Sera Sera's Comments (member since Jan 03, 2008)

Sera's comments from the European Royalty group.

(showing 21-40 of 246)

Oct 06, 2010 06:36AM

2196 I'm about 3/4 through the book, and I am enjoying it very much. I'm so glad to read that I'm not the only one who doesn't think that Albert is all that. Over time, we learn that Albert is a smart man, but he's so patronizing to Victoria, and she credits him for so much, that I just didn't get it. Plus, their relationship made Victoria seem less queen-like to me. I think that she would have been a much stronger ruler without Albert in her life.

I didn't like how Albert treated Bertie at all, and I was particularly disappointed in Victoria's complete deferral of his upbringing to Albert. I found it interesting to see the consequences of their child-rearing later in the book. Also, I couldn't believe the favoritism that Albert showed toward Vicky over the other children.

I did like that Albert was able to bring Victoria's relationship with her mother back on track. But again, Plaidy intimates through Victoria that somehow their rift was Victoria's fault, too, which I didn't agree with, nor did I understand.

Overall, Victoria hasn't really done much governing in my opinion. I believe that Plaidy has portrayed Victoria in way that makes her come off as a weak ruler, bad mother and an obessive wife. For a woman who was at the epicenter of Europe, at a critical point in history, she just comes off as someone who was ineffective in most things that she did. Does anyone else feel this way while reading this book?

I have a non-fiction biography of Queen Victoria. I think that I'm going to try and read it in 2011. I'm curious to see how someone else portrays her. Until then, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this one.
Sep 24, 2010 05:46AM

2196 I'm so glad to hear that! I feel badly for Victoria's mother. I know that she's a control freak, but she really has nothing going except for her daughters. She's a rather pathetic creature, I think.

I like Uncle Leopold, too, but I haven't read far enough to see the manipulation part unfold yet. Interesting point about Arthur, too. I don't know the story behind that relationship, but the one thing about Plaidy is that she doesn't tend to exaggerate. Her storytelling tends to be more accurate than many others in this genre, so there must be some solid basis of truth, in my opinion, for Plaidy to include the way in which Arthur had been introduced to Victoria in the story.
Sep 23, 2010 09:01AM

2196 Mandy, I agree. I didn't mean to imply that slow meant boring.


I also agree that Victoria comes off as pretty cool. I think that it's hilarious that she takes pot shots at Elizabeth.

What do you make of Victoria's relationship with the King? Is Victoria's mother concerned that he will take her just because he likes her company and would like to raise her? Or, is it something more than that? I've been reading a lot of thriller-suspense books lately so I find myself becoming suspicious of certain male behaviors toward females - lol.
Sep 20, 2010 07:12PM

2196 I started this one over the weekend. I'm almost through The Wicked Uncles. It's interesting but it's started off a bit slow. I haven't read Plaidy in awhile so I believe that that's her usual trend in telling a story.

Has anyone else started this book? Queen Victoria is really at the epicenter of so much in this period of history so I'm surprised that it took me so long to really read anything about here.
Sep 04, 2010 02:16PM

2196 My pleasure, LaLatina. Yes, I was somewhat disappointed when after I had read the Rasputin book, but I didn't want to put you off from considering it. It's interesting about Maria Rasputin - have read the Robert Alexander historical fiction trilogy on the Romanovs? We read The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar in this group, which was excellent. The second one is the series is Rasputin's Daughter, which I also thought was a great read, even though it's fiction. The third book is The Romanov Bride, which I own, but I haven't had a chance to read yet.

Alexander relied heavily upon the Massie book when writing this trilogy. All of the books are short, easy reads so you might want to add them to your TBR list if interested.
Aug 30, 2010 11:22AM

2196 LaLatina, I went through my home library over the weekend, and this is the book that I had read on Rasputin The Rasputin File. It's pretty dry from what I can remember. It's basically the government files on Rasputin. I'll have to pick it up again and take a look, but I didn't want to forget that I promised you that I would check.
Aug 27, 2010 06:54AM

2196 Sara, I loved Peter the Great, both the book and the man. Even though Nicholas and Alexandra are my favorite Romanovs about which to read, Peter, to me, was the greatest Romanov of them all.
Aug 19, 2010 02:56PM

2196 Manuel, Alexandra was very close to her grandmother growing up, but it appears that once she moved to Russia, that their communications were infrequent. Is that your perception as well?

