Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Kings, Queens, Death, Sex, And Scandals

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is ten book recommendations for people who like ________. I’m filling in the blank with “Kings, Queens, Death, Sex, and Scandals.”

Kings, Queens, Death, Sex, And Scandals

Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics – Eleanor Herman

In royal courts bristling with testosterone—swashbuckling generals, polished courtiers, and virile cardinals—how did repressed regal ladies find happiness? 
Anne Boleyn flirted with courtiers; Catherine Howard slept with one. Henry VIII had both of them beheaded. 
Catherine the Great had her idiot husband murdered and ruled the Russian empire with a long list of sexy young favorites. 
Marie Antoinette fell in love with the handsome Swedish count Axel Fersen, who tried valiantly to rescue her from the guillotine. 
Princess Diana gave up her palace bodyguard to enjoy countless love affairs, which tragically led to her early death.

Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge – Eleanor Herman

Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring poignancy, this glittering tale of passion and politics chronicles five hundred years of scintillating women and the kings who loved them.

The Middle Ages: Everyday Life in Medieval Europe – Jeffrey L. Singman

We consider the Middle Ages barbaric, yet the period furnished some of our most enduring icons, including King Arthur's Round Table, knights in shining armor, and the idealized noblewoman. In this vivid history of the time, the medieval world comes to life in all its rich daily experience. Find out what people's beds were like, how often they washed, what they wore, what they cooked, how they worked, how they entertained themselves, how they wed, and what life was like in a medieval village, castle, or monastery.

Margaret The First – Danielle Dutton

Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when “being a writer” was not an option open to women. As one of the Queen’s attendants and the daughter of prominent Royalists, she was exiled to France when King Charles I was overthrown. As the English Civil War raged on, Margaret met and married William Cavendish, who encouraged her writing and her desire for a career. After the War, her work earned her both fame and infamy in England: at the dawn of daily newspapers, she was “Mad Madge,” an original tabloid celebrity. Yet Margaret was also the first woman to be invited to the Royal Society of London—a mainstay of the Scientific Revolution—and the last for another two hundred years.

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories From History Without The Fairy-Tale Endings – Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But the lives of real princesses couldn’t be more different. Sure, many were graceful and benevolent leaders—but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev murdered thousands of men, and Princess Rani Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back.

Royalty’s Strangest Characters: Extraordinary But True Tales From 2000 Years Of Mad Monarchs And Raving Rulers – Geoff Tibballs

Just as the monarchy has been hereditary in many countries, so insanity has been hereditary in many monarchs. Here are 2,000 years of crazy kings and potty potentates, including such infamous characters as Caligula and Vlad the Impaler.

Severed: A History Of Heads Lost And Heads Found – Frances Larson

The human head is exceptional. It accommodates four of our five senses, encases the brain, and boasts the most expressive set of muscles in the body. It is our most distinctive attribute and connects our inner selves to the outer world. 
Yet there is a dark side to the head’s preeminence, one that has, in the course of human history, manifested itself in everything from decapitation to headhunting. So explains anthropologist Frances Larson in this fascinating history of decapitated human heads. From the Western collectors whose demand for shrunken heads spurred massacres to Second World War soldiers who sent the remains of the Japanese home to their girlfriends, from Madame Tussaud modeling the guillotined head of Robespierre to Damien Hirst photographing decapitated heads in city morgues, from grave-robbing phrenologists to skull-obsessed scientists, Larson explores our macabre fixation with severed heads.

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide To Sex, Marriage, And Manners – Therese Oneill

Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era? 
Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there's arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn't question.) 
UNMENTIONABLE is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood. 
Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, UNMENTIONABLE will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O'Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers. 
(And it just might leave you feeling ecstatically grateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.)

A Treasury Of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories Of History’s Wackiest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors – Michael Farquhar

From Nero's nagging mother (whom he found especially annoying after taking her as his lover) to Catherine's stable of studs (not of the equine variety), here is a wickedly delightful look at the most scandalous royal doings you never learned about in history class.

Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra To Princess Di – Kris Waldherr

Illicit love, madness, betrayal—it isn't always good to be the queen. 
Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn, and Mary, Queen of Scots. What did they have in common? For a while they were crowned in gold, cosseted in silk, and flattered by courtiers. But in the end, they spent long nights in dark prison towers and were marched to the scaffold where they surrendered their heads to the executioner. And they are hardly alone in their undignified demises. Throughout history, royal women have had a distressing way of meeting bad ends—dying of starvation, being burned at the stake, or expiring in childbirth while trying desperately to produce an heir. They always had to be on their toes and all too often even devious plotting, miraculous pregnancies, and selling out their sisters was not enough to keep them from forcible consignment to religious orders. From Cleopatra (suicide by asp), to Princess Caroline (suspiciously poisoned on her coronation day), there's a gory downside to being blue-blooded when you lack a Y chromosome.

Do you have any books to add to my list?


  1. What a fun list! I need to check out Princesses Behaving Badly - looks like an interesting read!

  2. Great topic/list! The first two books and The Princesses Behaving Badly sound interesting.

  3. This list is great and oh lord the Severed Head book and Unmentionables..I want them for my coffee table. Great conversation starter eh?

  4. Great topic! Will definitely keep these books in mind as I do enjoy a good history book on royals and such (really, just a good history book) :)

    My TTT

  5. Hah! Great topic. I've only read Severed out of these but I love that kind of niche non-fiction book.

  6. I'm visiting from the Top Ten Tuesday linkup and Doomed Queens sounds like a really interesting read. This is a such a unique topic. I love it!

  7. The Middle ages: Everyday Life is probably one I'd like, and Princesses Behaving Badly looks awesome! Raw veal? Ewww...

  8. What a fascinating list. I've read Princesses Behaving Badly and found it a lot of fun.

  9. I saw The Middle Ages book at the library I think I'm going to have to try it! :)

    Check out my TTT and my current giveaway

  10. I have issues with Princess Diana being in this book as she was never a Queen! I laughed at the blurb from Unmentionable! *giggles* That one sounds pretty funny!

  11. Not really my topic.

    I saw (and liked) Mists of Avalon, and it's based on a book. But it's fiction.

  12. Oh what a unique list of books you have here. Even though I'm not familiar with these books, I'm curious. Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. History is filled with so much scandal! The Tudors have always intrigued me- they had such tempestuous lives- it seems they're not the only ones! I haven't read any of these books, but they sound fascinating!

    Nicole @ whatadifferenceawordmakes (wordpress)

  14. Wow! So many sexy royalty books! You should check out Royally Screwed by Emma Chase if you would like to try a New Adult book filled with those things!

  15. I've seen those first couple on your blog before and I'm definitely intrigued. Royal Scandals looks really fun too!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction