Book News May 2019




The Young Victoria

Hardcover – 14 May 2019 (UK) & 7 May 2019 (US)

This beautiful, extensively researched volume investigates the birth and early life of one of the most familiar British monarchs, Queen Victoria (1819–1901). A wealth of material, including many unexamined sources and unpublished images, sheds new light on Victoria’s youth. Included here are portraits of the queen as princess, childhood diaries and sketchbooks, clothing, jewelery, and correspondence.

Deirdre Murphy paints a vivid picture of Victoria’s early years. Among her most surprising conclusions is the idea that the queen’s personal mythology of a childhood characterized by sadness and isolation is less accurate than is generally thought. Victoria’s personal relationships are brought brilliantly to life, from her affectionate but increasingly suffocating bond with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, to the controlling influence of Sir John Conroy, a man she came to despise, and her courtship with Prince Albert. Lesser-known figures are also explored, including Victoria’s first schoolmaster the Reverend George Davys, her governess Louise Lehzen, and her half-sister Feodora. This fascinating cast of characters enhances our image of Victoria, who emerges as both willful and submissive, fickle and affectionate, and with the explosive temper of her Hanoverian ancestors.

Ira: The Life and Times of a Princess 

Hardcover – 17 June 2019 (UK) & 28 May 2019 (US)

A breathtakingly beautiful photo-narrative biography of the incredible life of Princess Ira von Fürstenberg – half Austro-Hungarian Princess, half Agnelli: model, actress, princess, socialite, heiress, mother, and jewellery designer.

Bursting onto front-page news in 1955 at the age of 15 in a jewel-laden gondola-wedding in the last great assembly of European nobility, Princess Ira von Fürstenberg swung into the spotlight and has never left.

Subject for master photographers Cecil Beaton and Helmut Newton, among others, actress alongside Klaus Kinski and Peter Lawford, and model for Vogue’s Diana Vreeland, Princess Ira has been an actress, model, muse, mother, socialite, jewellery designer, and creator of objets d’art. On and off screen, in and out of the flashbulb, Ira’s life – or, more accurately, lives – reads like a history of the jet set.

More than just a chronicle of a gorgeously fascinating life, this lavish photographic biography is a truly sumptuous snapshot of the glamour and charm of a lost era, a prism through which to see the world of European royalty, Italian cinema in its heyday, couture at most haute, and parties at their wildest.

Queen, Mother, and Stateswoman: Mariana of Austria and the Government of Spain

Hardcover – 8 May 2019 (UK & US)

Queen, Mother, and Stateswoman is an in-depth study of Mariana of Austria’s ten-year regency (1665–1675) of the global Spanish Empire and her subsequent role as queen mother. In Silvia Z. Mitchell’s revisionist account, Mariana emerges as a towering figure at court and on the international stage, and her key collaborators—the secretaries, ministers, and diplomats who have previously been ignored or undervalued—take their rightful place in history.

When Philip IV of Spain died in 1665, his heir, Carlos II, was three. As the threat of dynastic crisis loomed, decades of enormous military commitments had left Spain a virtually bankrupt state with vulnerable frontiers and a depleted army. Drawing from previously unmined primary sources, including Council of State deliberations, diplomatic correspondence, Mariana’s and Carlos’s letters, royal household papers, manuscripts, and legal documents, Mitchell describes how Mariana led the monarchy out of danger and helped redefine the military and diplomatic blocs of Europe in Spain’s favor. She follows Mariana’s exile from court and recounts how the dowager queen subsequently used her extensive connections and diplomatic experience to move the negotiations for her son’s marriage forward, effectively exploiting the process to regain her position.

A new narrative of the Spanish Habsburg monarchy in the later seventeenth century, this volume advances our knowledge of women’s legitimate political entitlement in the early modern period. It will be welcomed by scholars and students of queenship, women’s studies, and early modern Spain.

