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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Princess The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II by Jane Dismore

By Ministry of Information official photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, I found this book a bit dull except for some interesting snippets of gossip, such as whether the Queen Mother was nicknamed 'Cookie' because she was really the daughter of a French cook and Edward VIII's attraction to the Nazi's. (You only have to look at the Queen Mother with her mother to see that this is not true). The book became livelier when Prince Phillip started courting the Princess.

It's certainly well-researched and worth reading if you like to read about the Royals or biographies in general.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Playing to the Gods Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, and the Rivalry that Changed Acting Forever by Peter Rader

Mark Twain once said, 'There are five kinds of actresses, bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actresses -- and then there is Sarah Bernhardt'. The very name still fascinates many people. This charismatic and beautiful actress was courted by royalty, inspired works of art and stunned her eager audience with her antics, such as travelling with a chimpanzee named Darwin, having a pet alligator which drank champagne and sleeping in a coffin. She loved publicity.

Eleanora Duse was the opposite of Sarah in several ways. The shy actress kept away from publicity, was rather reclusive, and she liked a more natural form of acting rather than Sarah's artificial posing, which was rapidly becoming dated. However, she was just as ambitious, if not more, seeking to grab the limelight from the 'Divine Sarah' at every opportunity.

This is an enjoyable book to read, sympathetic to both great women, but not sentimental and always interesting. It is a must-read for history and lovers of the arts!

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

EDITION        Other Format
ISBN               9781476738376
PRICE             $26.00 (USD)

Friday, August 10, 2018

A History of France by John Julius Norwich

This is a whirlwind tour through the history of France. Although the writing is
Lively, and I enjoyed some sections, such as the story of the beautiful Eleanor of Aquitaine,
There was just too much information. It is useful if you want a basic history and introductory information on an era, but I found it difficult to read much of the book at a time. I didn’t finish
This one, unfortunately.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Blog Tour for The Art of Royal Poison by Eleanor Herman.

Welcome to my review for the blog tour of The Art of Royal Poison by Eleanor Herman, published by the wonderful St Martin's Press.

Eleanor Herman

A Devious and Arcane Art

As the French King Henry IV went to receive Holy Communion, his dog suddenly started barking loudly.  The wise King immediately thought that something was wrong and decided not to drink from the Chalice.  He was right!   An evil Cardinal had hoped to poison him.

Others were neither so wise nor so lucky.  Eleanor Herman tells many stories of Royals who were probably poisoned, such as the beautiful Agnes Sorrel, mistress of  Henry VI , who was found to have died after suffering from a huge amount of mercury and  the charming sister of Charles II who was thought to have been poisoned by her husband. Some even poisoned themselves accidentally like Charles 11 who played with his dangerous alchemy experiments in his laboratory too many times, or some of the women who actually wore cosmetics filled with lead and arsenic.. 

This fascinating, well-researched and well-written book will take away any fanciful ideas of travelling back in time, even as a royal! Life really was ‘nasty, brutish and short,’ no matter how glamorous it looks in movies about royalty. If you were not in danger of being poisoned by mercury, arsenic, or another nasty substance, you could die from a terrible disease often caused by the filthy living conditions of the era, such as cholera and typhoid. Until relatively late in the nineteenth century, cholera was believed to have been caused by germs in the air.

I enjoyed much of this book, but I found some of it difficult to read because it was either too gruesome and creepy or the story of the dirt was too revolting! I hope to read more books by Eleanor Herman.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.
Eleanor Herman

EDITION    Other

Format        ISBN9781250140869

PRICE         $27.99 (USD)

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Review for Blog Tour Tomorrow!

I will be taking part in the blog tour for The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman tomorrow!