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In Triumph's Wake: Royal Mothers, Tragic Daughters, and the Price They Paid for Glory

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  430 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
The powerful and moving story of three royal mothers whose quest for power led to the downfall of their daughters.

Queen Isabella of Castile, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and Queen Victoria of England were respected and admired rulers whose legacies continue to be felt today. Their daughters—Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England; Queen Marie Antoinette of France; and V
ebook, 432 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by St. Martin's Press (first published November 25th 2008)
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Jan 21, 2016 Jesten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very educational book, but the lack of personality got to me. I've learned more from historical fiction. I appreciate the accuracy, but I miss the fun in history.
This book really disappointed me. I enjoyed Gelardi's first work (Born to Rule) and thought the idea of studying the relationships between three Queen regnants and their consort daughters who had tragedy in common was extremely interesting. However, the book has a serious lack of depth - not in research, but in the way the topic was discussed.

The first part of the book is dedicated to Queen Isabella 'La Católica' of Castille and her daughter Catherine of Aragon, the first of Henry VIII's six wi
Sep 25, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian, royals
I haven't read any nonfiction in awhile so I was ready for a light one. This really hit the spot. It tells the story of 3 pairs of mother and daughters (Isabella of Castile and Catherine of Aragon, Maria Theresa of Austria and Marie Antoinette of France; Victoria of England and Vicky of Prussia) and how their lives were similar yet different. If you want an in-depth study of the women involved, you probably want to read a biography of that lady. This book is sort of a quick dip in each of their ...more
Aug 11, 2009 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I confess I didn't learn much but this book would be an excellent introduction to these six women. The jacket cover had me ready for a full comparison between the mothers and daughters (Isabella of Castile and Catherine of Aragon; Maria Theresa of the Hapsburg Empire and Marie Antoinette; Queen Victoria and Vicky, Empress of Prussia) but it disappointed in that regard. The author gave short biographies on each of the women with casual mention of 'like her mother before her' or 'stubborn li ...more
Apr 06, 2013 Danar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book a little lengthy and boorish at times. She could have shown us more how remarkable these women were instead of just telling us. She often just glossed over some of the most interesting part trying to fit to much into a small concise book. I would have loved it more if this book had just focused on Queen Isabella and her daughters. Juana la loca is just as interesting as Catherine of Aragon in my book. It was sad that the writer just breezed through her story, claiming that Ca ...more
Lee Woody
A fabulous read about three strong female rulers and their daughters' role in history. I was struck by the similarities between Isabella of Spain, Marie Therese of Austria, and Victoria of England. All came to power as young women with very little preperation for the role, all were devout ladies who held strong convictions, and yet all ruled with dignity and respect. All made profound marks on the direction the world would move in during their life times. Intriquing that all three had daughters ...more
Jill Hutchinson
I did not like this book as well as I expected I would. It is the biography of three strong Queens/Empresses and their tragic daughters: (1)Queen Isabella of Castile/Catherine of Aragon (Queen of England); (2)Empress Maria Theresa of Austria/Queen Marie Antoinette of France: and (3)Queen Victoria of England and the Empire/Empress Frederick of Germany (Vicky). Each of these mothers, for political reasons, pushed their daughters into marital alliances that resulted in disaster. I think I was looki ...more
It's not really a memoir, although there is plenty of biographical info included. Gelardi does an interesting job of comparing/contrasting the mother and daughter in each pair *and* comparing/contrasting the three pairs. There's a fair amount of analysis about why each woman was successful (or not).

It's striking that each mother was a highly successful Queen Regent, while each daughter suffered tragedy as a Queen Consort. I found the section about Marie Theresa & her daughter Marie Antoinett
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Mar 16, 2016 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-history
I enjoyed this book about three reigning women and their famous daughters. I read the sample and bought the Ebook (at full price) and read it immediately. I don't have much to say beyond the title which says it all. The Mothers in this book achieved much glory and are still revered today. They each had daughters who could not live up to the mothers reputation and had tragic life/marriages. Catherine of Aragon and Marie Antoinette are the most famous today and Vicky (Empress Frederick) is famous ...more
Rebecca Huston
While this one is an interesting look at three mother-daughter royal relationships, this was not exactly a book that I enjoyed much. I've already read other, much better, books on the same topic. Maybe your experience will be different than mine.