Meghan: The Life and Style of a Modern Royal: Feminist, Influencer, Humanitarian, Duchess

Hardcover – 4 April 2019 (UK) & 7 May 2019 (US)

The eyes of the world are firmly fixed upon Meghan Markle, who married Prince Harry in 2018 and is about to become a mother of a prince or princess. But who is this enigmatic new Royal? And what propelled her to become the fierce woman we see today? Find out what really makes Meghan tick with this insightful and illustrated biography, which explores the driving forces behind the actress-turned-duchess. With a visual intimacy that makes it feel like Meghan’s own personal scrapbook or Instagram feed, Meghan reveals why the LA native became a feminist and began charity work at the tender age of 13. Follow the evolution of Meghan’s personal style and philosophy, and her love of food and travel, with both favorite recipes and vacation inspiration.

My Dearest, Dearest Albert: Queen Victoria’s Life Through Her Letters and Journals

Hardcover – 1 May 2019 (US) & 20 September 2018 (UK)

Photographs of Queen Victoria most often show a plump Empress wearing widow’s black: serious and regal. In reality, the character of Alexandrina Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and latterly in her long reign, Empress of India, is rather different. In private, Victoria had a reputation for being fun-loving and entertaining. Victoria kept a daily journal from the age of 13, which by the time of her death ran to 122 volumes. She reveals herself to be emotional and honest about her own feelings and experiences, as well as her opinions of other people. This book shows Victoria at her most human, whether enthusing over her hobbies and interests, delighting in her children and grandchildren, commenting on the 10 different Prime Ministers who served during her reign, or sharing her love for her husband—her dearest, dearest Albert.

Forgotten Royal Women: The King and I

Paperback – 3 May 2019 (US) & 14 February 2018 (UK)

Great women are hidden behind great men, or so they say, and no man is greater than the king. For centuries, royal aunts, cousins, sisters and mothers have watched history unfold from the shadows, their battlefields the bedchamber or the birthing room, their often short lives remembered only through the lens of others.

Courting Sanctity: Holy Women and the Capetians

Hardcover – 15 May 2019 (US & UK)

Field’s narrative highlights six holy women. The saintly reputations of Isabelle of France and Douceline of Digne helped to crystalize the Capetians’ claims of divine favor by 1260. In the 1270s, the French court faced a crisis that centered on the testimony of Elizabeth of Spalbeek, a visionary holy woman from the Low Countries. After 1300, the arrests and interrogations of Paupertas of Metz, Margueronne of Bellevillette, and Marguerite Porete served to bolster Philip IV’s crusades against the dangers supposedly threatening the kingdom of France. Courting Sanctity thus reassesses key turning points in the ascent of the “most Christian” Capetian court through examinations of the lives and images of the holy women that the court sanctified or defamed.

Scottish Queens, 1034-1714

Paperback – 9 May 2019 (UK) & 2 August 2019 (US)

The lives of the Scottish queens, both those who ruled in their own right, and also the consorts, have largely been neglected in conventional history books.

One of the earliest known Scottish queens was none other than the notorious Lady MacBeth. Was she really the wicked woman depicted in Shakespeare’s famous play? Was St Margaret a demure and obedient wife? Why did Margaret Logie exercise such an influence over her husband, David II, and have we underestimated James VI’s consort, Anne of Denmark, frequently written off as a stupid and wilful woman? These are just a few of the questions addressed by Dr Marshall in her entertaining, impeccably researched book.

Maria Romanov: Third Daughter of the Last Tsar, Diaries and Letters, 1908–1918

Hardcover – 30 May 2019 (US) & 30 June 2019 (UK)

In Maria Romanov: Third Daughter of the Last Tsar, Diaries and Letters, 1908–1918, by translator and researcher Helen Azar with George Hawkins, Mashka’s voice is heard again through her intimate writings, presented for the first time in English. The Grand Duchess was much more than a pretty princess wearing white dresses in hundreds of faded sepia photographs; Maria’s surviving diaries and letters offer a fascinating insight into the private life of a loving family—from festivals and faith, to Rasputin and the coming Revolution; it is clear why this middle child ultimately became a pillar of strength and hope for them all. Maria’s gentle character belied her incredible courage, which emerged in the darkest hours of her brief life. “The incarnation of modesty elevated by suffering,” as Maria was described during the last weeks of her life, she was able to maintain her kindness and optimism, even in the midst of violence and degradation.

Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret

Paperback – 21 May 2019 (US & UK)

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando tongue-tied. She iced out Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was madly in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy.

Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death in 2002, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.

Such an enigmatic and divisive figure demands a reckoning that is far from the usual fare. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays, Craig Brown’s Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.

Entertaining the Braganzas: When Queen Maria of Portugal visited William Stephens in 1788

Paperback – 30 May 2019 (UK) & 2 September 2019 (US)

Maria I of Portugal was a monarch with absolute power. William Stephens was the illegitimate son of a Cornish servant girl; he sailed for Lisbon at the age of fifteen to become one of the richest industrialists in Europe. The contrast between these two people could not have been greater – they were poles apart in every facet of their lives – yet they formed an unlikely friendship in the stifling formality of the Portuguese court. William, a man of genius, built up a thriving glass factory in a small village seventy miles north of Lisbon. Maria, the reigning queen of Portugal, spent three days here in the summer of 1788, sleeping for two nights in the house of an Englishman, a man who was not only low-born and illegitimate, but also a Protestant, a heretic in the eyes of the Portuguese. Entertaining the Braganzas is the story of this unique event in royal history, an intimate glimpse into the world of absolute monarchy, a snapshot of court life in the old Europe, just one year before the French Revolution began to change the face of the continent. It is also the story of two extraordinary people whose very different lives came together at a time of great upheaval in European history.

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The Diaries of Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, 1885-1900

Hardcover – 30 May 2019 (UK) & 31 August 2019 (UK)

Queen Lili‘uokalani, born as Lydia Lili‘u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka‘eha, was the last reigning monarch of the kingdom of Hawai‘i. She ascended the throne in January of 1891, upon the death of her brother, King David Kalākaua, and ruled until she was overthrown in 1893.

Collectively, the personal diaries of Lili‘uokalani provide the modern reader with an invaluable record of the Queenʻs private life, thoughts, and deeds―as heir apparent under King Kalākaua; as queen of the Hawaiian Islands; at the time of her arrest and imprisonment following the counterrevolution of 1895; at the time of her abdication; during her efforts in Washington, DC, to delay the annexation of her beloved islands to the United States; and in her later years as a model of hope and perseverance to the people of Hawai‘i.

The gaps in Lili‘u’s commentary on certain crucial political events are due to the turbulence of 1890s Hawaiian politics. The Lili‘uokalani diaries for 1887, 1888, 1889-short version, 1893, and 1894 are a part of the group of documents known as the “seized papers” that are now held by the Hawai‘i State Archives. These are among the records seized by order of Republic of Hawaii officials in 1895, after they had taken the Queen into custody with the intent of obtaining evidence that she had prior knowledge of the counterrevolution. The government eventually turned these documents over to the territorial archives in 1921, four years after the death of the Queen. Four of the diaries transcribed here were not seized and remained in the Queen’s possession; today these are in the Bishop Museum. The important 1889-long version diary is now in the private collection of a member of the Dominis family and its contents appear here in publication for the first time.

David Forbesʻs introduction describes the history of the diaries and provides short biographies of people mentioned frequently throughout the diaries. His annotations enable the reader to understand the content and context of the diaries and include quotations and information drawn from the letters and papers of Lili‘uokalani and the royal family.

 

Rival Queens: The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots

Paperback – 30 May 2019 (UK)

At the end of the Tudor era, two queens ruled one island. But sixteenth-century Europe was a man’s world and powerful voices believed that no woman could govern. All around Mary and Elizabeth were sycophants, spies and detractors who wanted their dominion, their favour and their bodies.

Elizabeth and Mary shared the struggle to be both woman and queen. But the forces rising against the two regnants, and the conflicts of love and dynasty, drove them apart. For Mary, Elizabeth was a fellow queen with whom she dreamed of a lasting friendship. For Elizabeth, Mary was a threat. It was a schism that would end in secret assassination plots, devastating betrayal and, eventually, a terrible final act.

