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Royal Romances: Titillating Tales of Passion and Power in the Palaces of Europe
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Royal Romances: Titillating Tales of Passion and Power in the Palaces of Europe

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  280 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
More breathtaking than any fairy tale, these real-life romances span seven scandalous, seductive centuries of all-for-love royal desire...

Elegant palaces, dazzling power plays, shimmering jewels, and the grandest of all-or-nothing gambles--nothing can top real-life love among the royalty. Louis XIV defied God and law, permitting his married mistress Madame de Montespan to
Paperback, 442 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by Berkley Books
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This was extremely readable and fun. The author chooses salacious gossip over fact which was disappointing. This book is suggested by history, not an actual non-fiction historical book.
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Leslie Carroll is well on her way to officially becoming THE “notorious Royal” historian when it comes to non-fiction on royal couples of past and present. I quickly became hooked on her series and practically devoured both: Notorious Royal Marriages (my review) and, Royal Pains (my review). Today’s release of ROYAL ROMANCES, is no exception. Upbeat, detailed and spot-on, Carroll delivers an excellent account of some of the royal romances that still intrigue us even today.

Meticulously researched
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: europe, history, nonfic
Alright, so at times the author went on too long about the circumstances of monarchs, which I sometimes didn't care very much for. I also think, that (as with many history books) there was a disproportionate number of French and English monarchs represented, when I'm sure there were equally interesting events happening throughout the continent.

However, some of the romances were either new to me or unfamiliar enough that I found myself extremely interested in the events and fallout. The Madame de
Probably my new second-favorite Leslie Carroll compilation ("Notorious Royal Marriages" still takes the cake for me). I just love her historical relationship profiles.
Didn't find most of the couples to be romances at all. Like, I accept romance as people being in love but some of the couples here weren't at all, or just one side of them was and the other was taking advantage of it.

Only liked the Prince William and Kate Middleton and Catherine the Great and Potemkin parts. The other ones were meh partly because I don't like reading about adultery and because of what I said before. Not sure I will be reading the author's Notorious Royal Marriages if it is as u
Dawn Leicester
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I almost finished this mainly because I hate giving up part of the way through a book but I couldn't finish it. There were some entertaining and interesting chapters - I particularly enjoyed the one about Napoleon and Marie Waleska but the chapters about Louis XIX and XV and their various paramours were so bound up in minutiae and went on for so long that I began to regret the time I was spending on it.
The quote: In a world where marriages were arranged for political and dynastic reasons, the lover in a true royal romance is the person the sovereign or concert would likely have selected as a spouse, had he or she been permitted the choice. - Leslie Carroll

I enjoyed this but it felt terribly long winded. I was only reading it intermittently and found that it was more than occasionally putting me to sleep.
The more interesting romances for me were definitely the ones where it was a queen or woman
I loved this book.

The little quote on the cover from the Chicago Tribune says that Leslie Carroll writes "with verve and wit", and I have to agree wholeheartedly- Carroll's writing style is very engaging, and it kept me consistently interested all throughout the book.

Part of the book's wit wasn't even in Carroll's writing, but in the choices she made about what details to include, and her own humorous commentary on it. For instance, during Lola Montez's chapter, she's quoting a letter that Lola
Caroline Wilson
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
*Original reviewed for the Historical Novel Society.

The goings-on of history’s royal families are of perennial interest to those not lucky enough to born a prince or princess. In Royal Romances, author Leslie Carroll delves into this well-loved subject with fervor. Twelve royals are profiled: from the rather obscure Charles VII of France to modern-day Prince William of Wales. Each section features an introduction to the era and the royal in question, followed by individual passages on the women
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nice to be able to jump around. Haven't finished between Sophia Dorothea of Celle and Caroline Mathilde, Queen of Denmark (156 pages), which includes Louis XV and Catherine the Great of Russia. Sometimes chapters drag on, sometimes Carroll's writing is funny. I'm glad to have more background on important historical players as well as what was acceptable and not acceptable in certain places (and for royalty and commoners) across Europe hundreds of years ago. Chapters on the contemporary British r ...more
Perhaps a little too packed with information, especially about the French monarchs. How anything ever got accomplished is beyond me!

