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The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  114 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a sweeping historical novel of Mexico during the short, tragic, at times surreal, reign of Emperor Maximilian and his court. Even as the American Civil War raged north of the border, a clique of Mexican conservative exiles and clergy convinced Louis Napoleon to invade Mexico and install the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian von Habsbu ...more
ebook, 446 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Unbridled Books (first published May 1st 2009)
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Richard Derus
Rating: A sad, sorry 2* of five

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo is an unsuccessful attempt to nnovelize a fascinating non-fictional research project: The French occupation of Mexico during the American Civil War.

The novelization attempt was made because, the author tells us, the non-fictional format would have prevented her from giving her take on what the characters in these events would have thought and felt. I agree, Ms. Mayo; why didn't you do that, then? The scattershot po
May 29, 2016 Petra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy-going read. The book is a history book written as a novel and, as such, loses some sharpness as to purpose. The author states, in an epilogue, that she wrote this as a fiction in order to be able to bring the people and "their heart" into the book. In that, she fails. The conversations and thoughts of these people in this book do not bring the people to life or add in any way to this interesting period of history.
This is an interesting story, though. It's not one I've heard of before bu
Jan 11, 2011 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A European monarchy in Mexico--who knew?

There's an emperor who has to resign his place in the House of Hapsburg to rule in Mexico and cares more about botany and his bug collection than fighting the Juaristas and securing Mexico; an empress who sinks into insanity, won't eat because she's convinced everything is poisoned, and acts the lunatic while visiting the Pope in Rome; then there's the central story of Augustin de Iturbide y Green--the half-American, half-Mexican toddler that Maximillian
JennyB Wolfer
Apr 04, 2011 JennyB Wolfer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was historical fiction, and in such, you expect a certain broad brushed artistic license. Turns out, even the minute conversations were historically accurate. Very interesting, and reading while living in Mexico City, found it very true to the location, the culture, and the politics.
Paul Cool
Feb 12, 2016 Paul Cool rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the oddest episode in Mexico’s history is the French Emperor Napoelon III’s imposition of a French army-propped Habsburg emperor in the mid-1860s, a military adventure against the democratically elected government of Benito Juarez. Napoleon’s intervention was made possible by the US’s inability to respond to this violation of the Monroe Doctrine during its Civil War with the Confederacy. To make a long story short, the underestimation of the Mexican nation’s persevering will to fight for ...more
Nov 28, 2010 Felice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
could have picked up The Last Prince of Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo because of the lovely cover but I didn't. It was the title. It has a magical quality. I took it to be a metaphor for something because I was unaware of Mexico ever having had a prince. Chalk that up to my weak education and the Prince not being mentioned in the movie Juarez.

In 1864 His Imperial and Royal Highness Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, Prince Imperial and Archduke of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia and his wif
Jan 15, 2015 Adrian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Después de leer el gran libro "Noticas del imperio" busque algo por el estilo, me encontré con "El ultimo príncipe del imperio mexicano" en Kindle, y no pase de la dedicatoria, la verdad es muy radical juzgar un libro sin leerlo, pero no pase de la dedicatoria al ver dedicada la obra a "Agustin Carstens" uno de los iconos representativos del clásico político mexicano, que tan fregado tiene a este país, ya nada mas por eso supe de que lado masca la iguana y no pienso leerlo.
I started this book in August, put it down many times, and finished it in November. I'm really not sure why I kept going. The topic- the 1860s installation of a Hapsburg emperor to the Mexican throne- intrigued me as I am pretty good with European history but had not heard about this. The complexity is confounding. A group of wealthy Mexicans wanting to preserve the status quo in the face of Juarista reforms manages to convince Louis Napoleon to establish an empire in Mexico. HOWEVER, there are ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Interesting spotlight on a little known aspect of the doomed reign of Maximillian and Charlotte in Mexico. I enjoyed learning more about that time and reliving hours I spent at Chapultepec Castle. However, unless you are from Mexico or really into Mexican history, I don't think it would be worth the read.
Margaret Sankey
Unable to have their own little Habsburg, Maximilian and Carlota adopted/kidnapped the grandson of Augustin Iturbide to threaten Franz Joseph and placate the Mexican elite--this is a nicely done novel using his American mother's struggle to get him back to frame the collapse of the Mexican Empire.
Sheila rood
Jun 19, 2011 Sheila rood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy learning new things about mexico.

