This memoir is brilliant. The premise and that it actually occurred makes it even more haunting and absorbing. The thread if the plot is that not ever...moreThis memoir is brilliant. The premise and that it actually occurred makes it even more haunting and absorbing. The thread if the plot is that not everything is as it seems. Not all impairments are a result of mental disease but can be purely medical. The theme throughout is that even in ones darkest hours, they are still human, whether they suffer from this disease, a mental disease, a mental handicap, or simply old age. The human, the person is still there.
This story illustrates that our bodies are not completely ours and that small changes or triggers can change everything forever in a very short period if time.
I heavily recommend this to anyone who likes a good, quick read but also is interested in human nature and dynamics. (less)
Another require readings for my History of Medieval England course. A little slow, but alas, it's about one of the largest military campaigns in histo...moreAnother require readings for my History of Medieval England course. A little slow, but alas, it's about one of the largest military campaigns in history, and the last successful invasion of the Isle of England. And for someone who's Norman Conquest knowledge is based almost entirely on the Bayeux Tapestry (my English history wheelhouse begins with Henry II), this was certainly more of an eye opener. (less)
The Great and Infamous Whore has been recast. The incomparable Alison Weir does it again which is impressive considering just how little about Mary su...moreThe Great and Infamous Whore has been recast. The incomparable Alison Weir does it again which is impressive considering just how little about Mary survives.
I was a little nervous about this biography due to how short it was, but considering how little is known about Mary in comparison to her more illustrious sister and perhaps due to Boleyn suppression of her more notorious moments, it made more sense. As always, Weir's work is comprehensive and well worded and defended.
What I found most interesting was her defense that one of Mary's children could have very well been fathered by Henry VIII but that the daughter, Katherine Carey and perhaps even Elizabeth I who was extremely close to her, may not have known about this at all.
I would highly recommend this to any Tudor fan, Boleyn fan, or English history fan. It's a worthy addition to my growing Weir library. (less)
Oh dear. I was looking foreward to this so much because 1.) Catherine de' Medici was an amazing intelligent de facto ruler of France for some 30 years...moreOh dear. I was looking foreward to this so much because 1.) Catherine de' Medici was an amazing intelligent de facto ruler of France for some 30 years and Diane de Poitiers was an epic mistress to King Henri II so I thought this would be about the relationship between Catherine, Diane and Henri and how they all dealt with one another. But I'm sorry to say I learned nothing more about Catherine than I already knew other than how she bounced around convents for her protection as a child. Even the information about Diane is short, scattered, and reptitive throughout what I would call a biography of Francios I and Henri II. While I understand that Diane and Catherine were parts of Francios' court there's more information about him in this book than about the two women who are supposed to be the main topics. While Francios is a fantastic topic and definitely a man worth a biography, that's not why I bought this book. Another problem I had is the obvious, blatant skewing of bias against Catherine. H.R.H Princess Michael is a descendant from both Catherine and Diane (since those two were cousins) but she's firmly in Diane's party. She says in her author's note that's because she has a fascination with black and white a la Diane. While I would usually find this very cool that a person is identifing with her ancestor, yet I kept thinking throughout this book that if Princess Michael could she wouldn't want to be related to Catherine at all. While she does call Catherine intelligent and clever, she still calls her fat, ugly and all she can do is "hate and wait". Diane, while she was a good person, is portrayed as a Saint of France, Catherine is portrayed as the disfigured merchant's daughter. It's really quite sad.
If this was a book based on the reigns of Francios and Henri, it deliviered. It's well written, the details and research are impeccible. However, it was to be a book about Catherine and Diane and in that it failed. If you want to learn about these two interesting women of history, I'd try another book. (less)
I'm always looking for new women from history to study and learn about, always looking for that magical one that will be the focus of my future work i...moreI'm always looking for new women from history to study and learn about, always looking for that magical one that will be the focus of my future work in history. Queen Marie was originally introduce to me in Sex with the Queen by Eleanor Herman. The story of her not being allowed to be knocked out when giving birth because of the restrictions she was under due to her uncle and current king fascinated me. And it helped that she was one of the granddaughters of Queen Victoria. This was a very easy biography to read, but that might be mainly because it's the most modern (in terms of the subject) I've read. I really enjoyed the author's unrelenting honesty about Marie. She was flighty and vain but she wasn't arrogant in the snobby sort of way, she was simply very naive. Marie is very endearing as a character and she becomes real through her struggles with her husband and children. She becomes alive with her love for her adoptive Roumania. I've always been fascinated by those crafy Eastern European countries and their people and this was a great look in on them through the eyes of their most beloved queen. A beautifully haunting biography of a beautifully sad woman. (less)