LaLatina, I have some books on Rasputin that I can recommend to you and will follow up separately. Also, yes, the picture of Rasputin freaked me out, but not as much as the description of how he made people powerless by them. He truly was a scary guy. Unfortunately, the Romanovs never saw that side of him.
Aug 17, 2010 09:13AM

2196 Manuel, do I recall correctly that Queen Victoria was in denial about her transmitting the disease to her heirs? I thought Massie might have made reference to it in his book.

In only ask because I'm not sure how much was known about the lineage issue during those times. I do agree, however, that one would think that Alexandra and Ena would have discussed the issue, but I haven't seen any evidence of it, and also, now that I think about it, I don't think that I've ever seen any documentation that supports Alexandra having any conversations of this nature with her grandmother either.
Aug 15, 2010 12:09PM

2196 Yes, I, too, became quite frustrated by the bad decision-making. If you recall, Alexander III died unexpectedly so that Nicholas took the throne as a young man. He wasn't ready to rule and we already know that he lacked the characteristics of a customary Romanov ruler. So many what ifs, aren't they? What if Alexander III would have lived for another 30 years, including through WWI? Who knows how things might have turned out. Interesting though, that the Russian dynasty wasn't the only one to fall during WWI.
Aug 15, 2010 12:06PM

2196 Manuel, I've read a number of books on Nicholas and Alexandra, including a compiliation of many of their letters, and I've never seen any mention of Alex corresponding with Ena. You raise a good point, though, and I'm thinking that part of the problem may have been that Alex wanted to keep Alexis' hemophelia a secret.
Aug 14, 2010 07:43AM

2196 Very well said, Manuel and Rebecca. Interestingly, the Russian people viewed the Tsar as God's representative, which likely made him being so fundamentally flawed as Nicholas was, disconcerting. I think that's one reason why Alexandra became a better target for the rage of the people. Massie alludes to the fact that many Russians believed that if Alexandra was out of the picture, Nicholas better handle his role. In my opinion, to some extent, they were right.
Aug 12, 2010 06:17AM


Again, Massie does a great job of giving numerous first hand accounts of Rasputin's behavior. I found the photo of Rasputin in the book to be quite chilling - those piercing eyes! Ugh.
Aug 12, 2010 06:16AM

2196 I've finished Part II and what I'm really enjoying about Massie's approach is how he gives brief but important details about the many characters who go in and out of the narrative. I'm finding that this read is the most comprehensive when it comes to Nicholas and Alexandra.
Aug 10, 2010 05:55AM


I started Part II last night, and I must say that Massie knows how to write interesting non-fiction. In my Introduction to the book, he had indicated that one reason that he had become interested in the Romanovs was because his son was a hemopheliac, like Alexis.

I've read many books about Alexandra, but not one was able to capture how the mother of a hemopheliac feels, and I think that Massie was able to do that, because of his first hand experience with the disease at home. His empathetic portrayal of Alexandra helps the reader to understand why Alexandra would latch onto someone like Rasputin for hope in helping her son. I was very moved by the chapter that expressed the despair that that poor woman felt.
Aug 10, 2010 05:50AM

2196 I continue to enjoy it, too. I started Part II last night. Although I'm very close and familiar to this story, I'm learning so many new things. Massie is a genius in both his research and his writing capabilities.
Aug 03, 2010 05:25AM

2196 That's a good one, Sara. It's based on the letters exchanged by these 3 cousins and how their relationship impacted WWI. It's really interesting, and I would recommend it. Massie is the master though, I must say.
Jul 31, 2010 08:57AM

2196 Later in Part One there's some interesting information about Nicholas' language preferences.

Sara, I, too, enjoyed all of the nicknames. The family was very intimate with each other. I also find it fascinating how the various royal families were so interconnected over Europe. I forget that as late as the early 1900s, families were still marrying for strategic reasons.
Jul 30, 2010 06:00PM

2196 About 50 pages in, and I still find that I never tire of reading this family. I often forget that it all started out as such a pure love story. It doesn't hurt that Massie is a captivating writer either.
Jul 28, 2010 06:56AM

2196 I started this last night and so far it's very much like The Flight of the Romanovs, although Massie is a much better writer. Massie's book is also much longer so I'm curious as to what extras he'll bring to the mix.

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