The characters were interesting and well rounded. Although this being a historical novel it in no way diminished the richness of description. It was easy for me to get lost in the time and lives of the people.
Sep 18, 2010 Lora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful historical novel about the fascinating Mexican Emperor, Maximilian. Although he vowed as a 12-year old, "I shall not forget who I truly am," he lost his identity along his political climb and a complicated marriage to Charlotte.
Jennifer Redmond
I loved this book! I really felt I was transported to the time and place, and that I really got to know these people. And what characters they were! Actual living breathing humans, unlike characters in most historical fiction.
Luis Zamarro Fraile
En esta novela histórica C.M. Mayo desarrolla los eventos que tuvieron lugar en México durante el imperio de Maximiliano de Habsburgo y Carlota de Bélgica. En particular, enfatiza la adopción que hizo la pareja imperial respecto del nieto del libertador Agustín de Iturbide y las peculiaridades de la familia Iturbide, su paso por las más altas esferas políticas y de reconocimiento social, hasta el declive y pobreza absoluta. Realmente es interesante la perspectiva abordada por C.M. Mayo en este l ...more
Paige Curtis
Jan 07, 2015 Paige Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Especially wonderful while living here in Mexico city, a bit dry at times but clearly gives a historical fictional perspective on Mexico during Maximillion and Carlotta's reign
University of Chicago Magazine
Catherine Mansell “C. M.” Mayo, AB’82, AM’85

From our pages (July–Aug/09): "Mayo’s debut novel, based on a true story, is set in Emperor Maximilian von Habsburg’s court in Mexico during the mid-19th century. In 1865 the childless Maximilian took custody of two-year-old Prince Agustín de Iturbide, grandson of the country’s first emperor and son of a Mexican diplomat and an American socialite. His parents almost immediately regretted their decision, but Maximilian refused to return the child,
What an enjoyable book! I read it in Spanish, and being mexican myself I can tell that it was a real pleasure. You can tell there is a huge research behind it, and a great respect for Mexico, its history and its people, which is not always seen in foreign writers' books about Mexico. It is written as a fiction, not as an historical document, and it takes you through one of the most captivating periods of Mexican life as a nation. The description of the main characters is absolutely beautiful, an ...more
May 05, 2009 Serena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C.M. Mayo takes an in-depth look into one of Mexico's most turbulent times when its government was plagued by invaders (the Yankees and the French), in-fighting, and disease, like yellow fever.

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo and published by Unbridled Books is a historical novel that chronicles the short reign (about 3 years) of Maximilian, the undercurrent of political ambition, the clash of cultures, and internal familial machinations.

The novel opens in Washington, D.C., wit
May 03, 2009 Myckyee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on a true story, this novel describes the events surrounding Maximilian’s time as emperor of Mexico in the 1860’s. With his wife Carlotta, the emperor rules the unstable country amidst intrigues from Napoleon’s military machine that have been sent to Mexico to keep the peace and support Maximilian. The military’s biggest challenge is dealing with the Juarista’s, rebel Mexican fighters trying to take back their country from the emperor and the French occupation.

Into this turbulence falls A
May 08, 2010 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit to a woeful lack of knowledge about Mexico's history. That is part of what drew me to this book in the first place. Being someone who is drawn to historical novels but who usually chooses books written about European countries this was going to be a learning experience for me.

I am so very glad I decided to learn as I have found a new favorite book.

