life all told seems so advantageous and yet incredibly sad at the same time. Infectious disease and general physical problem cures or even proprietary help being nearly nil.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    A MOST ENGLISH PRINCE: A NOVEL OF QUEEN VICTORIA'S DAUGHTER taught me quite a bit about Vicky and her Prussian husband while I enjoyed the read. I can't recall reading anything about her before, but this novel was very interesting. The only thing which I didn't enjoy was the abrupt ending. This is a great novel to read! A MOST ENGLISH PRINCE: A NOVEL OF QUEEN VICTORIA'S DAUGHTER taught me quite a bit about Vicky and her Prussian husband while I enjoyed the read. I can't recall reading anything about her before, but this novel was very interesting. The only thing which I didn't enjoy was the abrupt ending. This is a great novel to read!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Gore

    Thank you to William Morrow Books for this ARC & opportunity to review A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh. This book was very well written and easy to read. I found myself having read it for a couple hours and not noticed how quick the time went by. With that said, it did become rather repetitive and somewhat boring. I felt like the same things kept happening and there was nothing to look forward to. I do realize this book is based on actual people and events and you can’t change history bu Thank you to William Morrow Books for this ARC & opportunity to review A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh. This book was very well written and easy to read. I found myself having read it for a couple hours and not noticed how quick the time went by. With that said, it did become rather repetitive and somewhat boring. I felt like the same things kept happening and there was nothing to look forward to. I do realize this book is based on actual people and events and you can’t change history but it just kind of dragged on for me. I did enjoy the author’s writing style and will most likely read anything she may write in the future.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa - (Aussie Girl)

    An interesting read for those who enjoy historical fiction about less celebrated people of history. Princess Victoria the Princess Royal of Britain, oldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who marries Prince Friedrich of Prussia and becomes Kaiserin of Germany for ninety-nine days. Easy reading, biographical style telling her story through family life and detailing the machinations of the conservative Prussian Court preceding the unification of Germany. A little drawn out in places and An interesting read for those who enjoy historical fiction about less celebrated people of history. Princess Victoria the Princess Royal of Britain, oldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who marries Prince Friedrich of Prussia and becomes Kaiserin of Germany for ninety-nine days. Easy reading, biographical style telling her story through family life and detailing the machinations of the conservative Prussian Court preceding the unification of Germany. A little drawn out in places and finishing in an odd place as Victoria lived another thirty years after the events in this book nevertheless an enjoyable and informative read about a Princess who was so much more than just Queen Victoria's daughter. 3.5 stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I *love* this book. It is historical fiction at its absolute best. But then again, I'm the agent, so... Really just commenting here to share the new title: VICTORIA'S DAUGHTER. You're gonna love it. And hopefully you'll see it everywhere come next fall (September 2020). I *love* this book. It is historical fiction at its absolute best. But then again, I'm the agent, so... Really just commenting here to share the new title: VICTORIA'S DAUGHTER. You're gonna love it. And hopefully you'll see it everywhere come next fall (September 2020).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    3.5 stars rounded up because the author’s grasp of Prussian military history is astounding. I wonder if better cover art would have benefited this book—it’s not simply a “princess story” but a historical account of Germany’s unification and the personalities behind it. I learned so much. Well done.