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on 6 December 2012
It puts the history of our own royal family into context. The way it portrays the interwoven family ties of the royal families of Europe and how the First World War affected their relationships with each other is very well documented without being too heavy. Anyone interested in royal history would find this book fascinating. The other aspect of the book is how it documents the immense wealth (and waste!) among the royals of Europe during this period - the jewels, the houses and the lifestyle. Interesting too is the influence and in some cases, power, that the royal women exercised and their tenacity in hanging on to their families often in the face of severe hardship.
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on 27 February 2013
Excellent read, found very few inaccuracies, - BUT irritated by calling country ENGLAND and not BRITAIN throughout. e.g. Queen of England, English soldiers, England, England etc. - we were there too! Our queen too!.... from a Scot.
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on 19 July 2013
This is a long and expensive book covering a massive subject but for me there are two major stumbling blocks as to why it can't be taken seriously. Firstly the author is merely recycling material that has appeared in previous publications so that he has nothing new to say about events or the individuals concerned. Secondly...and I found this so irritating...he often gets his facts wrong and by the end of the book errors were appearing on every other page. The accompanying photos were of a poor quality and all had appeared in other books.
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on 13 January 2014
I enjoyed this book which filled in lots of gaps for me. However, the author should know that a courtesan is essentially a royal mistress of the prostitute variety in court terms, not a lady courtier. He refers to respectable ladies of the court as courtesans at least four times, which I found very jarring. Also some howlers towards the end of the book, e.g. Badminton House, where Queen Mary resided for most of the war, is not a "villa on the coast of Gloucester" but part of a large country estate in Gloucestershire,nowhere near the sea! This is odd, as so much of the book seems meticulously researched and edited.
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on 27 February 2013
My main interest in European Royalty is my fascination in how the genealogy is so interlinked and these people have played such major roles in our history. I have read lots about it and yes a lot of what is covered in the book is not new information for anyone who is already aware of these women. However I still found it engaging and interesting to read it all again, but this time interlinking their stories.
The author does feel he has to justify himself at the beginning of the book, but I can understand that there are always people who just thrive on picking holes.
Well my honest opinion is I loved it, it was just up my street and has kept me company on my daily commute for at least a month. This was the first time I had read a biography on my kindle and I did miss being able to flick to look at the photographs while reading about the subject.
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on 5 May 2014
While there is no ground-breaking material here, I still found this book fascinating. I think the author is a great story teller (I really enjoyed his previous book "In Destiny's Hands: Five Tragic Rulers, Children of Maria Theresa") and he's done an excellent job here interweaving the stories of these four royal women. For anyone with an interest in royal history, then this is a worthwhile book. While most of the information can be found in other sources, presented in this way I think gives the material new insight and perspective. They were the last reigning women in the age of empires and a world that no longer exists. In many ways these women had to contend with the same basic issues that were affecting all the royal houses at the turn of the twentieth century, yet their lives could not have ended more differently. Each had their own unique qualities and each has made a lasting impact on history. This is definitely worth a read.
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on 27 March 2014
I would say if you are interested in history to get this book ,Not a lot is written about the Kaisers wife ,but you get plenty of information here ,and though a lot has been written about the last tsarina of Russia it tells you a lot more ,the thing that struck my most was a quote from the Tsar's mother the Empress Maria to her daughter when they were till in Russia after the abdication complaining they were hungry and that a kind lady had given them some bread ,thousands of Russians were hungry under Tsarist regime while they lived in opulent wealth
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on 13 May 2013
Not as easy to read as the usual dramatic historical novel, as this is based on fact and actual letters written by real people. I enjoyed this book as it was informative and interesting and I learned a lot about the royal houses and their ultimate decline in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Due to the large number of different princes, princesses, dukes, emperors etc it was sometimes difficult to sort out who was who, especially as a few had the same names! But I would recommend this book if you are interested in history and the decline of those who were titular heads of the last remaining empires. I will keep it on my kindle to use as reference in the future. I appreciated the accuracy of the content and even though this is not a "novel" as such, it was still an easy read.
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on 21 March 2014
A long book - but really fascinating - and really fits in with this being the centenary of WW1. Four amazing strong women, would really recommend this book - especially if you want a long holiday read
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on 7 June 2013
Interesting book,a bit heavy going at times.Gives the reader an insight to four royal empresses and queens.opens a window on at least two of whom we don't hear much about.all four played their part in their respective countries history.
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