Lindz's Reviews > King Charles II

King Charles II by Antonia Fraser
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's review
Jul 13, 2009

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bookshelves: 20th-century, historical-documentary, british-invasion
Recommended for: Anyone interested in Restoration England
Read from April 12 to 28, 2010 , read count: 1

Sometimes fact can be more interesting than fiction.

Charles Stuart, born a Prince, he had the whole word at his feet. Unfortunately his father Charles I was not the fantastic politician you would expect from the King of England, and lost his head to Oliver Cromwell. Charles II was forced into exile, and had to wait till England wanted it Monarchy back.

Charles II was known as the Merry Monarchy. Constantly celebrating, patronising the theatre (and many of its actresses), horse racing, poetry, art, many of the things a good puritan would shudder at. Also Charles II loved women, all women, he had 12 children, unfortunately non of them with his wife.

Fraser makes a good argument that Charles II may not have been the most successful Monarch but he was the right one for the time, relaxed, extravagant bringing back the splendour and gold back to England's leadership after the beige of Cromwell's protectorate. And the late 17th century was an extravagant time, the Great Plague, Great Fire, the rebuilding of London, and a different popish plot around every corner.

Though Fraser does fall back on her bad habit of over padding, getting bogged down on one idea, which stops the nice usual flow her biographies have. But then again, the fear of Catholicism, the Pope, Absolutism; and the division of Monarch and Parliament does take some explaining. Especially when Charles' brother and Heir was a Catholic in very Protestant England.

This book is a great introduction into the Restoration period.

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04/13/2010 page 130
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