Author and professional actress Leslie Carroll is most likely the “go-to” person for most anything involving Royal history, especially romances, marriages, and the women and men of the court whose love-filled dramas centuries later are still the tales of juicy gossip.
Leslie has recently released another book in her non-fiction series of Royal dramas featuring romance and marriage, called Inglorious Royal Marriages: A Demi-Millennium of Unholy Matrimony. It’s filled with stories spanning 500 years of marriages at court gone wrong. These mismatched marriages aren’t surprising to hear about since most of them were arranged for political or international gain, but what makes the book fun is Leslie’s spin on each of the stories that she chose for within the book.
Some of the couples you’ll know easily, such as Mary I of England and Phillip II of Spain, yet surprisingly enough though I thought I knew most of their information, I still learned a lot. Leslie seems to have a way of telling a detailed story, with humor and fact, that creates a connection with the reader on an emotional level. These people we sometimes forget were real people actually come to life on her pages and at least speaking for myself, I felt their sadness, loss, frustration, and emotion as if I knew them personally.
In a time when many still all watch the Royal Weddings and births, read the tabloid headlines of Royals while checking out groceries, and dive into knowing all the personal information of Prince William and Kate, this book gives us a gossip-eyed view of these historical disfunctional couples as if they lived among us today. However, Leslie’s writing is very top-notch, so that you must understand that her sections on each couple are filled to the brim with historical fact and highly detailed. Her vocabulary and writing level is very high and I feel that this book is for the educated reader who wants more heavy prose. It rides the fine line between being a novel that could be used for historical fiction research on any certain couple (she’s so knowledgeable she is like a walking encyclopedia) and an entertainment piece that is delightful enough to get lost in for a few hours of alone time.
It’s truly magnificent enough to really have its own History Channel series and each section is its own mini-documentary. I also adore Leslie’s own commentary within the book, and am especially partial when she is supportive of the women. Though she went in depth into each couple, I was left intrigued enough that I wanted to do my own research further.
One of my favorite sections quite surprised me, in fact. I loved her take on Bloody Mary and her sympathy to her plight. I had never been much of a Mary fan, but I understood how her loyalty to her religion and family. I didn’t realize how much she had wanted to have a baby. I also enjoyed the romp of a story about Monsieur, Philippe of France, Duc d’Orleans and Henriette-Anne as I found it quite humorous, even if slightly sad. His and her romps were so rampant I suppose my head was spinning as if I was attached to their chandelier spying and someone twirled it around.
If you enjoy historical fiction featuring Royals and elite of past centuries, then this book is the non-fiction piece for you to read alongside them. Leslie will give you the real picture in this book, as well as in her other non-fiction titles in the same vein, and create for you an entire buffet of marvelous factual frosting in which to top your fictional cake.
Inglorious Royal Marriages, Synopsis~
Why does it seem that the marriages of so many monarchs are often made in hell? And yet we can’t stop reading about them! To satisfy your schadenfreude, INGLORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES offers a panoply of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history….some of which are mentioned below.
When her monkish husband, England’s Lancastrian Henry VI, became completely catatonic, the unpopular French-born Margaret of Anjou led his army against the troops of their enemy, the Duke of York.
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.
King Charles II’s beautiful, high-spirited sister “Minette” wed Louis XIV’s younger brother, who wore more makeup and perfume than she did.
Compelled by her mother to wed her boring, jug-eared cousin Ferdinand, Marie of Roumania—a granddaughter of Queen Victoria—emerged as a heroine of World War I by using her prodigious personal charm to regain massive amounts of land during the peace talks at Versailles. Marie’s younger sister Victoria Melita wed two of her first-cousins: both marriages ultimately scandalized the courts of Europe.
Brimming with outrageous real-life stories of royal marriages gone wrong, this is an entertaining, unforgettable book of dubious matches doomed from the start.
Praise for Leslie Carroll’s Royal Books~
“An irresistible combination of People magazine and the History Channel.”—Chicago Tribune (5 Stars)
“For those who tackled Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and can’t get enough of the scandal surrounding Henry VIII’s wives, [Notorious Royal Marriages is] the perfect companion book.”—NewYorker.com
Other books in the series:
Notorious Royal Marriages
Purchase the Book, Inglorious Royal Marriages~
Leslie Carroll, Biography~
Leslie Carroll is the author of several works of historical nonfiction, women’s fiction, and, under the pen names Juliet Grey and Amanda Elyot, is a multipublished author of historical fiction. Her nonfiction titles include Royal Romances, Royal Pains, Royal Affairs, and Notorious Royal Marriages. She is also a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit, and is an award-winning audio book narrator.
A frequent commentator on royal romances and relationships, Leslie has been interviewed by numerous publications, including MSNBC.com, USA Today, the Australian Broadcasting Company, and NPR, and she was a featured royalty historian on CBS nightly news in London during the royal wedding coverage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
She also appears as an expert on the love lives of Queen Victoria, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon on the television series “The Secret Life of [fill in the name of famous figure]” for Canada’s History Channel. Leslie and her husband, Scott, divide their time between New York City and Washington, D.C.
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