May 9, 2017

The Victoria Letters by Helen Rappaport - Review

Book details:
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper Design (January 31, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0062568892

About the book:
The official companion to ITV’s hotly anticipated new drama, The Victoria Letters delves into the private writings of the young Queen Victoria, painting a vivid picture of the personal life of one of England’s greatest monarchs.

From the producers of Poldark and Endeavour, ITV’s Victoria follows the early years of the young Queen’s reign, based closely on Victoria’s own letters and journals. Now explore this extensive collection in greater depth, and discover who Victoria really was behind her upright public persona.

At only 18 years old, Victoria ascended the throne as a rebellious teenager and gradually grew to become one of the most memorable, unshakeable and powerful women in history. The extensive writings she left behind document this personal journey and show how she triumphed over scandal and corruption. Written by Internationally bestselling author, historian of 12 books and Victoria historical consultant, Helen Rappaport, and including a foreword by Daisy Goodwin – acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of the series – The Victoria Letters details the history behind the show. Revealing Victoria’s own thoughts about the love interests, family dramas and court scandals during her early reign, it also delves into the running of the royal household, the upstairs-downstairs relationships, and what it was like to live in Victorian England.

Full of beautiful photography from the series and genuine imagery from the era, come behind the palace doors and discover the girl behind the Queen.

My thoughts:
I was happy when I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. My daughter and I watched this show on PBS and really enjoyed it so to get the companion book was a win win. I really enjoyed reading this book. The pictures were nice. Not only did you have pictures from the mini-series but you had pictures of the real people. It was nice to not only read about the real Victoria, her court and all things royalty related but it was nice to read about the show. Most of the characters were real or based on a real person and this book explains that. I learned a lot about the Queen from reading this book. I have not read much about her in the past. In the end they book tells how the show was made, the costumes and the scenes were all made to be historically accurate. All in all a very good book. 

Meet the author - Helen Rappaport
Born in Bromley, England, Helen Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University but ill-advisedly rejected suggestions of a career in the Foreign Office and opted for the acting profession. After appearing on British TV and in films until the early 1990s she abandoned acting and embraced her second love - history and with it the insecurities of a writer’s life.

She started out contributing to biographical and historical reference works for publishers such as Cassell, Reader’s Digest, and Oxford University Press. Between 1999 and 2003 she wrote three books back-to-back for a leading US reference publisher: Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion, the award-winning An Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers and Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion. Her first trade title was No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War ( Aurum press, 2007 ). She followed this with Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs (Hutchinson 2008), which became a best seller in the USA, published by St.Martin’s Press as The Last days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg. She then followed with Conspirator: Lenin in Exile, (Hutchinson, 2009; Basic Books USA, 2010).Helen’s next title was a new departure - a Victorian true-crime story: Beautiful for Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street - Cosmetician, Con-Artist and Blackmailer published by novelist Susan Hill’s imprint, Long Barn Books, 2010. A paperback edition will be published by Vintage on 3 May 2012.

Helen's newest title, published by Hutchinson in the UK, is Magnificent Obsession; Victoria, Albert and the Death that Changed the Monarchy a study of the impact of the Prince Consort’s premature death in 1861 on England, the monarchy, and Queen Victoria, and covering the first terrible ten years of her retreat from public view. The book will be published in the USA on 13 March 2012 by St Martin’s Press.

Helen is currently working on two forthcoming titles: Capturing the Light - a collaboration with Roger Watson on the birth of photography, to be published in the UK by PanMacmillan in 2013 and in the USA by St Martin's Press (date TBC); and Four Sisters, about the tragic lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, to be published in the USA by St Martin's Press 2014; UK details to follow.

Helen’s only foray into fiction, so far, has been a collaboration with William Horwood on a historical thriller, Dark Hearts of Chicago published by Hutchinson in April 2007.

Helen is a fluent Russian speaker and a specialist in Russian history and 19th century women’s history, her great passion being to winkle out lost stories from the footnotes and to breathe new life and new perspectives into old subjects. In 2005 she was historical consultant and talking head on a Channel 4 documentary The Real Angel of the Crimea about the Jamaican nurse, Mary Seacole. In 2010 she was talking head on a Mystery Files documentary about the Murder of the Romanovs for National Geographic channel.

Helen has had considerable radio experience talking on Victorian and Russian history for: BBC Radio Oxford and Radio Berkshire; Radio 4: Woman's Hour, Start the Week and the Today programme. In December 2011 she appeared on a Radio 2 programme on the history of the Royal Albert Hall and on Peter Snow's Random Edition about the death of Prince Albert. In 2012 she is a talking head on the major 8-part Radio 4 series The Art of Monarchy.

Since the mid -70s Helen has also become well-known as a Russian translator in the theatre, working with British playwrights on new versions of Russian plays. She has translated all seven of Chekhov’s plays, including Ivanov for Tom Stoppard’s new version that was a huge critical success at the Donmar Season at Wyndham’s in 2008. In 2002 she was Russian consultant to the National Theatre’s Tom Stoppard trilogy, The Coast of Utopia.

A passionate Victorianist and Russianist, Helen is a member of Equity, the Victorian Society, the Society of Gen

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