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

Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman
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bookshelves: 2018-books

This book was on sale and I was in the mood for some fun nonfiction. As a history geek, I've read about kings and queens. Sometimes, there was a mistress or two mentioned and they were sometimes portrayed well or as harpies.

The truth seemed more complicated. The various European kings in the book habitually took mistresses because they could, because they'd married someone they were expected to marry but didn't actually want to marry, because women were clamoring to be close to the king. What rang clearly through the stories of the mistresses was their accessibility to power and wealth--and how they constantly had to maintain their relationship with their king. They had to be attractive, attentive, sexy, entertaining, soothing. Some of the mistresses used their positions to gain material wealth and lord it over the court--usually one of the few ways a woman in olden times could wield some power--or in a few cases, the mistresses made important government decisions.

The book's tone was chatty, fun, and light. Some of the stories and anecdotes read more as apocryphal tales than serious research, but that was fine. It was broken up into categories and topics per chapter, which became a little confusing as the author jumped from Louis XIV's mistress to a king's mistress from the nineteenth century, for an example.

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Reading Progress

February 4, 2018 – Started Reading
February 4, 2018 – Shelved
February 6, 2018 –
February 7, 2018 –
February 9, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-books
February 9, 2018 – Finished Reading

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