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3.3 out of 5 stars9
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Okay, the title is going to make people giggle or cringe. But "Sex With Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry and Revenge" is a genuinely engrossing book, full of funny and tragic stories about royal mistresses through history.
Yes, it's called "Sex with Kings." But it's not all about sex -- in fact, it becomes clear that sex is only one factor. Hermann does a pretty good job of studying all angles of mistresshood. Sure, a mistress sometimes got the prettiest dresses and jewels, but she could be kicked out on a whim. There were dozens of setbacks, and only a very wily mistress could avoid them. The author also devotes attention to the mistress's children, her lover the king, and sometimes the mistress's husband. Even the unfortunate queen gets a chapter, as well as the occasional mistress who married the king.
But Hermann keeps it funny and light as well. But she doesn't avoid the touchier issues of mistresses either, like the religious or political angles. Nor does she cater to double standards by blaming either the kings or mistresses.
Hermann finishes up the book on a promising note, pointing out recent marriages between royal men and the title-less women they love. But even if mistresshood is a thing of the past, the unique story of these women is well mapped-out in "Sex With Kinds." A fun and unique read.
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on 11 August 2008
It is nigh on impossible to cover 500 years of history in 300 pages, as Eleanor Herman proves. There are so many characters here, so many "Madames" and "Countesses" that they all begin to look the same. Only Nell Gwynn and Madame de Pompadour stand out in any discernible way. The redundancy of the text (I thought at one point that if Miss Herman said "one can imagine" one more time, I might just scream) was ridiculous - the book needed a good editor. I give this three stars because it has inspired me to seek out more information about Nell Gwynn and Madame de Pompadour, and for that I'm grateful. Other than that it's a rather disjointed, slap-dash affair (if you'll pardon that word), and I don't think I need to read anything further from this author.
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on 18 October 2005
Well, this book is very interesting and easy to read, but it jumps about all over the place and the same few mistresses keep popping up all the time in chapter after chapter. Most of the action takes place at the French court, among the same few people. Surely in over 500 years there were more mistresses than this? I would have preferred to have each mistress dealt with in turn, but the author dots about from one generation to another and then back again. It is very hard to keep track of who was whose mistress, who came first and who came next! All in all, a good read, but a bit of a hotch potch.
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on 3 February 2013
it's okay but does jump about a bit and only has snippets of information I was hoping for more in depth and historical information about the children bor of the kings mistresses.
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on 14 February 2015
downloaded straight away but not as good as I thought it was going to be
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on 28 September 2011
An interesting and informative book about the scandals behind the world's most famous royal families. The style of the book takes a bit of getting used to but other than that, a detailed account of what happened with our royal families in the past.
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on 3 April 2013
It was okay but I'm not enamoured of the subject, don't know why I bought it really, perhaps thought it might be a good read
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on 1 January 2015
Excellent book and service.
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on 29 August 2013
Useful as a research book. I found this book to be laid out clearly with a lot of factual information.
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