I think I have found a new favorite book. In the follow-up book to Sex with Kings, we get a whirlwind tale through 900 years of European royalty, all told through the eyes of the queen’s bedroom. From Eleanor of Aquitaine to Princess Diana, from England to France to Germany to Russia, we go into the secret lives of some of the most famous women in history.
This book isn’t only about the love lives of queens (though it’s hard to think otherwise with the huge red SEX on the cover and a bare butt). The first third of the book is actually about what a queen/princess’ life really was like. Very few of these women’s lives were fairy tales. Most were pawned off to other countries to eradicate men’s debts or problems, lived in a foreign country, and had acquired difficult husbands.
So, as a woman, I of course have a problem with some things. The King was allowed to have as many mistresses as he desired; in fact, it was ideal that he didn’t love his wife. She was only there to produce heirs. On the other hand, if the Queen had even one lover, she could possibly be divorced, or both she and her lover could be imprisoned, tortured, or executed.
Some of these women went through lovers like I go through underwear. It was shocking at the number of men Catherine the Great bedded, even well into old age. Another woman of many lovers was Princess Diana, of whom the author is definitely NOT a fan of. Princess Di was always put in a bad light in this book, yet it is slightly refreshing after her rise to almost sainthood status after death.
One of the biggest points that I found was I need to expand myself out of English history a bit. There are definitely some interesting people and events elsewhere, especially in France. Affairs, beheadings, and general royalty-related drama are not just a specialization of sixteenth century England!
The stories are never too long, always short, sweet, and to the point. The only ones that are truly long are Anne Boleyn’s and Catherine the Great’s stories (but they’re both good ones!). Eleanor Herman definitely has a sense of humor and a knack for making history interesting. I’d recommend this book to people who aren’t even history buffs like me. Parts of it read like a gossip column and I read bits of it out loud to my roommates who got a kick out of it. Definitely recommend, especially for females. 5 stars!