Prisoners of the Palace is the story of how the teenaged Princess Victoria came to be the longest ruling queen of Great Britain. Queen Victoria's story has always intrigued me, but I have not felt so connected to her as I do after reading this book. Perhaps this is a result of the style of this novel and the focus on a wide variety of characters, most of whom are average citizens of this time period (the 1830's). In fact, the main character is not Victoria herself, but her personal maid, Eliza.
Eliza has a sad story that seems all too common for the time period. She was fairly well-to-do until her parents died, leaving her in huge debt. As a woman, she was trained in lots of areas that were not at all practical. By the time that the job at Kensington Palace appears, Eliza is completely destitute. After begging for the position, she soon finds out that life for the royalty is not as blissful and uncomplicated as she had previously thought.
And there is scandal. And suspense. And violence. And romance. Lots of all of it.
But best of all, I love reading and learning about history and realizing that not all that much has changed. The public is still fascinated but critical and judgmental of those with power and prestige, and those with power and prestige are often unaware (or uncaring) of the sufferings of every day people. And sometimes, there are people who are lucky enough to be a part of both worlds, like Eliza. And it's fun when they gossip about the inner workings of royalty!
**This book was checked out to me by the lovely and unassuming ladies
at the Mt Blue High School Library--Thanks!**