Lorraine's Reviews > The Kings' Mistresses: The Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna, and Her Sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin

The Kings' Mistresses by Elizabeth C. Goldsmith
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Feb 12, 12

bookshelves: z2012, european, i-own-it, firstreads, nonfiction
Read from February 08 to 12, 2012

I did not read the write-up for this book very carefully and was expected historical fiction. Instead, it is a biography of two women who were "the first media celebrities...the first to print [their] life stor[ies] under [their] own name[s]...the first divorce case to be aired in teh media...the first women to travel for pleasure, adventure, and escape" (ARC page 225). There is certainly a lot of material for a whole series of historical fiction novels here (Philippa Gregory or Hollywood should take note), because scandal, intrigue, and romance abound. Instead of really getting to know the women on a personal level, though, the book is more of a Coles notes' version of their story, told in third person narrative with excerpts from their own letters and those of their contemporaries -- all inserted in good scholarly fashion. It's a bit dry, but it does move along at a good pace and I was able to read it within two days. (Good thing or I may not have finished it for months.)
The one question about their story that was never answered for me, though, was why were their husbands so determined to bring back their wayward wives, whom they did not love and only abused, in the first place?

This review was posted as part of the GoodReads FirstReads program.
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