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Interesting Subject, but Badly Written
on 10 March 2014
For someone so interested in such a relatively esoteric subject as Queen Victoria's granddaughters, I was excited to receive the book, and indeed enjoyed it; it's hardly exhaustive (and couldn't be with so many varied characters), but it gives a good intro.
However, never had I before felt more compelled to take a pencil and correct a book than with this one! First of all, the punctuation is dreadful with random commas and articles thrown about everywhere, words repeated next to each other, or words simply missing from the text; furthermore, the *-symbol indicating footnotes was miniscule; indeed, I barely even knew where in the text to find it until I read the footnote and located the relevant place myself! I therefore presume editing was non-existent!
Punctuation would be excusable if there weren't some glaring factual errors too. I won't list them all, but some of the most glaring concern the Spanish Royal Family:
1) referring to Spain's King as Alfonso XVIII when, in reality, he was XIII;
2) saying he was 'eleven years' his wife's senior when, in fact, he was one;
3) claiming that his wife, Queen Victoria Eugenia, was helped from her bridal carriage (almost destroyed by a terrorist bomb on her wedding day) by her cousin Toria of Wales when I have never read any proof of this, and indeed why someone as relatively low in the Royal ranking as Victoria of Wales would have been in a carriage near the Royal Couple is ludicrous;
4) referring to Alfonso XIII's cousin Infante Alfonso of Bourbon-Orleans as 'Bourbon-Lyons' (a title that - as far as I know - doesn't exist);
5) calling the heir to the Spanish Throne 'Prince of the Astorias' (instead of Prince of Asturias) as if he were heir to a New-York borough and not a whole state;
6) claiming that since Alfonso XIII's heir was haemophiliac and therefore 'unhealthy', he was simply 'struck from the succession' when, in reality, this happened after his morganatic marriage and the declaration of the Second Spanish Republic deprived him of his position;
7) claiming that the Royal Couple's third daughter, Infanta Beatriz, was a haemophiliac carrier when none of her descendants has yet suffered from the disease;
8) stating that the Royal Couple's fourth child was a haemophiliac and died soon after his birth when, in reality, Infante Fernando had died in the womb and was born dead, his mother Victoria Eugenia having been forced to carry the baby to term by the rigid Spanish Court.
The author also - and these will be the last examples (I promise!) - dismisses Prince Albert of Schleswig-Holstein as 'heir to an estate in Silesia' when he was slightly more than that, and she calls Tsar Alexander II's wife 'Maria Feodorovna' when she was Maria Alexandrovna.
The author therefore has her facts wrong about a few European Dynasties, and all of the above are too outrageous to be simple mistakes: they give the impression that the author was lazy and merely invented information or didn't look into it far enough to fill in facts she didn't know; the book seems more like someone's hastily-pencilled notes than a serious piece of Literature. Genuinely shocked and annoyed at such sloppy writing, I will have second thoughts about purchasing any more of her works.