To read a more complete review, please go here:
Jul 15, 2014 Bekah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very well written and was set up with thought. I enjoyed the notes and content in the front and back giving us information (such as the generality chart-and her ending remarks tying the book all together. I feel like a lot of times the authors start their thoughts but they leave it up to the reader to try and figure out the authors point or what they wish people to derive from their book)

I did kind of wish that she spent less time on the mothers and more time on the daughters
Lois Clark-Johnston
Queen Isabella of Castile and her daughter, Catherine of Aragon first wife of the infamous King Henry VIII.
Queen Victoria of England and her daughter, Vicky the Empress Frederick of Germany.
Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and her infamous daughter Marie Antoinette Queen of France.
Did the ambitions of these strong female monarchs push their daughters into political situations that were well over their head? Clearly they did make marriages.
I hadn't really thought about the connections in this book before, obvious though they are. It was fascinating to read about the relationships between the mother's and their daughters. I did think the author was perhaps too sympathetic to Queen Isabella in particular, and I thought Marie Antoinette got short shrift. Regardless, a nice approach to this aspect of history.
Dec 05, 2014 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was okay fluff history, and the comparative device was interesting. What I found sort of grating was the author's tendency to quote secondary sources frequently and at length. It just seems weird to me in a work of history -- citing secondary sources, sure, but quoting directly from them seems very odd. It undermined credibility, I would rather hear either her words or primary sources.
Oct 05, 2010 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terribly tragic - The mothers were successful monarchs, born to their thrones, and the daughters were consorts who suffered tremendous emotional pain at the hands of husband, revolutionaries or even their children.

The thing I love most about Gelardi's works is her ability to soften history and make it personally affecting. Her works feel like a novel with the footnotes to support the history.
Feb 19, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book; it's actually quite unique. It takes three mother/daughter pairs, all of whom become queen (the the last, Vicky, aka the Empress Fredrick, only for 99 days, so never actually crowned...). Very well researched and very enjoyable. Recommended for lovers of historical ladies.
Mar 26, 2013 Destiny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book discusses Isabella of Castile & her daughter Catherine of Aragon, Empress Maria Theresa & her daughter the ill-fated Marie Antoinette, and Queen Victoria & her daughter Vicky. It was a very short biography and if you've read about any of the monarchs previously it is mostly a review. However, I enjoyed how the book would bring up similarities that one pair had with another.
Mar 08, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: royalty
Pretty good. It was an excellent idea to present the Queen's--and their daughter's--lives in this way. Book is divided into 3 parts, successively and increasingly interesting because we know more about Marie Antoinette and Queen Victoria than Isabella of Castille. Well-documented and well-planned.
Fascinating subject; writing is good; it drags in places because of too much detail. The epilogue starts with this great quote: "Grief and pain come alike to all; broken hearts are to be found in palaces as well as in cottages ..." The Empress Frederick, 1888. (Book Club Sept 2014)
Jan 07, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well worth the time. I've read another of Gelardi's books and found this one to be a better read. I didn't learn too much new information about Isabella, Catherine, Victoria, and Vicky, but did learn quite about Maria Teresia and Marie Antoinette.
Sadly, Gelardi doesn't develop the connections between her subjects much beyond "they are similar." Overall, I was looking for a little more depth - it's a fascinating concept, but the surface treatment combined with a little too much historian's remove made it somewhat less than I'd hoped for.
Jul 09, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just the kind of human history I love.
Tina Michelle
Jul 22, 2011 Tina Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely read. I like Julia Gelardi, her books are informative without being heavy or too dry.
didn't read was very textbookie.if that is a word.
Feb 07, 2009 Al rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the book. Story of Queen Isabella and Catherine of Aragon were probably the slowest read. Overall though, engrossing stories.
Aug 02, 2011 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good book about three mothers who were strong rulers and their daughters who never quite lived up to their potential. A wonderful study of mother and daughter relationships.
The author's previous book, 'Born to Rule' was a great fascinating read, I was looking forward to reading this title. But as it turns out I didn't connect or enjoy this book.
interesting correlations between pairs of royal mother/daughters; not quite as good as her last book (Born to Rule)
Dec 31, 2015 Karyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as her other books, I skimmed parts since I felt I was rereading chapters. Other than that I would still recommend reading anything by her since I feel she does an excellent job.
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