Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
on 22 January 2006
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.