I have to say, my favorite bit was about King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Thanks to multiple viewings of The King's Speech, I thought I knew most of the story -- but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was so much more. But the most pathetic story of them all had to be King Ludwig I and his "mistress" Lola Montez. If ever a monarch w
Jun 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history
A compendium of famous royal romances, both within and outside of wedlock.

These stories have a slightly odd structure, starting with the monarch's life through death, then breaking into the romance(s) in question. It's a little odd to jump back and forth in time like that. There are also some spurious allegations presented as fact, and the fact that the book has no footnotes doesn't make it clear where they came from. While the inclusion of Prince William is timely, I'm not sure it fully belongs
Sandra Strange
Good retelling of some of the most famous royal pairings including Henry II and Diane de Poitiers, Louis XV and Pompadour and du Barry, but also Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and her Swedish lover, maybe?, as well as George VI and his Elizabeth, and Prince William and his model princess. Good information with lots of gossip (labeled as such), but beware, some of the background historical information is inaccurate. Also, sexual issues of various monarchs and mistresses are treated frankly and in ...more
Apr 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
I read Charles VII, Henri II, Louis XIV, George VI, Prince William. Not sure about the fact that George and his wife had kids through artificial insemination as that seems to be claims of unreliable sources like Kitty Kelley and Lady Colin Campbell. Interestingly, the author does not directly cite sources. The sections were researched enough, but got too long with excess detail used where not necessary.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: royal-history
I wanted to like this book, but I found myself growing bored as each chapter dragged on and on. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and ended up skipping to the final chapter, the one covering Prince William and Catherine Middleton. That was probably the only truly interesting chapter in the entire book.
Jessica Berry
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
A another interesting history lesson from Leslie Carroll. I didn't know as many of the royals profiled here, so it was nice to learn about new people. The chapters in this book are longer than in her other books, so more details about fewer people. Sometimes it was nice, but I did kind of miss the more rapid pace of the others.
Elissa Hayworth
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thought that this book did a wonderful job of keeping the reader engaged with the stories of the romances of the Royals through history. While it's common knowledge that misteresses were kept, it's a different thing totally to actually read the story of the romances, how they blossomed, and how things ended. I will be reading Leslie Carroll's other works.
Kris Cram
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although it took me awhile to finish this book, I really enjoyed reading it. I learned a lot about certain royals that I didn't know before. I enjoyed the fact that the author included come modern royal romances in the book instead of just having historic romances. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of this book.
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fun history read. Learned a lot about general history while reading the mini-biographies of the affairs themselves. Only thing I didn't enjoy was the author's writing went a bit off here and there and I would have to reread the paragraph to understand who or what she was talking about.
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fast-paced, interesting ride throughout centuries of European romances, this book was a fun read. Some modern-day language is a bit jarring (such as, "Sophia Dorothea's young brothers-in-law thought he was a totally cool guy." p.102) But otherwise, a fun, light read about royalty.
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great read and wonderful delve into the romantic history of Kings and Queens. Even includes Prince William and Princess kate. A lot of great information and fun romp through the naughty bits of history
Kayla Tornello
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
This was an enjoyable glimpse into the romances of some famous European royals. I liked that I could read this book in sporadic chunks instead of all at once. I also appreciated that the stories came from different time periods and different nations. The writing kept my interest the entire time.
Nicole Yovanoff
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
I liked it, but I found I've read stories like this before. Reading the recent young royal romance was creepy.
Kristin Vandrunen
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a fun read that plays to the romantic I deny being
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book.
CJ - It's only a Paper Moon
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction

Entertaining, well researched and interesting. I dig this author and this is another plus for me.
Arianna Delgado
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was very entertaining but royal affairs which I'm reading now beats the gossip on this one
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Thought it would be something interesting, but not really.
Amy Bridges
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
That was a really interesting read!
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I used to tell people that I was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx; but the truth is that apart from the stellar education I received at the Fieldston School in Riverdale, much of who I am was shaped by my two grandmothers, who encouraged me to follow my bliss long before it became the sort of catchphrase you find on tee-shirts and new-age tchotchkes. My East Side grandmother took me to FA ...more
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