Mary is often seen as a defeated or tragic sovereign, but Rival Queens reveals instead how she attempted to reinvent queenship and the monarchy – in one of the hardest fights in royal history.

Imperial Ladies of the Ottonian Dynasty: Women and Rule in Tenth-Century Germany (Queenship and Power)

Paperback – 7 May 2019 (UK) & 30 January 2019 (US)

In tenth-century Europe and particularly in Germany, imperial women were able to wield power in ways that were scarcely imaginable in earlier centuries. Theophanu and Adelheid were two of the most influential figures in the Ottonian reich along with their husbands, who relied heavily on their support. Phyllis G. Jestice examines an array of factors that produced their power and prestige, including societal attitudes toward women, their wealth, their function as queens, and their carefully constructed image of piety. Due to their influential positions, Theophanu and Adelheid reclaimed control of the young Otto III despite fierce opposition from Henry the Quarrelsome during the throne struggle of 984. In examining how they successfully secured the regency, this book confronts the outmoded notion of exceptionalism and illuminates the lives of powerful Ottonian women.

Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens)

Hardcover – 14 May 2019 (US & UK)

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to ensure the royal succession. Forty-six, overweight, and suffering from gout, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses. Anna of Kleve, from a small German duchy, is twenty-four, and has a secret she is desperate to keep hidden. Henry commissions her portrait from his court painter, who depicts her from the most flattering perspective. Entranced by the lovely image, Henry is bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. Some think her attractive, but Henry knows he can never love her.

What follows is the fascinating story of an awkward royal union that somehow had to be terminated. Even as Henry begins to warm to his new wife and share her bed, his attention is captivated by one of her maids-of-honor. Will he accuse Anna of adultery as he did Queen Anne Boleyn, and send her to the scaffold? Or will he divorce her and send her home in disgrace? Alison Weir takes a fresh and astonishing look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone and fearing for her life in a royal court that rejected her almost from the day she set foot on England’s shore.

Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens)

Paperback – 7 May 2019 (US & UK)

Ever since she was a child, Jane has longed for a cloistered life as a nun. But her large noble family has other plans, and as an adult, Jane is invited to the King’s court to serve as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon. The devout Katherine shows kindness to all her ladies, almost like a second mother, which makes rumors of Henry’s lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn—also lady-in-waiting to the queen—all the more shocking.  For Jane, the betrayal triggers memories of a haunting incident that shaped her beliefs about marriage.

But once Henry disavows Katherine and secures Anne as his new queen—forever altering the religious landscape of England—he turns his eye to another: Jane herself. Urged to return the King’s affection and earn favor for her family, Jane is drawn into a dangerous political game that pits her conscience against her desires. Can Jane be the one to give the King his long-sought-after son, or will she be cast aside like the women who came before her?

Bringing new insight to this compelling story, Alison Weir marries meticulous research with gripping historical fiction to re-create the dramas and intrigues of the most renowned court in English history. At its center is a loving and compassionate woman who captures the heart of a king, and whose life will hang in the balance for it.

Joanna of Flanders: Heroine and Exile

Hardcover – 15 March 2019 (UK) & 1 October 2019 (US)

Joanna of Flanders, Countess de Montfort and Duchess of Brittany, abruptly vanished from public life after 1343 amid the Breton Wars of Succession during the Hundred Years War. As wife of the late Duke John de Montfort, Joanna’s rightful place was in Brittany as regent of the duchy for their five-year-old son and heir John of Brittany. Despite her fame for the defense of Hennebont in 1342 during her husband’s imprisonment, she along with her children had accompanied Edward III of England to Britain in February 1343 and seemingly never departed. She resided in England in Tickell Castle, Yorkshire, in comfortable obscurity until her death around 1374. What happened to her and why? The answers to those questions belie the core complexities of medieval social structures, the care of the vulnerable, and the custody of women.






About Moniek 1250 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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