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    My favorite kinds of historical fiction are those that skillfully recreate a past period in a way the lets us time travel but at the same time makes the issues and challenges feel relevant and contemporary. McHugh nails it! A friend gave me this book, luckily, because I never would have thought I had an interest in historical royal politics or princesses. But the story of Vicky, Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, is most definitely worthy! McHugh makes the case that history is indeed at mercy of My favorite kinds of historical fiction are those that skillfully recreate a past period in a way the lets us time travel but at the same time makes the issues and challenges feel relevant and contemporary. McHugh nails it! A friend gave me this book, luckily, because I never would have thought I had an interest in historical royal politics or princesses. But the story of Vicky, Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, is most definitely worthy! McHugh makes the case that history is indeed at mercy of a few powerful leaders, and those who are in their circle. In monarchies, those powerful individuals inherit their role, it is not earned by merit. McHugh delves into the psychological and personal biographical elements that influence the character and his or her personal values. I was captivated by how Vicky's admirable intellect, character, and belief in liberalism were influenced by her father Albert. Yet, when Vicky is in the daunting role of parenting her eldest child, heir to the Hohenzollern dynasty and future German Emperor, (view spoiler)[ we see that despite her best efforts, things go terribly wrong. (hide spoiler)] Vicky's life is fascinating, as she operates with a confidence and vision that feels very modern. She was prepared by her parents to take on the great challenge of influencing the bellicose, authoritarian Prussians to transition to German unification, parlimentary government, liberalism. Who would have thought that 19th Century British/Prussian history has such relevance to our current problems? Trump's character likely also has the deep psychic wounds that Wilhelm II suffered. It has dire consequences for history.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    If you enjoyed Victoria on PBS Masterpiece, you want to read A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh. McHugh focuses on Queen Victoria oldest daughter, who is also named Victoria. This fictional biographic account of her life begins as a young girl and continues throughout her adult years. While focused on the life of Victoria, the lives of her siblings and parents are included. However, the most attention is given to Victoria's relationship with her husband's father and with her son, Kaiser Wil If you enjoyed Victoria on PBS Masterpiece, you want to read A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh. McHugh focuses on Queen Victoria oldest daughter, who is also named Victoria. This fictional biographic account of her life begins as a young girl and continues throughout her adult years. While focused on the life of Victoria, the lives of her siblings and parents are included. However, the most attention is given to Victoria's relationship with her husband's father and with her son, Kaiser Wilhelm II. With the title A Most English Princess, one might think that the book is only for women. While women will definitely enjoy the book, the emphasis is not on romance but on history. Any history buff will enjoy the behind the scenes look at Prussia and the royal families. Reading this book provides much insight into the militarization of Germany and why conditions were set for World War I. McHugh provides just the right mix of an enjoyable story that is well-researched and historically accurate. I received a complementary copy of A Most English Princess from William Morrow Paperbacks via NetGalley. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joy Matteson

