Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: An Unusual Journey Through Royal History by Victoria Martinez

Title: An Unusual Journey Through Royal History
Author: Victoria Martinez
Publisher: Who Dares Wins Publishing
Release Date: 04/18/2011

This is not your typical royal history book. The table of contents reads more like a menu at a good restaurant, where there’s something for everyone’s taste. Each of the 18 chapters tells a unique story about an overlooked or unusual aspect of royal history, spanning centuries and countries, but in no particular order. From first to last, they will take you on a journey through royal history you’ve probably never seen or thought of before.

In few – if any – other books will you find the British Monarchy compared to London’s sewer system, or read of the challenges of finding a suitable husband for a 200-plus pound Victorian princess who was nonetheless a “remarkably light dancer.” Rarely are the lives of historic and modern royals from Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great to Prince Charles and Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark “illustrated” not by paintings but by tattoos. Even more intimate topics, like the practice of circumcision among royals – including Princes William and Harry – are explored for the sake of inquiring minds.

Chances are, even readers who usually find historic royalty boring and stuffy or modern royalty anachronistic and detached will find something to enjoy. Who wouldn’t feel a bit satisfied reading about a celebrated 19th century courtesan being paid to steal the thunder of an old and frumpy queen just to prove that queens are expected to be beautiful? It can also be quite amusing to find that a supposedly formal portrait of the current British Royal Family holds hidden, enigmatic clues to family dynamics and individual personalities that amuse and baffle.

In short (much like the Court dwarfs you’ll read about), this book will leave you with a sense that you not only know royal history – and enjoy it – but that you have also journeyed through it and know the royals personally, from who exterminates their palaces right down to their infamous last words.

Everyone knows the basics about royalty. You know that there's a King, a Queen, & veritable hordes of Princes, Princesses, & various other titles. But did you know that the royalty helped usher in London's sewer system? Or that they used to be tattooed? Little tidbits like these are what makes this book so interesting to read & believe me, I'm not a history reader.

Victoria Martinez has managed to do a very difficult task with this book. Not only does she do the research to find the stuff that you won't find in your normal textbooks, but she manages to make it fun to read & best of all- EASY to read. There's no dry, boring lines of chewed over text in this book.

If you hate history then you need to read this book. If you like history well, it goes without saying that this is a "must download" for you. I have to admit, if more books were written like this then I'd be a bigger history buff.


(Review copy provided by author)

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