That Inevitable Victorian Thingby E.K. Johnston
Setting: Ontario, Canada
Published on October 3rd 2017
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendant of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she'll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire's greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process â€”just like the first Queen Victoria.
This is a YA alternative history book that imagines that the British Empire is still alive and well.Â The decision that made the difference was that Queen Victoria named her eldest daughter heir and then married off all her other children to people in the Empire instead of other European royal families.Â Now, the Empire is predominately made up of mixed race people.Â Canada has a high percentage of people originally from Hong Kong.Â The Church of England consists mostly of a DNA database that chooses the best DNA match for people.
The Crown Princess Victoria-Margaret wants one summer away.Â She decides to make her debut in Canada while passing herself off as a cousin to one of the leading families there.Â She makes other friends though who aren’t in on her secret and this leads to romantic entanglements that aren’t what she expected.
I thought the world building was interesting in this book.Â It was intriguing to think about what might have happened if the British had treated their subjects as people worthy of respect.Â If you pick too much at the assumptions made in the book though it might all fall apart.Â My recommendation is just to enjoy it and go along for the ride.Â
At the end of the book the main characters are hatching a plot.Â It doesn’t seem very well thought out to me so I will be interested to see what happens in upcoming books.Â
I’ve never read an alternative history before, this sounds cool!
It is a fun way to consider What If just one thing changed all of history.
Interesting premise, indeed. You have definitely piqued my interest in spite of your cautions.
This intrigues me. I’ve had several occasions to explore how the British way of treating “inferiors” still lives in American culture today, particularly our inability to deal with racial issues. An alternative history with mixed-race royalty gets at that in a really interesting way.