    A perfect read for Downton Abbey/The Crown fans, this book struck a difficult balance between difficult English/German 19th century history and fascinating royal characters. Vicky, Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, weds Franz, the Crown Prince of Prussia, and inherits a whole host of difficult European problems with anti-British sentiments that eventually plants the seeds for animosity during World War I. Vicky was a courageous heroine to read about; I immediately needed to Wikipedia her, Franz, A perfect read for Downton Abbey/The Crown fans, this book struck a difficult balance between difficult English/German 19th century history and fascinating royal characters. Vicky, Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, weds Franz, the Crown Prince of Prussia, and inherits a whole host of difficult European problems with anti-British sentiments that eventually plants the seeds for animosity during World War I. Vicky was a courageous heroine to read about; I immediately needed to Wikipedia her, Franz, and their firstborn son (the infamous Kaiser Wilhelm of WWI fame). Good stuff for fiction British royalty fans fresh off their latest "The Crown" viewings.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda McCutcheon

    Crown Princess Victoria marries the Prussian Crown Prince Frederick (a.k.a Fritz) and they should have lived happily ever after but politics gets in the way. A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh is an apt title and apt historical fiction novel about the life of England's Queen Victoria's daughter Vicky. The princess was blessed with parents who taught her about the importance of leadership with a kind and fair hand. They both have very liberal views that they try to pass on to their children I Crown Princess Victoria marries the Prussian Crown Prince Frederick (a.k.a Fritz) and they should have lived happily ever after but politics gets in the way. A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh is an apt title and apt historical fiction novel about the life of England's Queen Victoria's daughter Vicky. The princess was blessed with parents who taught her about the importance of leadership with a kind and fair hand. They both have very liberal views that they try to pass on to their children It is this background that heightens the irony that the princess gives birth and raises Wilhelm who will become the first Kaiser of a unified Germany and the pinnacle of WWI. Besides the politics of it all, Vicky and Fritz do raise a family while fighting for their enlighten views of democracy. Like her parents she has a once in a life time love with her prince and their relationship is definitely goal worthy. One of the aspects of this book that I became obsessed with was all the illnesses and medical remedies for them. So many within the royal household had all manor of diseases from gastric to nerves. The cures ranged from spices to a contraption built with the help of the best horse leather saddle manufacturer to hold up the head of a child! This book is meticulously researched using actual letters between the princess and her royal parents. Some of the political history went over my head but I got the jist of it. For fans of royals, politics, history and love this is a very enjoyable book. I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via a Goodreads win. All opinions are my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    2.5 Stars A fictional account of the life of Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria, and mother to Kaiser Wilhelm. This book takes you though her childhood until 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War. (Victoria lived for about 19 years after the events in the book.) While I didn't really enjoy the way the story was told, all of the characters seemed very interesting and I imagine I will read more about them in the future. The book had a way of making Princess Victoria always someone else's p 2.5 Stars A fictional account of the life of Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria, and mother to Kaiser Wilhelm. This book takes you though her childhood until 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War. (Victoria lived for about 19 years after the events in the book.) While I didn't really enjoy the way the story was told, all of the characters seemed very interesting and I imagine I will read more about them in the future. The book had a way of making Princess Victoria always someone else's person (daughter, wife, mother) and never actually herself (as evidenced even in the title of the book). She was written it seemed almost as a 21st century girl with independence, forward thinking ideas, and behaviors while still being held to the standards of the time (having to ask the King's permission to visit her family after even the death of her father). Maybe she was ahead of her time, but the way it was executed, I kept feeling removed from the story when her personality clashed with the events around her. Another issue I had that kept pulling me from the story were the miniature time jumps. The author would be moving right along about one thing or another and then jump ahead for a paragraph or two telling you how this even would affect things 2 or 5 years (or more) in the future. I kept wondering, "Why do I need to know that now as opposed to when that event actually happens?" I think theses issues combined led me into a small reading slump. I normally read a book in a few days to a week where as this book took me nearly the whole of September to get though and put all my other reading plans behind, which was quite frustrating. All that being said, I did like the characters and if nothing else this book has piqued my interest in learning more about them in a more non-fiction capacity. I think the relationship between Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick William of Prussia was sweet and unusual for their time being that they were royals and wed still for love. I am very interested to know if that was actually the case or just the author romanticizing the couple. I am curious to know where her children wound up in life given that Princess Victoria seemed so intent on instill them with an education and a moral attitude. I would recommend to very big fans of historical fiction based on actual events, those just wanting to get a small feel for this time period in Prussia/Germany, or people interested in fictional accounts of royalty. * I received this book via NetGalley for an honest review *

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    Wonderfully written historical novel. The writer explores the personal and political issues of that time in very clear detail giving the reader tremendous insight of the characters thoughts, feelings and activities of that time in history. A very, very good read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan Collins

