Sara Sheehy's Reviews > Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge

Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman
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Feb 19, 09

Read in February, 2009

'Sex with Kings' is a pretty fascinating look at a part of history that is usually swept under the rug or not taken seriously. It was particularly interesting to me to learn about the roles that some mistresses played in policy making and wars.

I rated the book a three due to Eleanor Herman's writing style. Her actual sentence structure and meter I found easy and enjoyable to read. Her organization, however, was horrendous. There are two ways she could have organized this book - 1) by following each mistress (or each king) through their lives and discussing similarities to other mistresses, etc or 2) picking out parts of a mistresses life and using examples from mistresses across time and place. She chose the latter. The issue with this is kings all have similar names, and mistresses have both a given name and a "royal" name. Eleanor uses both interchangeably. With the exception of two mistresses talked about frequently in the book (Lady Castlemaine and Madame du Pompadour) I couldn't keep the rest straight. Towards the end I just read it for what it was - confusing and whirlwind - and stopped worrying about piecing together individual mistresses lives. I would have preferred she write it in the first organizational way listed above.

If you're looking for a good, scandalous read about past (and present) royality, this book is it. However, if you're a reader who likes order and logical organization, this book'll drive you bonkers.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura What do you think of this book? Is it historical fiction or nonfiction? I am fascinated by scandalous relationships in history....


Sara Sheehy It's non-fiction. I just wrote a review (above) - I'm not sure I'd recommend it. I can't say it was a bad book, I thoroughly enjoyed it - but it wasn't well written.


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