Friday, September 5, 2014

Review: "Inglorious Royal Marriages" by Leslie Carroll

Synopsis:  Why does it seem that the marriages of so many monarchs are often made in hell? And yet we can’t stop reading about them! To satisfy your schadenfreude, INGLORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES offers a panoply of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history….some of which are mentioned below.

When her monkish husband, England’s Lancastrian Henry VI, became completely catatonic, the unpopular French-born Margaret of Anjou led his army against the troops of their enemy, the Duke of York.
Margaret Tudor, her niece Mary I, and Catherine of Braganza were desperately in love with chronically unfaithful husbands—but at least they weren’t murdered by them, as were two of the Medici princesses.
King Charles II’s beautiful, high-spirited sister “Minette” wed Louis XIV’s younger brother, who wore more makeup and perfume than she did.

Compelled by her mother to wed her boring, jug-eared cousin Ferdinand, Marie of Roumania—a granddaughter of Queen Victoria—emerged as a heroine of World War I by using her prodigious personal charm to regain massive amounts of land during the peace talks at Versailles. Marie’s younger sister Victoria Melita wed two of her first-cousins: both marriages ultimately scandalized the courts of Europe.
Brimming with outrageous real-life stories of royal marriages gone wrong, this is an entertaining, unforgettable book of dubious matches doomed from the start.

My Thoughts:  Inglorious Royal Marriages is an entertaining look at several complicated royal couplings.  It follows a few prominent royals from history, as well as several lesser know figures, and details their tumultuous and dysfunctional marriages.

Likes:  I liked that there was a good mix of well-known couples and not so well-known couples.  The author does a good job of not only detailing the issues that occurred during the marriages but she also gave a lot of background so the reader had a some context.  She described each individual marriage and historical figure as though the reader knew nothing about them so that you could easily see why these marriages were so messy.  I also liked how she wrote in an easy to read, colloquial way; it made the individual case studies more fun to read.  I was most intrigued by the marriages of the Duc and Duchesse d'Orleans and the King and Queen of Naples but they were all rather fascinating.  It was kind of fun to read about all of these incredibly screwed up marriages.

Dislikes:  While I appreciated that the author made sure the reader had some of idea of the historical context, there were times where it seemed like there was too many details not relevant to the actual marital issues causing some of the chapters to drag on.  I also wished that there would have been footnotes and more information about the research she did and where she got her information.  There were times where I thought "where did she get this information from?" but couldn't find it because she only provides a list of sources and doesn't indicate what information came from where.

Overall, this was an entertaining look at some of the more scandalous marriages in history.  3 stars.

About the Author:
Leslie Carroll is the author of several works of historical nonfiction, women’s fiction, and, under the pen names Juliet Grey and Amanda Elyot, is a multipublished author of historical fiction. Her nonfiction titles include Royal Romances, Royal Pains, Royal Affairs, and Notorious Royal Marriages. She is also a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit, and is an award-winning audio book narrator.

A frequent commentator on royal romances and relationships, Leslie has been interviewed by numerous publications, including, USA Today, the Australian Broadcasting Company, and NPR, and she was a featured royalty historian on CBS nightly news in London during the royal wedding coverage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. She also appears as an expert on the love lives of Queen Victoria, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon on the television series “The Secret Life of [fill in the name of famous figure]” for Canada’s History Channel. Leslie and her husband, Scott, divide their time between New York City and Washington, D.C.

For more information please visit Leslie’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. This one does sounds really interesting. I'm always up for reading about lesser known historical figures so this might be a fun one for me to check out.

  2. This is certainly something I have never seen before! When reading historical fiction I often wonder how people ended up together and why. So this will hopefully shed some light on those questions :)


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