    A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh added tremendously to my love of Victorian England history. Vicky’s parents played such prominent roles in her personality development. Mama (Victoria) influenced her to be a strong, independent woman. Papa (Albert) encouraged her to be a thinker, scholar, and conversationalist. Vicky applied all of this to her relationship with her husband Friz and his connections to the Royal Family of Prussia. The Princess’s story revealed details about the House of Win A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh added tremendously to my love of Victorian England history. Vicky’s parents played such prominent roles in her personality development. Mama (Victoria) influenced her to be a strong, independent woman. Papa (Albert) encouraged her to be a thinker, scholar, and conversationalist. Vicky applied all of this to her relationship with her husband Friz and his connections to the Royal Family of Prussia. The Princess’s story revealed details about the House of Windsor in England and the development of the unified country of Germany. I particularly liked the parts about Victoria’s children and Vicky’s children, centering on her relationship with her eldest son. McHugh did a wonderful job creating this portrayal of Victoria, English Princess Royal and Prussian Princess. I feel so fortunate to have received this early edition.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Truly not your average princess novel, A Most English Princess is a fascinating read about the lesser-known life of Queen Victoria’s eldest child, Vicky. A woman who genuinely wanted to serve her people but could not hold the British crown simply due to her sex, Vicky is a character who I am surprised has not been written about before. McHugh’s novel oozes with well-researched Prussian history that, for a history layman such as myself, was a delight to learn about in such a palatable way. The st Truly not your average princess novel, A Most English Princess is a fascinating read about the lesser-known life of Queen Victoria’s eldest child, Vicky. A woman who genuinely wanted to serve her people but could not hold the British crown simply due to her sex, Vicky is a character who I am surprised has not been written about before. McHugh’s novel oozes with well-researched Prussian history that, for a history layman such as myself, was a delight to learn about in such a palatable way. The story explores themes of patriotism, motherhood, love, and sexism as Vicky matures from the Princess Royal of England into the Crown Princess of Prussia. There certainly is some escapism to be found in the marvelous party scenes at Versailles or the triumphant descriptions of the Great Exhibition of 1851, but the book stays relevant to modern issues in its exploration of gender roles and power-hungry villains. I highly recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction and especially to those who are interested in the behind-the-scenes of royal life in Europe during the 19th century.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jean Benedict

    This was a great read.Lots of history and a nice story of the romance of Vicky the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Vicky meets Prince Fritz heir of the German country of Prussia while a young child.Later on when they are older they meet again and fall in love.They get married and Vicky moves to Prussia and struggles to live in a country that is not liberal like England.Vicky and frequently gets in trouble stating how she thinks the country should be run.Her husband Fritz sta This was a great read.Lots of history and a nice story of the romance of Vicky the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Vicky meets Prince Fritz heir of the German country of Prussia while a young child.Later on when they are older they meet again and fall in love.They get married and Vicky moves to Prussia and struggles to live in a country that is not liberal like England.Vicky and frequently gets in trouble stating how she thinks the country should be run.Her husband Fritz stands by Vicky all through the years and they raise a large family through many difficult times. I won this book from a goodreads giveaway and truly Avery enjoyable read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I received an advance Kindle copy of this book from Netgalley for a fair and honest review. Clare McHugh’s debut novel, A Most English Princess, will add to a very sparse collection of historical fiction books featuring Victoria, the Princess Royal of England. Vicky, as she is most often referred as, is the first born child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She would ultimately marry Fritz, heir to the Prussian Empire and later become the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This well-researched offe I received an advance Kindle copy of this book from Netgalley for a fair and honest review. Clare McHugh’s debut novel, A Most English Princess, will add to a very sparse collection of historical fiction books featuring Victoria, the Princess Royal of England. Vicky, as she is most often referred as, is the first born child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She would ultimately marry Fritz, heir to the Prussian Empire and later become the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This well-researched offering is brimming with details of Vicky’s life from her English childhood education directed by her father, to her marriage and move to Prussia at age seventeen, to raising her family of eight with Fritz, to German unification in 1871. Through each stage of her life the reader inspects her educated responses to patriotism, marriage, gender roles required of her, and her lack of sufficient power in this male dominated society to be a positive influence in world events. How different Germany’s future would have been if she and Fritz were allowed to participate more positively throughout the years. Once again a book has piqued my interest in a period I knew little about. The “Cast of Characters” at the beginning of the book, both in England and in Prussia, was most helpful as the information helped me quickly understand the many relationships between the major participants. I was especially inspired to research the events between June, 1871, and the epilogue dated November, 1940 as this chronicle needs a sequel! A Most English Princess most definitely deserves five stars!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    A Most English Princess is a wonderfully written and incredibly in-depth imagining of the life of Victoria, Princess Royal, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It is very much in the vein of the BBC/PBS show Victoria in that it follows Vicky through important events in her life and in the world around her and does so in a very humanizing way. We get to see these events through her eyes. There is so much written about Queen Victoria that is refreshing to explore the life of some A Most English Princess is a wonderfully written and incredibly in-depth imagining of the life of Victoria, Princess Royal, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It is very much in the vein of the BBC/PBS show Victoria in that it follows Vicky through important events in her life and in the world around her and does so in a very humanizing way. We get to see these events through her eyes. There is so much written about Queen Victoria that is refreshing to explore the life of someone else around her. We follow Vicky but by virtue of her relationship with her parents we get a unique view of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as well. This book feels incredibly well researched and I imagine the massive quantity of surviving letters between Vicky and her mother were invaluable in this regard. In fact, these letters themselves serve as the frame narrative to the story. I highly recommend this to fans of Victorian historical fiction especially, but also to anyone who just enjoys well researched and immersive historical fiction, no matter the era. I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joi Lin