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire tells the tale of Augustin de Inturbide y Green and so much more. After the French had invaded a
Nov 03, 2009 Garryvivianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book. The story is based on the time in Mexico when Maximillian Von Habsburg was sent to Mexico to rule the country. He has been forced to take this position & give up all he had in Austria, and was basically forced to sign a pact with his family to reflect this. He & Carlotta, unable to have children, take in small Agustin De Iturbide as heir presumptive. The young Iturbide, whose mother is an American & his father, who belonged to a family from Mexico that was ...more
I picked out The Last Prince because of the cover - it's beautiful. The story made me so sad for the poor little boy, looking for the familiar faces of his parents, his nurse; wondering where they were. I had a hard time imagining how they could give him up - I could never give up my little man. At least not till he's a sullen, rebellious teenager, lol!

The story's characters & motivations are complex, as I hope it should be for those who've contemplated giving up a toddler (sniffle). Can you
Jun 22, 2013 Alfredo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: histórica
Sin duda alguna, un libro que genera grandes expectativas —más aún si, en la cuarta de forros, se reproduce un comentario de Enrique Krauze, que compara este libro con El seductor de la patria y con Noticias del Imperio— pero que, por desgracia, no cumple con ellas. Aun cuando la recreación del contexto es acuciosa y, por lo general, limpia, el libro termina por incluir un montón de información inútil que, o repite innecesariamente en varias ocasiones, o integra solo por el placer de hacerlo, si ...more
Es un libro con una trama lenta pero muy rico en detalles históricos que, dificilmente aprenderíamos en la escuela o en la cotidianidad de alguna charla histórica.

Desconocía por completo que Maximiliano de Habsburgo, junto con Carlota, hubieran adoptado al nieto de Agustín de Iturbide. Me pareció un dato interesante y que en base a ello surgiera toda una novela.

No tengo mucha experiencia leyendo novela histórica, y me costó digerirla. Sin embargo he de admitir que está muy bien escrita y sí re
Sep 04, 2012 Kerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a well researched book about Mexico in the mid-19th century, that gives some very interesting color to an unusual period in history. I went into the book only knowing a few things about this period of Mexico's history, about the origins and demise of the short lived empire. A fascinating book, even if at times it dragged a bit under the weight of historical references and information. But what can you expect? Mayo found a treasure of new information and it was necessary to include it -- ...more
Apr 07, 2010 Luz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Came into it with high expectations and was a bit let down. The history was very interesting and something I was not that familiar with but it soon got bogged down with so many characters that came and went and really didn't seem to add much to the story. All of a sudden some pages after, they would reappear and I would need to go back and see who exactly they were.

It was a very long book and it seemed the writer got tired after a while and decided simply to stop and finish.
Dec 18, 2009 Teddy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
Historical fiction is my passion, however I have never read any based on Mexican history. In fact, I know very little about Mexican history so I was very excited when I got the chance to receive a review copy of this book!

C.M. Mayo is a gifted writer and kept Mexican history at the forefront of this novel, with some beautiful passages. However, I had trouble

Read my full review here:
Feb 27, 2016 Allen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story and a good read. My only complaint is that the copy editor apparently went on vacation halfway through.
Carmen Amato
Dec 01, 2012 Carmen Amato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-about-mexico
This book brings to life the abortive reign of Maxmilian as emperor of Mexico, a little-discussed part of Mexican history. The author obviously did painstaking research into the history of the event and provides so many detail about life in the emperor's court, the intrigues, etc. A bit long but fascinating and worth a read if interested in history and Mexico.
Jan 19, 2011 Shari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually enjoy historical fiction and this one is intricate and vivid and detailed but I also found this story – of the Hapsburg rule of Mexico (1865) – fairly boring …there was a lot (well) written but not much happened!

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C.M. Mayo is the author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire , as well as the widely-lauded travel memoir, Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico , and Sky Over El Nido , which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is also the editor of Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion , which was published by Whereabouts Pres ...more
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