In And So—Victoria, Vaughan Wilkins packs more “I’ll go to bed after the next chapter” between two covers than a half dozen Gone with the Winds.
The story centers on Christopher Harnish whose disgust with the depravity of the Hanoverian kings of England helps put a woman—Queen Victoria—on the throne.
Before Christopher is 11, the gentle lad has twice been accused of murder—and once sentenced to hang for it. After that excitement, he lives a relatively uneventful life until he turns 19. Then he’s goes to Germany to learn soldiering in small state whose duchess is a daughter of the English King George III.
Christopher picks up enough hints to know there’s something odd about his parentage. When he learns that his mother had married the son of her illegitimate half brother, Christopher renounces his English connections and assumes a German name. While trying to escape his past, he smashes into it headlong. This time, however, he fights back—and wins.
Wilkins weaves together history, mystery, romance, murder, thrills, and suspense—and he handles each thread deftly. A genealogical chart helps readers unfamiliar with English history to keep the historical characters straight. Wilkins makes the invented characters sufficiently distinctive you’d know them anywhere.And So—Victoria
By Vaughan Wilkins Macmillan, 1937 618 pages #4 on the 1937 bestseller list My grade: A