    I wish I had read this book back when I was in high school and struggling with AP European History! Technically this is a novel, but it is based in fact. Reading the story of Queen Victoria's oldest child, Princess Vicky, and her life as the wife of Crown Prince Fritz of Prussia (later Kaiser Frederick III) helped this American understand so many things about Europe better: why there are/were so many German princes and dukes, just where Prussia is/was, where Bavaria is/was, the conflicts that le I wish I had read this book back when I was in high school and struggling with AP European History! Technically this is a novel, but it is based in fact. Reading the story of Queen Victoria's oldest child, Princess Vicky, and her life as the wife of Crown Prince Fritz of Prussia (later Kaiser Frederick III) helped this American understand so many things about Europe better: why there are/were so many German princes and dukes, just where Prussia is/was, where Bavaria is/was, the conflicts that led to the Franco-Prussian War that led to WWI that led to WWII, and Otto Von Bismark's role in all of it - even what it means to have a "von" in the middle of your name! It also showed Vicky's impact on many of these things through her husband and her eldest son, Kaiser Wilhelm II. The book did start out kind of slow, with Vicky's childhood as the daughter of Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, one of the countries/prefectures that later united under Prussia to become Germany. The book paints the relationship between Vicky and her father as very close - she, her father's favorite of all his and the Queen's children; her father, meanwhile, could do no wrong in Vicky's eyes, setting perhaps an impossible standard for all other men to meet. The Queen, though, is portrayed as being a remote and self-centered mother. Once Vicky marries and moves to Prussia with her husband (known as Fritz), I found the book much more compelling. She and Fritz had a true love match, just like her parents, Victoria and Albert. However, Vicky was a bit of a scholar and had ambitions to make Prussia/Germany more like England in terms of the populace having representation in parliament, voting rights, etc. And since she did not have complete control of the country as her mother did of England, her road was much more rocky. Since she so adored and admired her father, she wanted to emulate him in terms of continuous study and keeping busy with enriching projects. She saw her role as that of continuous improvement of herself and her adopted country of Prussia, and abhorred gossip or just sitting around, which many of the then royals seemed to want her to do. She did not want to be just another pretty face! On top of this, her first child, Wilhelm (eventually Kaiser Wilhelm II), was born with a disability. I also have a child with a disability, and all of the parts that discussed her worries about him really hit home with me. By all accounts, the role that a united Germany played in Europe after the Franco-Prussian war was somewhat precarious, since it sat between two former enemies, with France on one side and Russia on the other. It was held together by the strength and cunning of Otto von Bismark, who, himself, needed to be held in check by a strong leader. The book tries to make the point that because Vicky was busy worrying about Wilhelm's weaknesses, she perhaps didn't encourage his strengths to the point where - once he became Kaiser - he could cope with the delicate balance that Bismark orchestrated. Once it fell, the domino effect then started WWI which then started WWII, and so on. I do think it's extreme, however, to blame "cold mothering," for lack of a better term, for WWII, which seems to be the inference of the author. All in all, I really enjoyed this look into history from a personal viewpoint and from a mother's viewpoint. Obviously, since this is a novel, conversations and feelings, etc., are imagined or made up entirely - but the tone of them "feels" real, and you feel like you are in the palace or the carriage or on the train or at the banquets, etc., with the characters, rather than reading out of a textbook. Perhaps history classes could take heed and incorporate approaches that included more reading like this, hmm? I also really liked that there were several words in this book that I actually had to stop and look up the meaning of in a dictionary! I read about a book a week, along with multiple periodicals/articles, and my reading tastes stray widely across many levels and topics, and I write every day. I also have a Master's Degree - and I include that only to let you, as a future reader, know what my experience level with the written word is. This book was not difficult to read in terms of being way over my head, but the fact that it included words I did not know surprised and delighted me. I always like to increase my vocabulary!! So, if you want to increase your knowledge of the political atmosphere in Europe surrounding the Franco-Prussian War, WWI, and WWII; the formation of modern Germany and what led up to it; AND learn about the early life of Queen Victoria's oldest daughter, all while increasing your vocabulary and getting a glimpse into what it's like to be the mother of a child with a disability, I would definitely recommend this book!! Thank you to the author and the publisher for a free Advanced Reader's Copy and the opportunity to read and review it. All opinions in this review are my own and offered independently, without consideration of reimbursement.