Valentines, Watching Victoria, and Why You Should Read the Book (But Maybe Not the One You’d Think)


What does one do when one finishes an enormous, year-long project, like the first draft of a novel?

On Monday, I finished the draft of The Intruder early in the day. I had some tummy trouble, so I arranged things so I could stay at home. I spent some time happy dancing (so restorative), and then remembered all the things that I’d left undone. The most pressing thing was writing out and addressing Valentines. So I started working on them in the late afternoon, told my guys that they were on their own for dinner, watched the last available episode of The Path (an odd Hulu series about a not-very-prosperous cult that has supernatural overtones), and after a bowl of soup and a little wine, I continued working while watching all five hours of the Masterpiece series, Victoria, that we had on our server. Yes, I did Valentines and watched a Victorian soap opera until about two in the morning. Bliss!

If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. Jenna Coleman, who left Doctor Who (that was heartbreaking) to take the role, is completely adorable. Coleman, of course, is a movie star, so she can be excused for not being as plain as the historical Victoria. The sets are lavish, the costumes out of this world, and the story–well, it’s not exactly worried about British history so much as it is interpersonal drama. That’s not to say that it’s inaccurate. Things are just painted with a rather broad brush.

In one of my earliest blogs of the year, I wrote about just having finished reading Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams. It’s the story of Victoria’s life, and Williams spends fully half the book on Victoria’s family history, including much on Charlotte, who died, thus making room for Victoria to ascend the throne. I confess that I found myself a little startled when the Masterpiece version began on the very day Victoria became queen. But I suspect that the series will fill in lots of missing details about her life with, and after, Albert. Details that I sorely missed when I read Becoming Queen Victoria–thoughts on that in the post. But I suppose the emphasis was on the becoming part. You could read Daisy Goodwin’s companion novel to the series, but I highly recommend that, if you’re interested in British history, you check out the Williams book. It thoroughly explains why Victoria treats her mother as a pariah, and why no one seems to know anything about her when she becomes queen.

On the Valentine front–I have some extra Valentine’s cards this year! If you haven’t received a holiday card from me before and would like one, drop me a line with your name and mailing address at Depending on the mails, it may arrive a day or two late, but the wishes will be the same.

Wednesday it’s back to work. I’m printing out the manuscript. *nibbles on nails* I’m only a little nervous–mostly excited.

P.S. Pop on over to to read my bi-weekly Wednesday post. This one is about my big jump into the non-supernatural with this new novel.


February 7th Words

Journal 0 Words (I have slacked off this week–need to get back to it before I lose the habit)

Long fiction: 0 Words

Short fiction: 0 Words

Non-fiction: 0 Words

Blogging: 1400 Words

Exercise: 15 minutes yoga

3 thoughts on “Valentines, Watching Victoria, and Why You Should Read the Book (But Maybe Not the One You’d Think)”

  1. skyecaitlin says:

    How wonderful that you actually send REAL Valentines! I am impressed, Laura. I have been watching Victoria, as well, and it is wonderful. However, I am watching it in segments on PBS, and she is charming. I also adore the Tudor period and hope to read Kate Williams’ On Becoming Victoria. I am so curious about The Intruder. Hope you are having a happy day!

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Someone asked me yesterday how I could have more than one Valentine, and I said that we shouldn’t be stingy with our love. I always loved getting Valentines as a kid. And now, real mail that’s not an advertisement or a bill? Yay!

      Let me know what you think about the Williams book. I see it’s doing pretty well on Amazon, and I’m sure library copies are hot tickets, too.

      Happy Day to you, as well!

      1. skyecaitlin says:

        How lovely: I will send you my address: I only buy from Barnes and Noble ( hardback or trade paperback).

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