by Leslie Carroll
In my mind there is a subgenre in the history and biography sections of the bookstore which contains collections of non-fiction tidbits and anecdotes. Notorious Royal Marriages is one such book, and it resides on my bookshelf beside Eleanor Herman’s books and the Uppity Women series. While the latter are more humorous takes on history, Carroll’s book takes a bit more serious view solely on legitimate couplings in history: royal marriages.
From Eleanor of Aquitaine to the infamous bridegroom Henry VIII, there are many well known royals covered, but there are some lesser known as well, which makes this a refreshing read for veteran history lovers.
Though I know some of the historical figures well, there are many facts included that I’ve not read before, or at least, put into context that I had not thought to connect. Most interesting to me are the couples I’m not very familiar with, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Marie Louise of Austria, Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie, Rainier III, Prince of Monaco and Grace Kelly and Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles; if you’ll notice, all of these belong to later eras.
My overall opinion of this book is that it’s a wonderful read for those who want an abridged taste of the history of the royal couples covered. It is enough to spike interest and encourage further reading. It is also a great book for browsing and jumping around as interest dictates.
When I first held this book in my hand I was a little overwhelmed at its size, but it went so quickly once I got started. Addicting and completely readable, Notorious Royal Marriages is a clever concept and I cannot wait for the author’s next book: ROYAL PAINS: A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Bastards, and Bad Seeds.