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Daughter of a Queen. An Empress for just 99 days. Mother of the last German Kaiser. Clare McHugh brings Princess Victoria, the Empress Frederick, to life in this fascinating debut novel, giving the reader a look into the life of a woman who was both far ahead of her times and yet also inclined to be blind to the realities that surrounded her. I'd read Hannah Pakula's biography about Princess Victoria, or Vicky, An Uncommon Woman - The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Cr Daughter of a Queen. An Empress for just 99 days. Mother of the last German Kaiser. Clare McHugh brings Princess Victoria, the Empress Frederick, to life in this fascinating debut novel, giving the reader a look into the life of a woman who was both far ahead of her times and yet also inclined to be blind to the realities that surrounded her. I'd read Hannah Pakula's biography about Princess Victoria, or Vicky, An Uncommon Woman - The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser Wilhelm, many years ago, and of course I've read several biographies about her parents, so I was fairly familiar with Vicky coming into this book. I enjoyed McHugh's efforts to make Vicky jump off the page. While she strives to make Vicky as "good" as possible, I think I enjoyed the moments the most when Vicky was either not at her best or just plain making a stand on one issue or another. Some of my favorite moments include when she's grieving for the son she lost and has finally had enough of her father-in-law's mean-spirited behavior toward her, or when she and her sister Alice put their foot down on something as simple as breastfeeding her own children, much to the horrified consternation of their mother, Queen Victoria, and the fury of Vicky's own in-laws. I also admit that I did pity Vicky a fair bit. Her parents - or, more specifically, her father - raised her with the intent of making her the agent for their liberal views in Germany, and were not above playing matchmaker with her feelings in all but shoving her in the direction of Prince Frederick. On a personal level, it worked out all right, as the two turned out to be extremely compatible and clearly loved each other for the rest of their lives. Still, this personal happiness was pretty much the only solace that Vicky gained in marrying him. Her father, Prince Albert, raised and educated her to bring liberalism to Germany, to refashion first Prussia into a more constitutional monarchical government in the English model, but did little to prepare her for the challenges she would face. And in terms of this novel, that is where I tended to grow a bit impatient as I kept reading. It just became one incident after another where Vicky and Fritz are shoved aside and/or outfoxed by conservative blowhards like Fritz's father or, more often, Chancellor Bismarck. Not to mention, there's war after war after war. It all became very repetitive. I understand that this is historical fiction, and thus has to follow history in broad strokes, but by the time the end rolled around, I was more relieved than anything. One other disappointment was that Vicky's relationship with Queen Elisabeth Ludovika, the wife of Frederick Wilhelm IV. She gets mentioned briefly as not supporting Vicky and Fritz's marriage (which was true), and appears for a moment when Vicky first arrives in Berlin, but that's pretty much the extent of her presence in the novel. Vicky had a rocky relationship with the woman for a while, until the death of Elisabeth's husband when Vicky became one of the few people who showed the older woman any kindness or understanding over her grief. When Elisabeth died, she rather pointedly willed all of her jewels straight to Vicky, breaking with established tradition which would have had the jewels go to Augusta, Vicky's mother-in-law. That incident became yet another reason for Augusta to dislike Vicky despite their similar political views. I remember reading about that moment years ago in Vicky's biography, and it's a story that always stuck with me, so I was disappointed to see it not make the cut here. One other thing that I did enjoy and found ironic was how Vicky ended up continuing the cycle of being a difficult mother to her children (mostly to the oldest three). Just as Vicky struggled with her own mother's critical attitude toward her, she also turned her own critical behavior upon her older kids, and yet remained oblivious to this even when people like her sister, Alice, pointed it out to her. Overall, the book was a decent read and a great source of inspiration in getting people to read about this remarkable woman.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I received an advance Kindle copy of this book from Netgalley for a fair and honest review. Clare McHugh’s debut novel, A Most English Princess, will add to a very sparse collection of historical fiction books featuring Victoria, the Princess Royal of England. Vicky, as she is most often referred as, is the first born child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She would ultimately marry Fritz, heir to the Prussian Empire and later become the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This well-researched offe I received an advance Kindle copy of this book from Netgalley for a fair and honest review. Clare McHugh’s debut novel, A Most English Princess, will add to a very sparse collection of historical fiction books featuring Victoria, the Princess Royal of England. Vicky, as she is most often referred as, is the first born child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She would ultimately marry Fritz, heir to the Prussian Empire and later become the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This well-researched offering is brimming with details of Vicky’s life from her English childhood education directed by her father, to her marriage and move to Prussia at age seventeen, to raising her family of eight with Fritz, to German unification in 1871. Through each stage of her life the reader inspects her educated responses to patriotism, marriage, gender roles required of her, and her lack of sufficient power in this male dominated society to be a positive influence in world events. How different Germany’s future would have been if she and Fritz were allowed to participate more positively throughout the years. Once again a book has piqued my interest in a period I knew little about. The “Cast of Characters” at the beginning of the book, both in England and in Prussia, was most helpful as the information helped me quickly understand the many relationships between the major participants. I was especially inspired to research the events between June, 1871, and the epilogue dated November, 1940 as this chronicle needs a sequel! A Most English Princess most definitely deserves five stars!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Wagner

