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

by Eleanor Herman | History |
ISBN: 9780060585433 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingperryfranwing of Elk Grove, California USA on 11/9/2008
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingperryfranwing from Elk Grove, California USA on Sunday, November 9, 2008
From Booklist
Certainly a catchy title. And Herman's spirited history of royal "mistresshood" is certainly a catchy read. Her book is not a collective biography of mistresses of European kings through the ages, although she does pay relatively brief but nevertheless trenchant visits to famous ones and some not so famous. No, her book is more an accounting of the "art and science" of being a royal mistress, ranging in time from the "departing mists" of medieval Europe (before which "royal sin" was kept from public knowledge) to the present day (namely, Prince Charles' girlfriend, Camilla Parker-Bowles). Her treatment is a royal-mistresses-for-dummies look at male monarchs having sex on the side. She establishes a basic chronological history of the institution and assigns it a set of general characteristics (for instance, the paramour is "never to be tired, ill, complaining, or grief-stricken"). The author explains what mistresses got out of their relationships, and she looks into the issue of how mistresses traditionally got along (or didn't) with queen wives. History made as buoyant as fiction.

Journal Entry 2 by wingperryfranwing from Elk Grove, California USA on Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This is a replacement for humberts-doll's bookray which is stalled. If you are interested in joining this ray, please PM me. It will remain open until last person reads the book.

Participants so far:

. Kiri from California, USA (US only)
. CollegeLady from California, USA (US only)
. Llednyl from Ohio, USA (US/Canada only)
. darkpunkangel from Canada (international)
. Wandering-B from Hong Kong (international)
. madnad from Spain (Europe only)<----Please skip
. Bookworm-lady from Spain (Europe only)
. kalise from Austria (International)
. voveryte from UK (International)
. Sfogs from New Zealand (International)
. awakeagain from New Jersey, USA (US only)<----Book is here
. skizeye9 from DC, USA (US only)<----Skipped - no response to PMs

Note: Order is subject to change based on shipping preferences and others joining the bookray.

How the bookray works:
* Someone will PM you for your address, PM them back and provide your address
* When you receive the book, please make a journal entry letting everyone know that you received it
* Put the book at the top of your TBR pile (under other rings/rays that arrived first)
* Read the book (take your time and enjoy the book, don't feel rushed to finish it but try to get it out to next reader within a couple of months)
* When the end is in sight, check the book's journal and PM the next person to get their address
* Finish the book, make another journal entry and let everyone know what you thought of the book
* Send the book to the next person on the list (please use the cheapest shipping method available), make release notes (Controlled Release) or journal entry to let everyone know that it's in the mail
* END OF THE RAY, The last person on the ray could try and continue the ray or just give/mail the book to someone else who might like to read it, perhaps a RABCK, or release it into the wild.

Please feel free to PM me at any time with questions

Bookray is now completed. Thanks everyone for participating!

Journal Entry 3 by wingperryfranwing at Bookring/Bookray, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- Canada on Sunday, November 16, 2008

Released 13 yrs ago (11/16/2008 UTC) at Bookring/Bookray, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- Canada



Traveling to Kiri in Santa Rosa, CA to restart this bookring. Enjoy!

USPS DC# 0308 0070 0000 7892 3780

Journal Entry 4 by Kiri from Santa Rosa, California USA on Friday, December 5, 2008
TBR (opened 5 Dec 08) Read by 5 Jan comments to follow. =) Onto College Lady as soon as I get address verification!
pm sent 5 Jan 09 (no response -- didn't go through?)
pm & email sent 11 Jan 09

Journal Entry 5 by CollegeLady from La Mesa, California USA on Friday, February 20, 2009
Arrived today. I've PM'd for the next address.

Journal Entry 6 by CollegeLady from La Mesa, California USA on Saturday, February 21, 2009
Not as good as the reviews but still interesting. Shipping on to the next in line. Tracking number: 420440269101038555749563897305

Journal Entry 7 by Llednyl from Marysville, Ohio USA on Monday, February 23, 2009
It's here! Looking forward to it, thanks :)

Journal Entry 8 by Llednyl from Marysville, Ohio USA on Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Finished this afternoon during my break between classes. This was a very informative and enjoyable read, although I thought that at times the writing was a little too much like a school paper. When some artistry did sneak into the writing it almost seemed out of place.

My favorite mistress had to be Nell Gwynn - she seemed like she had such a great attitude and sense of humor. I'd like to learn more about her... maybe I'll do a search to see if there are any books about her life.

Thanks so much for sharing - I have darkpunkangel's address and will be sending this off tomorrow.

Journal Entry 9 by Llednyl at Montréal, Québec Canada on Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Released 12 yrs ago (3/18/2009 UTC) at Montréal, Québec Canada



This is now on its way to Canada :)

Journal Entry 10 by darkpunkangel from Barrie, Ontario Canada on Thursday, March 26, 2009
It's here! Thanks Llednyl for passing this on. Can't wait to read this :D!

Journal Entry 11 by darkpunkangel from Barrie, Ontario Canada on Monday, May 25, 2009
I really enjoyed reading this book.

The book is now on its way to Wandering-B.

Journal Entry 12 by wandering-B from Tai Po, Tai Po Hong Kong on Monday, June 1, 2009
Received this one today with thanks to darkpunkangel (seems we are swapping books right about now) and perryfran for the ray. Have a couple in front of it, as usual, but I will get to it as quickly as possible.

