I've always been fascinated by the Victorian Era — witness the name of this blog. Most of the Era's appeal for me has been the sense of mystery shrouding stories that feature swirling fog, the clatter of horse hooves and carriage wheels on cobblestone streets, gaslit street lamps, women wearing long dresses with bustles and hats with veils. I've been a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, whose adventures take place in the Victorian Era, and I've been equally drawn to Wilkie Collins's gothic-flavored mysteries, The Woman in White and The Moonstone. But it wasn't until I wrote my own mystery set in the era (Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, a middle-grade novel) that I had to do my own research on the Victorian Era. (And what a surprise that was! How strange that I had forgotten it included Jack the Ripper.)
I knew next to nothing about Queen Victoria herself, except that she lived for a long, long time and that she and her husband, Albert, were devoted to one another, which isn't always the case in royal families. (Years ago, my brother and his wife, who lived close to London, had taken me sightseeing on a trip and pointed out the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens.)
And then Season I of Victoria came on last year, and I was hooked. I had always been intrigued by Queen Elizabeth Tudor (who, alas, did not have such a happy love life), but I had no idea what an fascinating ruler Victoria was and what a fascinating life unfolded for her from the moment she became Queen at age 18. (It was probably fascinating from the get-go, but the series begins with the death of her father.) There were attempts on her life. Attempts by a relative to have her removed as incompetent and unstable so that he could have the throne instead. Political intrigue milled all around her by those hoping for control or at least influence. Even motherhood was fraught with intrigue: who would inherit if she and the baby died, etc.?
Well. Season II arrived a couple of weeks ago, and it does not disappoint. (I haven't been this hooked on a series since Downton Abbey.) The cast of Victoria is superb: Jenna Coleman is wonderful as the young and maturing queen. Convincingly she develops from the teenager who ascended the throne, married, and became a mother, while navigating the political minefields in Season I to a ruler juggling motherhood, wifehood and the weighty business of running a country with a steady hand in Season II. Tom Hughes is the perfect match for her as Prince Consort, Albert: romantic, supportive, yet firm and independent-minded. Rufus Sewell is moving as Lord Melbourne (who actually advised her to get married while being in love with her himself). There is a large supporting cast who have starring scenes of their own in a variety of subplots, and the acting shimmers on all sides.
Thank goodness the Queen lived and ruled for such a long time! That means (I hope) quite a few more seasons of Victoria.
How about you? Are you hooked on a particular TV series? Are you fascinated by a particular period of history? A famous historical figure?
Celebrate the Small Things is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog. (You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)