Victoria to Vikings – The Circle of Blood by Trisha Hughes
At the heart of our present are the stories of our past. In ages gone by, many monarchs died while they were still young. There were battles and diseases and many were simply overthrown. But the days of regal engagement in hand-to-hand combat are over and the line of succession has a good ageing prospect these days.
One of the most famous monarchs in history is Queen Victoria and her passing brought an end to an amazing era. She could be demanding, rude and she frequently fled public duties for the solitude of Scotland. But she loved fiercely, and her people loved her fiercely in return. Under her reign, England achieved greatness it had never known before.
‘VICTORIA TO VIKINGS – The Circle of Blood’ spans from this great queen to another one: Queen Elizabeth II. Ours is the era of the longest living monarch in history and her ancestry is incredible. But walking two steps behind her, stalwart and loyal, stands Prince Philip, the strawberry to her champagne, and with him comes his own amazing Viking heritage.
Victoria to Vikings is a generally entertaining romp through the reigns of six British monarchs, from Victoria to Elizabeth II. Littered with detail both personal and political, it is one of those excellent volumes that educates and imparts knowledge without the dry prose of academia, or the dreary prose of a text-book. British history is rich, diverse, and complex. It is a rich tapestry woven from diverse aspects of social, cultural, and political endeavour. It is embroidered with varying strands of power, politics, personalities, and progress. At the heart of it, struggling to create a stable nation, are the people, the politicians, and the monarchy.
Trisha Hughes attacks her topics with gusto. While I feel the general overview of the nineteenth century could have been better ordered, it gives the reader a good background platform from which to progress. Whilst providing facts and figures, statistics and social data, the author’s relaxed and uncomplicated writing style makes it all digestible. She covers areas as diverse as prostitution, sport, entertainment, as well as advances in medicine, industry, and sanitation, to name but a few. Her chapters on each monarch give a fascinating insight into their character, personality, attitudes, and behaviour. She produces real people; the good, the bad, and the ugly, but also their struggles, their loves, and their heartaches.
This is a book with a remarkable amount of research, presented in an easy-read style, filled with all kinds of stories. A delight to read, even for a dusty research historian like me; I recommend it wholeheartedly.
I have a few but limit myself to these.
Saying that ‘people had criticised the unfair electoral system and for many years George [IV] had disregarded their protests’ suggests that he could have enacted change. He could not; electoral reform came under the purview of the House of Commons and House of Lords. Certainly George IV had tremendous influence, and certainly he used that influence, but those landowners and aristocrats with and in power did not want the working class to have the vote, or indeed to read or write in many cases. The political classes grip on power remained for many decades. In fact, prior to 1918 some 40% of men did not have the vote; most who fought and died in the First World War never had it.
The statement that ‘syphilis had become curable by penicillin in Victorian times’ is inaccurate. Treatment at the time was primarily mercury, used and applied in a variety of ways, though there were other ‘cures’ used as well. Mercury stayed in favour until the early twentieth century.
Referring to the First World War as ‘the worst family squabble in history’ several times in similar ways, is neither funny nor accurate, but certainly insensitive. It was more complex than royal relatives having a falling out, and the politicians decided on war, not the king.
These are just quibbles, so please read the book and enjoy.
UK – HERE
US – HERE
I am an Australian author born in Brisbane, Queensland now living in Hong Kong. My writing career began 18 years ago with my best-selling autobiography ‘Daughters of Nazareth’ published by Pan MacMillan Australia. Over the past 8 years, I have been researching and writing a historical fiction trilogy based on British Monarchy throughout the ages beginning with the Vikings. Originally meant to be a single book, as facts accumulated the material gradually filled three books. I call this series my V2V trilogy.
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