Journal Entry 13 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Monday, July 20, 2009
I received it today, with a lovely and very original bookmark- Thans a lot, Wandering-B!
And thanks, Perryfran, for sharing it!
I am looking forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 14 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Thursday, January 7, 2010
Currently reading: I have already asked for Kalise's address.
Thanks for sharing, and sorry for the delay!

Journal Entry 15 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Thursday, January 14, 2010
Very interesting: if you want to know how royal mistresses lived, what expenses they had, what they wore, and what was their destiny (and that of their children), this is your book!
And this goes up to Camilla Parker-Bowles, not yet married to Prince Charles when this book was published.
My favourite? Nell Gwynn, who had a remarkable sense of humour (see pic).

One quote:

"We can only wonder how women's lot in Western society would have improved during the past four thousand years had Genesis blamed seductive Adam for tempting innocent Eve with a banana. But since it was Eve who gave Adam the apple, Sinful Woman became a fair target for tempting Virtuous Man from the straight and narrow path with her sexual wiles."

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Kalise; it makes for a fascinating read.

Thanks for sharing it, Perryfran, and once again sorry for keeping it for too long!


Journal Entry 16 by wingBookworm-ladywing at Bookring/Bookray, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- Canada on Thursday, January 14, 2010

Released 11 yrs ago (1/14/2010 UTC) at Bookring/Bookray, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- Canada



Sent to Kalise, in Austria, who is next in this bookray.

Journal Entry 17 by kalise from St. Florian bei Linz, Oberösterreich Austria on Monday, January 18, 2010
Book arrived safely here in Austria! Thank you so much for sending it, bookworm lady, and thank you perryfran for offering it up for a ring! This looks like it's fascinating reading. Will get to it ASAP!

Journal Entry 18 by kalise from St. Florian bei Linz, Oberösterreich Austria on Sunday, January 24, 2010
This was one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time! I gobbled it up in a couple of days and was rather sorry when I finished! How rare to encounter a scholarly work that is so well researched and presented in such an entertaining manner! I greatly enjoyed the author's writing style, especially her occasional witticisms that made me laugh out loud.
Since I love reading about Louis XV and his court, my most favorite mistress, of course, has to be Mme Pompadour (see left)! She never ceases to fascinate me. Not only was she amazingly beautiful but witty, intelligent, creative, and versatile in her many activities and business ventures (she founded the Sevres porcellain factory in France, which still exists today)-- and, can one believe it -- that most famous mistresses of mistresses was frigid??? That's an amusing tidbit if ever there was one... Since I'm living in Austria, I was also delighted to read about Katharina Schratt, mistress of Emperor Franz Joseph. Her house near Bad Ischl, the famous Schratt-villa, is now a fancy restaurant, where I have also had the occasion to eat once.

I couldn't help but wonder, though, what all those beautiful and intelligent women saw in those kings in the first place. I mean, let's be honest: many of those fellows were fat, ugly, oldish and suffered from all sorts of illnesses. We all are aware of Henry VIII's waist size. I can't think of Louis XIV as a handsome man with those fat lips of his; Louis XV had a tendency to "look yellow," (indicative of liver problems?); Napoleon was short and suffered from epilepsy - just to name a few. All of them had serious problems with faithfulness! And here you have Europe's most beautiful women scratching each other's eyes out to be their "maitresse en titre," this totally insecure position which they could lose any time, any day to a younger, more beautiful woman! Can one really understand this, I wonder?

So I find that Herman totally hits the nail on the head when she ends her book with: "Those who tread the earth wearing crowns - and we the crownless - all worship at altars of greed, ambition, and desire." Absolutely!!! In the end, it all comes down to the very animalistic urge? instinct? desire? to hang out with the Alpha male. Not only 'cause he has the power, but also the cash.

I find that our society hasn't changed much in that respect.

I feel now inspired to check out some of the books that are listed in the bibliography. And I will also keep a look-out for the companion novel: Sex with Queens! It will be fascinating to read the other side of the story. :-D

Thank you, again, perryfran for sharing this book with me! I have already pmed next participant and will try to get the book out ASAP.

Journal Entry 19 by kalise at Linz, Oberösterreich Austria on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Released 11 yrs ago (1/27/2010 UTC) at Linz, Oberösterreich Austria



Sent the book out to voveryte yesterday. Enjoy!!

Journal Entry 20 by voveryte from Woolwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, February 7, 2010
Received yesterday!

Journal Entry 21 by voveryte from Woolwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Finished and posted to Sfogs already!

Very interesting and informative read, but a bit dry sometimes. Thanks for sharing anyway!

Journal Entry 22 by Sfogs from Rolleston, Canterbury New Zealand on Thursday, April 15, 2010
Arrived today and looks very interesting, may be a while before I am able to read it fully but I'll go my best.
Thanks everyone!

Journal Entry 23 by Sfogs from Rolleston, Canterbury New Zealand on Sunday, April 18, 2010
Quite an interesting read. I didn't realise how hard life was back then, very few people even lived to be 30!
Thanks for the book everyone! I'll pass it on as soon as I can.

Journal Entry 24 by Sfogs at Christchurch, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- New Zealand on Monday, April 19, 2010

Released 11 yrs ago (4/18/2010 UTC) at Christchurch, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- New Zealand



In the post!

Journal Entry 25 by awakeagain from Port Murray, New Jersey USA on Friday, April 30, 2010
Received this book yesterday and I've practically finished reading it before I even got around to journalling. Wonderfully full of details about the private lives of royal mistresses. I know from reading this book that I've have never made it as a king's mistress. The strain of being everything he wanted all the time, sick, pregnant, whatever; nope, couldn't do it.

PMing next in line.

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