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Preview — Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman
Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
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...more
mistress at her peak
bastard son of king
legit son of king
sack of shit
mistress at all other times
sack of shit on fire
On the minus side, the author has a couple of quirks that I found slightly irritating. One is that she's constantly beginning sections of the book with passages like, "We imagine that the life of a royal mistress must have been glamorous, full of ..." Maybe it's just that I've read enough history to know bette ...more
It is impossible not to like a book that has the line "many men were willing to lay down thier wives for their king".
At times funny, at times surprisingly sad, this is a good book. Herman writes about the mistresses withuot making them saints. She is sympathic to husband, wife, and the other woman and the other woman's husband. While the book focuses mostly on the French, there are some really funny and strange stories. Like the one about ...more
Yes, it was considered an honor to be chosen. It came with riches, power and a shot at (occasionally) being queen. It also came with venereal disease, bastard children, crushing poverty and a pit of vipers known as the royal court.
Mistresses were not always beautiful, or thing. However, they generally offere ...more
I thought the organization of this book was detrimental to its content. Each chapter was on a theme, one aspect of the king-mistress relationship; there were also subchapters for a more granular look at the theme. Because of this, Herman ...more
Full of as much sex, intrigue, backstabbing, catcalling, fabulous on ...more
I don't know about you, but I consider sex to be very interesting. Combining sex and history sounded like an intriguing read so when I saw Sex with Kings at my local used book store I just had to have it! I was completely engrossed in this book (which hasn't happened for a long time) so I would definitely recommend this book to others. I've noticed that a lot of people dislike Eleanor Herman's organizaton of the book, but it didn't bother me. Rather than maki ...more
I have shelved the book "history," but I'm not actually sure about that. It's really more "history lite" or some other nonsensical genre. She did do some research, but she focused on a handful of women, rath ...more
Let me start off by saying it doesn't get to graphic with the details, most of the intrigue has to do with the court gossip, the jealous queens, the power plays and the extent to which the royal mistress could influence politics. There are just as many Great Love stories here as there are affairs of a lesser caliber, ...more
"Hark the herald angels sing / Mrs. Simpson stole our King!" --naughty British schoolchildren in 1936
Lively and well-researched account of the mistresses and wives of royalty. I thought this passage was especially interesting:
"It was generally accepted that bastards were more intelligent and better looking than legitimate children. The belief was that intercourse between a man and his mistress was ...more
The author mentions the relationship of the mistress to the king (more diversion than confidante), the mistress's rivalry with the queen, and the threat of younger, prettier women to the mistress's status. The title is catchy, and there are some startling ...more
An up ...more
As the author says, we all have this preconceived notion of royal mistresses; beautiful young women falling in love with kings and being hidden away ...more
At any rate, it ...more
With the exception of Madames de Pompadour and de Montespan, the reader can hardly keep anyone straight.
I spent the first half of the book flipping to the picture section in the middle of the book. As for the last half of the boo ...more
“History is so fascinating that it never has to be presented in a boring way,” she explains. “These were flesh and blood people, just like you and me, facing war and plague, falling in love, living among splendid a ...more