4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Startling for the mundane world it depicts,
This review is from: Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household (Hardcover)
I considered myself something of an expert on Victoria and Victorian England and now, having read this book, realise that I had missed a key aspect of that period. To wit the character of the principal lady herself and the way she lived.
Now seen for the first time through the eyes of her household, she appears as a spectacularly low-brow woman, with lower-middle-class pretensions and their concomitant sentimental obsessions. And yet ... the transition from the syphilis and gin that marked Georgian England to the prissy Victorian era is clearly a rational progression. When George III lost the Americas it was the beginning of the end. Somehow, during the reign of Victoria, the rot was halted for at least 100 years and the greatest empire history has ever seen grew and grew.
At its heart lay an array of well-connected folk who served the Queen not unlike the workers clustering around the centre of a hive. Frustrated, bored, often deeply unhappy they were unable to tear themselves away from the flame. They loved being at the centre of things as much as they loved the Queen, despite her many human failings.
The perspective Kat Hubbard brings to the subject illuminates it with a subtle glow. It has taught me to be humble in my assertions about the depth and breadth of what I believe that I know and it has reminded me that historians should look at the individuals concerned as well as the great events of their time for they are inextricably intertwined.
This is an important book that I found difficult to put down.