    I knew the general outlines of the life of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, but this novel brought them to life and reminded me that she was also the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Called Vicky throughout the book, she was raised in England and married the heir to the Prussian throne at a young age. Vicky could be demanding and this comes out in her treatment of her oldest son, Wilhelm, whose complicated birth causes permanent damage to one of his arms. The medical treatments attempted I knew the general outlines of the life of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, but this novel brought them to life and reminded me that she was also the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Called Vicky throughout the book, she was raised in England and married the heir to the Prussian throne at a young age. Vicky could be demanding and this comes out in her treatment of her oldest son, Wilhelm, whose complicated birth causes permanent damage to one of his arms. The medical treatments attempted range from ineffectual to cringeworthy and together with the uncompromising demands Vicky placed on him, I could start to see how Wilhelm became the man he was. This book made for interesting reading, although it could be a little slow at times. I would definitely recommend it for those interested in exploring 19th-century Europe through historical fiction.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    I was given an advance copy of "A Most English Princess" by goodreads. It's always nice to discover a talented author. Clare McHugh did a splendid job. This book was easy to read and very interesting. I did not know much about Britain or Germany during the time frame of the book. I found it very educational and it has made me want to learn more about that time in history. I will be on the lookout for more books by this entertaining author. I was given an advance copy of "A Most English Princess" by goodreads. It's always nice to discover a talented author. Clare McHugh did a splendid job. This book was easy to read and very interesting. I did not know much about Britain or Germany during the time frame of the book. I found it very educational and it has made me want to learn more about that time in history. I will be on the lookout for more books by this entertaining author.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Urban

