Misses the Mark Feb 13, 2009
I had a hard time finishing this one. I had been waiting to read it for ages, finally got my hands on a copy at the library, and hated it.
The anecdotes are wonderful, but the book is a disorganized mess. It was an unpleasant read, to say the least. Completely unengaging, without any artistic merit whatsoever.
Also, I found it hard to take the author seriously as an historical expert. It is one thing to have an appreciation for period clothing, and wear it to gain an understanding of what daily life was like for these royal mistresses. It is quite another thing to be photographed for an allegedly academic book in said garments, and to insist upon wearing them in your personal life and for public appearances. In short, she looks like a crackpot, and it troubles me that the author would intentionally sabotage her credibility.
If you are interested in the history of famous mistresses, I would suggest Dangerous Minds by David Bodanis or England's Mistress by Kate Williams. They are richly detailed, painstakingly researched, and filled with juicy bits of history.