This year I have read quite a few historic reads, which you’ll now doubt get the low-down about in my year round up of what I have read. I’m the type of person that works through a few books at the same time and I always have at least one historic read on the go. I wanted to share a few of the most recent ones here today and a few of my thoughts about them. I do have penchant for those feisty feminist rulers and the women who paved the way for us today so I do think my historical books definitely reflect that -especially todays group of books I want to share. If that sounds like your sort of thing then I hope you enjoy!
Long live the queens: Mighty, Magnificent and Bloody Marvellous Monarch’s History’s forgotten, Emma Marriott.
This book has a very similar format to What Would Boudicca Do?: Everyday Problems Solved by History’s Most Remarkable Women but strictly Queens and Monarchs. It included some queens I already knew about like Catherine of Aragon, Matilda of Flanders, Zenobia, Queen Anne, etc, but it also introduced me to a whole host of leading ladies who I may have heard their names briefly but never delved into their stories such as Queen Elfrida, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen and Caroline of Brunswick. The layout of this book makes the information super easy to digest in bitesize chunks which is great for giving a brief overview into these ladies lives and what they did, but it wouldn’t be well suited for those who want a detailed account. I’d recommend this a great jumping off point to use almost like a catalog if you’re looking for a new queen to learn about. You can simply have a read through this book and find the perfect queen. I must mention, this book also has a great light-hearted, comedic tone to it which helps keep the information breezy and easy to read.
This book is split into sections, with every Greek woman having her own chapter to explore her story and then comment on it. I enjoyed this book but it was far more academic than I thought it would be. What I mean by that is while it was informative and an enjoyable read there were times when it felt a bit too critical, especially when it came to relating to another source commenting on that given woman. I think my favourite chapters in this book were those relating to Penelope, Medusa and the Amazons.
Queens was such a quick, informative read. It’s a lot like Long Live the Queens as it gives bitesize bits of information however, this book has an entirely different layout and gives information from all areas of these fierce women’s lives; accompanied by beautifully, vibrant illustrations.This book covers such a huge range and variety of Queens from world history. It has mythic, majestic queens like Queen Gunnhild and the Queen of Sheba to Royal Rebels and sword-wielding queens like the Trung sisters and Isabella of Castille. It also has ruthless rulers such as Ranavalona I of Madagascar, Mary I and Biawacheeitchish (a name I had never heard of and want to learn so much more about this talented woman). One thing I really loved too is that the book doesn’t just mention what these women did in their lives but it also highlights other elements of their lifestyles such as royal hobbies they partook in, how they were portrayed on their currencies, crowns and jewels of their reign, royal residencies, and even the royal beauty regimes. I especially loved the beauty regimes section. Reading about Empress Dowager Cixi and how she was rumoured to have used a small jade roller to massage her face to maintain her youthful looks was really interesting to me.
I always love these types of compilation books. There’s always some popular names which I’ve read about numerous times but as every author brings a new perspective, there’s inevitably names that I’ve never heard of and love learning about. I will say that this book has such a diverse group of women which I have never encountered before. I think a lot of books focus on Queens and influential figures from the Western world, and this book has really highlighted that fact for me. From this book I’ve now heard of queens like Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba, Razia Sultana the first Muslim female to reign over Delhi, the Jamaican heroine Queen Nanny, the Mayan warrior queen Lady K’abel, The African leader Yaa Asantewaa and the ambitious Empress Myeongseong.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read any of these books.
Cheerio for now!