To Marry a Prince by Sophie Page

10415290This is another book that I picked up while in London back in March. I think I saw it on Katia’s blog and I’m a sucker for the “regular girl falls for a secret prince” genre of fiction. (Don’t even get me started on the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies of this genre – I LOVE THEM ALL!)

This book creates a fictional British royal family, which I think is brave as usually fiction in this genre like to make up a tiny European principality with a secret royal. You can forgive the heroine for not knowing who the crown prince of Castlebury or whatever because it’s smaller than Luxembourg or whatever. But our heroine has spent the last year living on an island counting fish, so of course she doesn’t recognize the Prince of Wales (what her excuse for not recognizing the heir to the throne of the country she’s lived in all before that, I don’t know, but whatever).

We follow Bella’s relationship with Prince Richard from meetcute (complete with clumsy!heroine and a forgotten phone!) to dating in secret to the public finding and beyond. It’s a world with Twitter, bloggers and smartphones, but it doesn’t really feel like today’s world either. The Prince is rarely cross and Bella is the breath of fresh air the monarchy needs. It feels a lot like The Prince and Me, but with the secret Prince being found out in the first 20 minutes.

It’s a quick read, and I really couldn’t put it down, but it’s not terribly original either. It’s just as advertised and I can’t fault it for that.

A Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen

5981169I finally finished this book at the laundromat today. It was actually a pretty quick read, but I just never seem to have the time to sit down and read it.

It’s another edition of the saga of Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line for the throne and perpetually penniless. This part’s adventures are set in motion after Georgie decides to advertise herself as an escort in the paper, though she’s totally on the up and up. Scotland Yard capitalizes on this faux pas and whisks her back to Scotland, where someone seems to be trying to off the royals while they are vacationing at Balmoral. Additionally, Georgie makes the acquaintance of Ronnie Padgett, lady pilot and adventurer, who is trying to set a speed record.

The mystery is actually enthralling and I didn’t have an inkling about what was going on until the last 20 pages or so, which was quite nice. I’ll be taking a break from this series while I catch up on some other books, but I’ll be looking forward to the next one for sure!

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

7200265I picked up this book shortly after returning from my UK visit and trip to Kensington Palace. After spending a few hours around their artifacts, I wanted to know more about Victoria and Albert. It sat on my nightstand for most of the academic year, but last week, I realized that it was due today, so I needed to get it read.

Despite the title, the book doesn’t get to their pair’s marriage until 140 pages in, which was frustrating. And even then, it doesn’t really follow a logical chronology. I didn’t find a cogent thesis either as the author simply doesn’t have the proof of the things she posits due to the burning of various diaries, letters and other papers by Victoria’s youngest daughter to preserve her mother’s image as she wanted it.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t slog through the right of the book, so back to the library it went, only half-read.

UK: “Have fun stormin’ the castle!”

I’ve putting off this last major post of my UK triplog, but as the London 2012 Olympics are almost over, I guess it’s time to get back to work. This was actually one of my favorite days (was there any day that wasn’t a favorite? Probably not!) and I’m already planning my next trip to include some activities I missed this time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
My last day in the UK was spent primary in Windsor. I do wish I’d had one more day in London to just be and really, properly say goodbye to the city. But spending the day outside the city also worked quite well. Despite my late night, I was up on time and leaving Katia’s flat to catch the 0840 bus to the train station. I have to say, it felt rather normal to leave Katia at home, writing, while I ventured to the bus stop alone. I’d become VERY accustomed to my UK life and it was going to be a hard transition back.

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Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics by Eleanor Herman

16179I saw this book at Barnes & Noble while looking for something else and decided to grab it from the library. I was clearly still on my monarchy kick from my trip to London and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This book is a companion and/or sequel to the author’s Sex With Kings book, which seems to have gotten good reviews.

Sex with the Queen was an enjoyable read, though it lags at times. Several of the chapter-long anecdotes were well-known to me, such as the wives of Henry VIII; others I wasn’t as familiar with. The focus of the book is not sex between the King and his wife the Queen, but the extramarital sex she was having and the reasons for it. After introducing us to royal life and how most princesses were brought to a foreign country with no friends, the book proceeds with case studies about various royal women. It’s broken up by century, starting with the medieval queens and ending with Diana, Princess of Wales (who had far more affairs that I was aware of). The length of the particular queen’s case study seems to be directly related to the source material available, not necessarily the queen’s significance to history or the significance of the affair.

It’s a fairly quick read, though I stalled out during the chapter on Catherine the Great. She was having sex with a LOT of men and it got very tedious to read about. The author also loves to paint mental pictures with her words, which may or may not be based in fact and squicked me out on more than one occasion. I guess, like one’s parents, I don’t like to think about certain historical figures having crazy and/or disturbing sex.

Unfortunately, the Olympics tripped me up and it took me far longer to finish this book than it should. I have to return it along with the next two on my list so I don’t get a library fine. Next time, I’ll have to request them one at a time from inter-library loan. Lesson learned!