Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring poignancy, this glittering...more
mistress at her peak
bastard son of king
legit son of king
sack of shit
mistress at all other times
sack of shit on fire
On the minus side, the author has a couple of quirks that I found slightly irritating. One is that she's constantly beginning sections of the book with passages like, "We imagine that the life of a royal mistress must have been glamorous, full of ..." Maybe it's just that I've read enough history to know bette ...more
It is impossible not to like a book that has the line "many men were willing to lay down thier wives for their king".
At times funny, at times surprisingly sad, this is a good book. Herman writes about the mistresses withuot making them saints. She is sympathic to husband, wife, and the other woman and the other woman's husband. While the book focuses mostly on the French, there are some really funny and strange stories. Like the one about ...more
I thought the organization of this book was detrimental to its content. Each chapter was on a theme, one aspect of the king-mistress relationship; there were also subchapters for a more granular look at the theme. Because of this, Herman ...more
Mistress Virginie di Castiglione once stated "The more I see of men, the more I love dogs." Reading about the history of men making befuddled fools of themselves in the name of lust makes it incredibly easy to agree with that statement.
This made for an entertaining, though also disheartening read about vacuous men and jealous wives throwing tantrums over their unworthy partners. It's amazing how 1000 years later, the more things change the more they stay the same.
Yes, it was considered an honor to be chosen. It came with riches, power and a shot at (occasionally) being queen. It also came with venereal disease, bastard children, crushing poverty and a pit of vipers known as the royal court.
Mistresses were not always beautiful, or thing. However, they generally offere ...more
Full of as much sex, intrigue, backstabbing, catcalling, fabulous on ...more
I don't know about you, but I consider sex to be very interesting. Combining sex and history sounded like an intriguing read so when I saw Sex with Kings at my local used book store I just had to have it! I was completely engrossed in this book (which hasn't happened for a long time) so I would definitely recommend this book to others. I've noticed that a lot of people dislike Eleanor Herman's organizaton of the book, but it didn't bother me. Rather than maki ...more
I have shelved the book "history," but I'm not actually sure about that. It's really more "history lite" or some other nonsensical genre. She did do some research, but she focused on a handful of women, rath ...more
The author, Eleanor Herman, guides the reader through 500 years of European history and tells the stories of Europe’s most powerful royal mistresses. The writing is lively and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. The book includes passages from letters and diaries that were written during the time that the mistresses lived. Royal courtiers were snarky. I didn’t know if I should ...more
Let me start off by saying it doesn't get to graphic with the details, most of the intrigue has to do with the court gossip, the jealous queens, the power plays and the extent to which the royal mistress could influence politics. There are just as many Great Love stories here as there are affairs of a lesser caliber, ...more
Sex with Kings is a light and fun non-fiction book which reads much like a novel. I expected it to be somehow more difficult and deep, but instead it was extremely easy and fast to read. Nothing memorable, but definitely enjoyable (it reminded me of Doomed Queens).
The organization of the book was also a surprise. I was expecting Eleanor Herman to follow a chronological or geographical order; instead, she proceeds through topics, such as the rivalries between queens and mistresses, or ...more
Sex with French Kings: 200 years of fighting to stay on top in the court of Versailles would have been a more accurate title, since most of the mistresses documented here are French between 1600 and 1800. There’s a fair amount of English mistresses along with some Polish, German and a few Russian ones, but France dominates.
The book is arranged by themes such as jewels, beauty, children, after-the-king, etc. which means Herman keeps covering the same group of mistresses, just at different points ...more
"Hark the herald angels sing / Mrs. Simpson stole our King!" --naughty British schoolchildren in 1936
Lively and well-researched account of the mistresses and wives of royalty. I thought this passage was especially interesting:
"It was generally accepted that bastards were more intelligent and better looking than legitimate children. The belief was that intercourse between a man and his mistress was ...more
My one quibble with this book, and the reason it doesn't get five stars: Anne Boleyn, one of my favorite historical figures EVER, is conspicously absent for almost ...more
We hear a lot about Kings because they were male and many times despotic and autocratic. We hear a decent amount about Queens because they were often considered important enoug ...more
i especially appreciated the subchapter about wallis simpson at the e ...more
First I want to state that Ms. Herman's writing proved to be quite entertaining itself, filled with humor and sarcasm that had me laughin ...more
“History is so fascinating that it never has to be presented in a boring way,” she explains. “These were flesh and blood people, just like you and me, facing war and plague, falling in love, living among splendid a ...more