Victoria & Abdul, Week 1

Welcome to a new Online Book Club discussion for November! This month, we're reading Victoria & Abdul by Shrabani Basu.

The Online Book Club, if you've never joined us before, is a book discussion group that takes place entirely online. Each week, I write a new blog post that talks about different aspects of the book, and you can interact directly with me and other readers by leaving a comment in the comments section. Make sure you check back each week and see what new topics we're talking about.

Victoria & Abdul is the true story of Abdul Karim, a man who became Queen Victoria's Urdu teacher and her counselor on Urdu and Indian affairs. Abdul originally became a servant of Queen Victoria during her Golden Jubilee, but he soon became one of her closest friends and advisors. The relationship between the pair was a point of contention for Queen Victoria's children. After her death, he was banished from court and his letters were destroyed, almost erasing him from the historical record. Shrabani Basu, the author, found a portrait of Abdul in one of Queen Victoria's galleries, and she knew that he had to be more than just a simple servant. Basu was able to connect with Abdul's living descendants and read his personal diary, and through these accounts, she was able to understand the relationship between Abdul and Victoria. If you like learning more about the history of the British royal family, you'll love this book.

You can also watch the Victoria & Abdul movie if you're interested in the story. Check out the trailer above if you're on the fence about watching this month. Feel free to leave comments about the movie on the blog posts, even if you aren't reading the book with us.

If you want to follow along with our pace, make sure to read the foreword, the introduction, and the first five chapters before joining us next week. I hope to hear from you in the comments section!