Out of all of the prompts for this month, the fiction/nonfiction pairing prompt was the one I was the iffiest on. However, as I occasionally do, I had this brilliant idea while laying awake at 4 am, staring at my ceiling fan. So let’s get into it, yeah?

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The Prompt

Week 2: (Nov. 5 to 9) – Fiction / Nonfiction Book Pairing (Sarah’s Book Shelves) This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

My Pairing

I am fascinated by Queen Victoria, and always enjoy learning more about her. There seems to be so much information available, and I want to learn EVERYTHING. So I thought for this prompt, I would give you the pairing that I actually want to read. I talked about how I want to read Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird during NonFiction November, but then I picked up Victoria: A Life by A.N. Wilson off the sale shelf at Politics and Prose over the weekend and NOW I DON’T KNOW WHICH ONE TO READ FIRST. But since I made this pretty graphic above that includes the Wilson biography cover art, that’s the version I’m going to give ya.


Victoria: A Life by A.N. Wilson
Published by Penguin Books on November 24, 2015
Buy on Amazon

A. N. Wilson's exhaustively researched and definitive biography includes a wealth of new material from previously unseen sources to show us Queen Victoria as she's never been seen before. Wilson explores the curious set of circumstances that led to Victoria's coronation, her strange and isolated childhood, her passionate marriage to Prince Albert and his pivotal influence even after death, and her widowhood and subsequent intimate friendship with her Highland servant John Brown, all set against the backdrop of this momentous epoch in Britain's history--and the world's.

This book is hefty. Like, door-stopper hefty. Thank goodness I got it in paperback. I am particularly interested in reading Wilson’s biography of Victoria as I want to read his “companion” biography, The Victorians (also hefty, at 760 pages). My time at the University of Liverpool involved a lot of reading about the Victorian era in my history classes, and found it supremely interesting. I look forward to continuing my self-education. 


Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on September 26, 2017
Buy on Amazon

Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world. Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.

"I do not like the name Alexandrina," she proclaims. "From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria."

On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin's impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.

I’ve heard many good things about Goodwin’s novel, Victoria. Seeing as I have a very delinquent ARC review of this book in my backlist, now seems like a very good time to read it.

Bonus: TV Show

PBS Masterpiece’s Victoria is based on Daisy Goodwin’s novel. Likely because Goodwin is the creator and head writer for the show. Jenna Coleman plays the Queen, a solid choice if I may say so without having watched a single moment of the show. YET. I have Season 1 queued up on my iPad for my travels to England this month, with a somewhat fluid plan to watch Season 2 when I get home. Season 3 premieres on January 13, 2019.

BONUS: A Sleep Story

The Calm app has a large library of sleep stories, including this Alan Sklar narrated story about Queen Victoria. I probably listen to this story at least once a week (remember how I am prone to lay awake staring at my ceiling at all hours of the night?). I never get bored because I never make it to the end. Which I guess is kind of the point. Unfortunately, this sleep story is behind the paywall. However, if you have the $60/yr to spare for a subscription, I highly recommend this app.

Join the Conversation


  1. OK wow, Melissa. This is my first time on your blog but it was kind of like reading inside my head. I literally have both of those Victoria biographies sitting on my shelves unread. Ready to join their multiple Victoria comrades on the shelf. I cannot get enough of Queen Victoria. Or her children. Even her grandchildren!

    I think this is the push I needed to actually read at least one of them. Maybe I will go with the Baird while you work on the Wilson? I also have Judith Flanders’ The Victorian City kicking around…

    The Goodwin book was decent – it’s great background reading for the show she is also responsible for. Have you seen The Young Victoria with Emily Blunt? So. Good.

    1. A fellow QV lover! There are so many great books about her. I recently snagged “Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life” by Lucy Worsley off Netgalley, and also really want to read “Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking” by Deborah Cadbury. The Victorian City looks good too…. *adds to TBR*

      I have seen Young Victoria… but it’s been a while. Perhaps I am due another viewing.

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