Inglorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll
Paperback, 398 pages
September 2, 2014
Source: Received from review in collaboration with HFVBT tour
“It’s no secret that the marriages of monarchs are often made in hell. Here are some of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history....
In a world where many kings, queens, and princes lacked nothing but true love, marital mismatches could bring out the baddest, boldest behavior in the bluest of bloodlines. Margaret Tudor, her niece Mary I, and Catherine of Braganza were desperately in love with chronically unfaithful husbands, but at least they weren’t murdered by them, as were two of the Medici princesses were. King Charles II’s beautiful, high-spirited sister “Minette” wed Louis XIV’s younger brother, who wore more makeup and perfume than she did. Forced to wed her boring, jug-eared cousin Ferdinand, Marie of Roumania—a granddaughter of Queen Victoria—proved herself one of the heroines of World War I by using her prodigious personal charm to regain massive amounts of land during the peace talks at Versailles.
Brimming with outrageous real-life stories of royal marriages gone wrong, this is an entertaining, unforgettable book of dubious matches doomed from the start.”
For me, Leslie Carroll’s non-fiction works have always been an entertaining romp that I look forward to reading. This installment in the series, Inglorious Royal Marriages, is no different. I was excited to pick it up and dig right in. The pages whirl by in a blur as we move from one mismatched couple to the next dancing across Europe. The stories range from the spouses who don’t get along because of differences in sexual appetites, to those who were serial philanderers, to those who were just plain cruel to each other. What the stories have in common is the wonder that these things actually happened!
Leslie writes with a wit and sharp tongue which is very apparent in her books, which makes them fun and refreshing reads. You certainly can’t call this dull! She also has a thesaurus style vocabulary, so expect to be looking up a good many words. While this is great in improving your language skills, it can start to wear on you after the 20th time referring to the dictionary.
My only real issue with this book is that 90% of the stories felt extremely familiar to me. Of the twelve stories related in this tome, there were only three that I didn’t have some level of knowledge of; the bulk of the selections were on the heavy hitters – Margaret Tudor, Henry VI, Charles II, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I. While I know that to some extent it is those very names that will sell this book, I would have liked to have seen a few more less common entries – more along the lines of the varied selection in Royal Romances. Additionally, the flow of the book wasn’t optimal for me. To some extent it felt like stories were being partially retold in subsequent chapters as in some cases they were family relations. This could be in effort to tie disparate chapters together, but for me it felt repetitious.
Of those notable figures chronicled in this volume, I would have to say that my favorite has been the combined chapter on Isabella Romola de Medici and Eleonora di Garzia di Toledo. A little intrigue, murder, and new faces spiced this chapter up!
Author Leslie Carroll also has written several other non-fiction titles including: Royal Affairs, Notorious Royal Marriages, Royal Pains, Royal Romances, and The Royals. You can visit Leslie’s website or blog for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?
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As an added bonus I also have the privilege of hosting a giveaway courtesy of the HFVBT for one paperback copy of Inglorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll for one lucky US resident. Giveaway will end October 12, 2014. Entries can be made through the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!
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