One of my new years resolutions was to read a book every week for the entire year. Last night, I decided as a part of that resolution, every week I would write about the book I finished reading the previous week. This way, you can learn about books you want to read and I have all my Monday posts for a year planned. Huzzah! I believe they call this a win-win. Unless you completely abhor my taste in reading material. Then you lose. But life is tough and it’s time you learned you can’t always win. So, I’ve taught you a lesson. You do win. Huzzah!
(FYI- because of my charming quirks, I alternate between reading non-fiction and fiction so if you aren’t a fan of one or the other then just wait a week and you will be more pleased with my selection. Although, you should like both because I think it hurts the books feelings if you don’t.)
The first weeks book was Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll
I really enjoyed this book. It was like reading historical tabloids. I mean, if there had been an E! channel back in the day, then these would have been the marriages they would be talking about. And honestly, Angelina and Brad got nothin on Napoleon and Josephine (or “Rose” as she was called before she married him- little known fact). And Taylor Swift and her many beaus just can’t compete with Henry VIII and his many wives. (Although, to be fair, she uses music to cut whereas he favored the chopping block) And I don’t care how explosive a celebrity divorce is- the divorces chronicled in this book literally changed nations. Top that Charlie Sheen. (Actually don’t. Just chill out for a while maybe.) Also, some of the true love stories, which were quite rare, are so beautiful that they make every romance movie I’ve seen in the last ten years seem gray and dull. And you want to talk scandal? The language some of these “gentlemen” used in their love letters left me shocked. Gentlemen, indeed. (I’m pointing at you Napoleon- you should be ashamed. For a lot of things really, but specifically for your use of some very colorful and offensive language. No wonder it took Josephine a while to warm up to you. Trust me, using that word is no way to win a woman’s heart. Just a tip in case you have some sort of reincarnation. You’re welcome.) This book isn’t meant to be biographical but it does give you some very interesting and little known facts about these monarchs. And actually, learning some of these personal details made some of their political decisions a little bit clearer to me. Of course, I didn’t always agree with how they are portrayed (especially the authors take on the formidable personalities of Katharine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn) but there wasn’t anything that I viewed as out of the realm of possibility (I mean, it’s a bit difficult to know what portrayal is closest to the truth because we can’t actually know any of these royals personally. Unless you have a time machine, in which case, I want in. I want in bad.)
Basically, if you have any interest in European history then this book is certainly worth a read. Also, if you have any interest in scandalous affairs, courtly gossip, and slightly pornographic love letters, then this book is worth a read. If you only crave happy endings, then you might want to pass on this- because many of these marriages ended not-so-happily ever after (I’m talking execution people). Enjoy!
*I would love some great reading recommendations so please comment and let me know what I should be reading this year.