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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Detailed life of Empress Maria Theresa's Family
I have been fascinated by the Habsburgs, especially Maria Theresa, such a strong and remarkable woman. With 16 children, the information is scarce on many of her children and Mr. Vovk has opening up that world and written about some of her children who are so much less known than Marie Antoinette, but who lived quiet fascinating lives. Thank you Mr. Vovk for the time and...
Published on 18 April 2012 by William P.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Mishmash
I bought this book as I have been curious about Maria Carolina, Marie Antoinette's sparkier sister, for a while. Voyt does clearly state that he has not written a book about the politics of the time but he's ignored them to the point where I found myself tossing it aside in frustration, as certain events appear inexplicable when taken out of their context (except I have...
Published 19 months ago by Memo


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Detailed life of Empress Maria Theresa's Family, 18 April 2012
I have been fascinated by the Habsburgs, especially Maria Theresa, such a strong and remarkable woman. With 16 children, the information is scarce on many of her children and Mr. Vovk has opening up that world and written about some of her children who are so much less known than Marie Antoinette, but who lived quiet fascinating lives. Thank you Mr. Vovk for the time and enery to bring them all together in the book.Buy it and read on
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 13 Nov. 2013
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This book manages to describe five different siblings who all lead remarkable lives without sounding like a list of historical facts. You should definitely buy this book if you are interested in the Hapsburg dynasty or just history in general - I thought it was worth the read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Destiny hands, 15 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: In Destiny's Hands (Kindle Edition)
I have given 4 stars ,as I found I couldn't put the book down .a very good read really interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Mishmash, 4 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: In Destiny's Hands (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book as I have been curious about Maria Carolina, Marie Antoinette's sparkier sister, for a while. Voyt does clearly state that he has not written a book about the politics of the time but he's ignored them to the point where I found myself tossing it aside in frustration, as certain events appear inexplicable when taken out of their context (except I have the kindle edition and placed it gently on one side...). Taken with a few elementary mistakes (getting Louis XVI's brothers mixed up is a prime example), this author casts doubt over his reliability except when quoting others. Sadly, I think this author bit off more than he could chew in following what must have seemed an excellant idea - to write about the 'special children' of Maria Theresa who all ascended thrones - as the result is shallow and far from impressive.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fact always more interesting than fiction, 19 July 2014
By 
E. A. Banks (Ipswich, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In Destiny's Hands (Kindle Edition)
I love history books and generally find accounts of real lives a great deal more interesting than any fictional account. There is a lot of information in this book and the 18th century fashion of naming children after a living relative means that there are a lot of characters in this account who share the same name; for example, 9 of Empress Maria Theresa's granddaughters were named after her. This is a book that requires full concentration in order to keep track of everybody. Eighteenth century Europe was a turbulent place and anyone wishing to understand the background to the many and varied conflicts that took place would learn a great deal from this book but would probably, like me, now feel the need to read something a bit more detailed.
My only criticism would be that in places it seems as though the author is trying to make an already fascinating story more exciting. This is completely unnecessary and I found repeated use of phrases such as "none other than" and "as we will see" thoroughly irritating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 15 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: In Destiny's Hands (Kindle Edition)
The answer to all those questions _ whatever happened to....
.OR. after .... enthralling from start to finish, and a clear picture of how Europe came to be what it is today and the tragic lives and highs and lows of its monarchies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intersting, but a little superficial, 5 May 2014
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The question in this book is essentially how much influence did Maria Teresa have on the destinies of her five most illustrious children, how much of their fates was their own doing, and how much was simply fate alone. The author would have us believe that Maria Teresa had a huge impact on her children's personalities and thereby on their destinies as well. I'm not sure this is such a brilliant thesis, however. It seems rather obvious. They were her children and she was a strong woman with a strong personality. They would obviously have been affected both in good and bad ways. So of course those aspects of their personalities molded by their mother or (especially in the case of Amalia) in opposition to her, would have a profound influence on their lives, and ultimately their destinies. Is this really thesis material? I'm not so sure.

That said, as a book about the five most significant children of Empress Maria Teresa, I found this book very interesting, albeit more for its story than its academic research. Some of the author's interpretations are questionable. His portrayal of Joseph II, for example, is very limited, negative, and I think, off the mark. Also, Marie Antoinette, clearly the most famous of all her children, has had much written about her. You can find better, more thorough biographies elsewhere. However, the general story of Maria Theresa's five most celebrated children is fascinating and Vovk has a wonderful style of writing that draws you into their lives. Not knowing much about most of them, I really enjoyed reading about their ultimately tragic lives. As most of the reigning houses in Europe and a few around the world are all descended from them, their importance in history can not be ignored. As a general biography of these monarchs and consorts, I think he has done a fair job. I would recommend this book as an enjoyable read if you love history, but for a deeper study of these personalities and a more academic approach, I would turn elsewhere. It seems that a lot of his "research" comes from secondary sources.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating., 13 April 2014
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This review is from: In Destiny's Hands (Kindle Edition)
As someone who loves history, I loved this, once I had sorted out the similar names as to who was who. A great insight into European history, as well as family relationships and differences.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Packed with Facts, 29 July 2013
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This review is from: In Destiny's Hands (Kindle Edition)
Very very readable history set against turbulent times in 18th Century Europe. Superb narrative account of some amazing characters - filled with their personal details and correspondence. So many 'Maria's', you have to concentrate to keep up, so a family tree would have been helpful, but otherwise a very rewarding experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars In Destiny 's Hands, 18 July 2013
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A fascinating insight into the entwined history of modern Europe. A compelling and revealing read for anyone interested in a well researched and reliable account.
The habit of repeating family names throughout the dynasty make following family connections quite exacting given such a huge extended royal family line. Prepare to take notes if you intend to remember exactly who's who!
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In Destiny's Hands by Justin C. Vovk
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