    A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh is fascinating historical novel. It instantly took me back in history. A time of troubling conflict between countries and a young female ruler having to deal with them all. It's not easy being a princess. With it, comes hard times, politics, and enough drama to last a life time. This book is perfect for fans of Queen Victoria and Downton Abbey. I loved how this writer, Clare McHugh, brought history to life in this novel. It was amazing. The details and cha A Most English Princess by Clare McHugh is fascinating historical novel. It instantly took me back in history. A time of troubling conflict between countries and a young female ruler having to deal with them all. It's not easy being a princess. With it, comes hard times, politics, and enough drama to last a life time. This book is perfect for fans of Queen Victoria and Downton Abbey. I loved how this writer, Clare McHugh, brought history to life in this novel. It was amazing. The details and characterization for a project like this is a tough one and she did well. I loved the powerful tale that was similar to Queen Victoria's story. Her daughter, the princess, is now having to navigate through the the same type of political messes as her mother and father once treaded. Royalty is no walk in the park. But these characters make duty, love, and honor look like a piece of cake. I could not get enough of this drama nor the tensions that ran high. Overall, this piece was well-researched and entertaining. I received this copy from the publisher. This is my voluntary review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Candi Moreland

    I am now and have always been an Anglophile. English history, in my opinion, rarely disappoints. This story, while historical, also speaks about what life was like at that time and what was expected of the royal family.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alison Gwinn

    I loved this book. If you are a fan of history—particularly British or German history—this novel is a must-read. Princess Vicky, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, led a fascinating life that not many people know about. She was a devoted letter writer (to her mother and Prince Albert, in particular), and the author deftly mines those letters so the reader gets a rich (and accurate!) glimpse inside the life of the private Vicky, a woman of strong opinions, real passions (including for her hus I loved this book. If you are a fan of history—particularly British or German history—this novel is a must-read. Princess Vicky, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, led a fascinating life that not many people know about. She was a devoted letter writer (to her mother and Prince Albert, in particular), and the author deftly mines those letters so the reader gets a rich (and accurate!) glimpse inside the life of the private Vicky, a woman of strong opinions, real passions (including for her husband, Fritz), and a fierce devotion to the notion of modernizing the monarchy. McHugh clearly did deep research, and the result is a fascinating portrait not only of a woman worth knowing but of Europe in the decades leading up to World War I.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

    It is so special to get a peek into historical events through the eyes of a princess. I learned so much while enjoying the magic of romance and enduring the tragedy of war. The relationships between Victoria and her husband, mother, father, and others around her were fascinating. Her struggles to be heard and respected throughout her adult life is somehow familiar to everyday people, however, with Victoria the stakes were very high. A rare event that I read a book straight through - I read strai It is so special to get a peek into historical events through the eyes of a princess. I learned so much while enjoying the magic of romance and enduring the tragedy of war. The relationships between Victoria and her husband, mother, father, and others around her were fascinating. Her struggles to be heard and respected throughout her adult life is somehow familiar to everyday people, however, with Victoria the stakes were very high. A rare event that I read a book straight through - I read straight through and then read again. I will read one more time before I put on the book shelf. I believe each time I read I will catch more nuances in the character relationships. A good read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    The Sass Man

    Great book

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