Welcome to Week 3 of our Online Book Club discussion of Victoria & Abdul.
Did you enjoy the section this week? Are you enjoying the story? Do you feel like it's an engaging narrative, or do you wish there was more action? I have to admit that I am finding the reading a little slow. I wish there was a little more action and far fewer names. It's hard to keep everyone straight, especially since they are all so unfamiliar to me.
This section mentions two of the Queen's homes, Balmoral Castle and Osborne House, repeatedly. If you want to see some pictures of Balmoral now or want to plan a visit there, make sure to check out its website. The Balmoral squirrel cam is a special treat—the Eurasian red squirrels that live on the grounds are were once common, but their populations have decreased significantly in the U.K. in recent years. Make sure to check out Osborne House's website, too, because there are so many great pictures and resources there.
Early in this section, Basu mentions that Queen Victoria wanted a portrait of Karim painted. Check out this collection from the Royal Collection Trust if you're interested in seeing some portraits and photographs of Karim.
In the beginning of chapter 6, we learn that Queen Victoria worked hard to ensure that Karim received a piece of land. Were you surprised that she was so dogged in getting the land for Karim? I was surprised that she was willing to keep writing letters to so many people. She definitely didn't let a matter drop when she decided that it was something she wanted to do!
Another really surprising section was the part in chapter 7 where we find out that when Karim and his wife were struggling to have a baby, Queen Victoria wrote letters of advice to them. Could you imagine? I thought that this fact showed that Karim and Queen Victoria were incredibly close if they were able to talk about such personal topics. Her advice was pretty hilarious, though. I liked how she told Karim that his wife should not go on "rough roads."
The last chapter in this section was so intense. The amount of hatred that Queen Victoria's staff and family had towards Karim was pretty incredible. The letter that Sir Reid wrote to Karim was so angry. Reid believed that Karim was two-faced and was a cheat. Were you surprised that they followed Karim and did investigations into his family? Are you surprised that Queen Victoria stayed loyal to Karim, even though so many people spoke out about him? What did you think of this whole last chapter? Were you glad that the chapter ended with Karim being cleared of wrong doing?
There was so much from these chapters that I didn't mention. What were some parts that stood out to you the most? What did you most enjoy reading about? What was most interesting to you? Do you feel like this book makes Queen Victoria seem more like a real person?
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section. I want to know if you are enjoying the book.
I hope you're able to finish the book for next week's discussion.