Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book 31: Royal Pains

Royal Pains is a book that highlights different royals or nobility that didn’t act with a certain sense of decorum and were the bane of their family and their reputations. Some of the profiles seemed to be a much more of a royal pain then others.

I never expected to purchase this book. I was in Philly and was ready to start a new book, anticipated that I would use my EReader but that failed to turn on. So I ran to the Drexel bookstore (since I was on campus and didn’t want to spend too much time trying to get one).  Royal Pains caught my eye since it sounded interesting.  Plus while I was there, I got myself a cute little t-shirt from my alma mater.

I adore the balance that Leslie Carrol has between readable narratives and being well researched. I love that. So many non-fiction books are just dry if they are informative and well research or the line starts to be blurred with historical fiction. I loved how there was a multi-page selected bibliography and there were books/authors I’ve respected over the years. Some of the books in the bibliography have made their way to my to-read list.

I learned some unusual things in this book. First was the more graphic details involved with Vlad the Impaler’s impaling. There was a specific way they went on.  Second, I’m ineligible to become Queen of England due to my religion and so would be my husband. Yet if the kids are raised as Protestant, they would be in line for the throne. This is of course if the Queen approves of the wedding which isn’t necessarily going to happen. I knew after the succession wars between the Catholics and Protestants got messy but I didn’t realized it got written into law that Catholics couldn’t rule. Third, a form of capital punishment in Hungary was to slice open a horse’s stomach then sew in a gypsy woman into the stomach and wait for both to expire while the gypsy tries to claw out. Even worse, they let a small child watch this.  While I know in that age and culture, it probably wasn’t that uncommon or even considered to be damaging to watch punishments like this but I’m sure it helped to create the “Bloody Countess”. Also, this was one of things that were that got neglected in at the Torture museum that I went to in Prague. 

My biggest gripe about this book is how some of the royals didn’t seem that bad. Then again, while I realize for a royal family especially in the post Victorian age, a sex scandal can seem like a big deal. But they are a dime a dozen anymore. So I’m not sure having sex scandals or mimicking the queen really compares to the more violent types or the ones who try steal crown.  

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