Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's "Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring ...
Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's "Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring poignancy, this glittering tale of passion and politics chronicles five hundred years of scintillating women and the kings who loved them. Curiously, the main function of a royal mistress was not to provide the king with sex but with companionship. Forced to marry repulsive foreign princesses, kings sought solace with women of their own choice. And what women they were! From Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, who kept her position for nineteen years despite her frigidity, to modern-day Camilla Parker-Bowles, who usurped none other than the glamorous Diana, Princess of Wales. The successful royal mistress made herself irreplaceable. She was ready to converse gaily with him when she was tired, make love until all hours when she was ill, and cater to his every whim. Wearing a mask of beaming delight over any and all discomforts, she was never to be exhausted, complaining, or grief-stricken. True, financial rewards for services rendered were of royal proportions -- some royal mistresses earned up to $200 million in titles, pensions, jewels, and palaces. Some kings allowed their mistresses to exercise unlimited political power. But for all its grandeur, a royal court was a scorpion's nest of insatiable greed, unquenchable lust, and vicious ambition. Hundreds of beautiful women vied to unseat the royal mistress. Manywould suffer the slings and arrows of negative public opinion, some met with tragic ends and were pensioned off to make room for younger women. But the royal mistress often had the last laugh, as she lived well and richly off the fruits of her "sins." From the dawn of time, power has been a mighty aphrodisiac. With diaries, personal letters, and diplomatic dispatches, Eleanor Herman's trailblazing research reveals the dynamics of sex and power, rivalry and revenge, at the most brilliant courts of Europe. Wickedly witty and endlessly entertaining, "Sex with Kings is a chapter of women's history that has remained unwritten -- until now.
Would recommen this dealer highly. Book arrived in excellent condition and on time.
Dec 10, 2009
More than it says it is
There's lots of history in this book and the companion "Sex With the Queen". I'm a history buff but I still found information I didn't already know, and it puts royal affairs into their contexts and eras.
Mar 13, 2009
Fun to read!
Quite entertaining! I love history. My favorite is David McCullough. This was a fun and titillating read!
Feb 13, 2009
Misses the Mark
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.
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