My sister and brother-in-law struck again this past Christmas with a can’t-put-it-down history book. That’s right, I said “history book!” Walderr’s Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends from Cleopatra to Princess Di is just the ticket for the multi-tasking of enjoyable read and a history lesson.
This book is informative but fun and cheeky. I found it to be the perfect bubble bath book. The chapters are about two pages, average, just right for a couple of chapters per bath…and I laughed most of the way through the admittedly woeful stories of Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette and other royal women who met bad ends—all the way up to Princess Diana.
Not only does the author give us factual accounts of the influential women, she gives fascinating vocabulary words. For example, did all you students of the Holy Bible realize that Jezebel, wife of Ahab, was killed by defenestration??!! I love it! According to Merriam-Webster, defenestration is “the act of throwing someone or something out a window!” Who knew? I am so delighted with this that I am just waiting on a chance to use it: “Do Not defenestrate that Coke can…we must keep America beautiful!” or “He was so poor he did not have a pot to______ in or a window to defenestrate it!”
Each ill-fated queen’s chapter has a “Cautionary Moral” at the end. Cleopatra’s is “Choose your allies well or they will come back to bite you in the asp.”
And, yes, the subject matter is a bit depressive when you think about what these poor women actually went through but, on the other hand, you’ll find that many of them had a hand in their own fate…lots of gossipy tidbits on royal machinations. Just like little soap-opera vignettes.
The author has a website that features a little video. You’ll see some of the same campy approach in this that makes the book so readable:
Heartily recommended!! - C