Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: "Royal Romances" by Leslie Carroll

Hello, hello.

I don't usually read non-fiction (unless it is particularly riveting) but I have particular interest in European royalty, so I gladly picked up Leslie Carroll's most recent non-fiction.

Like many, I am pretty enamored of the goings-on of history’s royal families and I'll even admit that I got up at 5am in the morning to watch the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In Royal Romances, Ms. Carroll delves into this well-loved subject with fervor. Twelve royals are profiled: from the rather obscure Charles VII of France to modern-day Prince William of Wales (hoorah!). Each section features an introduction to the era and the royal in question, followed by individual passages on the women or men involved in the romance.

Overall, the entries make for fascinating reading, though at times there is a little too much detail. As a result, the pace sometimes slows to a crawl. And with the exception of the entries on England’s George VI and Prince William, all of the romances discussed focus on affairs with both suitable and unsuitable paramours. While salaciousness makes for fun reading, only a few imperial love matches can be found in history. Counterbalancing the torrid passions of the nobility with some good old-fashioned “Happily Ever After” would have made this book really shine.

Nonetheless, Leslie Carroll knows her subject and handles it well. Those obsessed with the back door romantic dealings of Europe’s royalty will find treasure in Royal Romances.

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