This is a Book Week guest post for Saturday’s Holiday Learning theme from Melanie Clegg of Madame Guillotine
Hello there. I don’t often get asked to write guest posts this is a bit of a novelty for me and all this unprecedented attention from a whole new audience (hello! oh, I already said that, didn’t I?) will probably make me want to ramble on and on and on.
Anyway, as I write a history blog and am also a Lady Authoress of Historical Fiction (I’ve capitalised this so as to give it a bit of extra gravitas) I’ve been asked to talk to you all about history books. No, don’t run away! It’s not all bad, honest! I’m not even going to ask you questions at the end. Much.
Some of you will be rolling your eyes and muttering that you already read history books thank you very much, but for those of you who don’t but quite fancy it, here is a list of five jolly good reads to get you started!
A fantastic account of the different lives and fortunes of the last group of upper crust young debutantes presented to the Queen in 1958. I thought this was an utterly enthralling slice of social history and is definitely recommended if you’re interested in the glamorous and elegant lives of high society in the 1950s.
An engrossing, magnificent and often touching biography of the doomed French Queen that focusses on her personal relationships and the way that her actual personality influenced the events of the French Revolution. It also does much to dispel the myths about Marie Antoinette that linger on to this day.
A wonderful book about one of Marie Antoinette’s best friends, the glamorous and adorable Duchess of Devonshire who was an 18th century precursor to the likes of Kate Middleton. She was mobbed by hundreds of people whenever she went outside and her every sartorial choice was scrutinised then slavishly copied. However, her life wasn’t as perfect as it seemed – she had immense gambling debts, was forced to give up her illegitimate daughter and her best friend (the most awful frenemy of all time) was sleeping with her husband…
Most of us are familiar with the Tudors and all their bloodshed, skullduggery and general iniquity, but their Italian contemporaries, the powerful and ambitious Medici family in Florence are a whole different kettle of murdering, lying, cheating fish, with the beautiful, audacious, intelligent and ultimately doomed party girl Isabella at the very heart of the family. This is a sensational tale of passion, deceit and ultimately a shocking murder…
Most of us are familiar with the image of Queen Victoria in her later years, dressed in heavy black mourning with a lace cap on her head and a rather uncomfortably miserable expression on her face as she poses next to a bust of her poor, dear Albert. This book takes us back to the young Victoria when she was a flighty young princess and the sole dynastic hope of her family. It opens with a tragedy when her cousin, Princess Charlotte, the only legitimate grandchild of George III dies in childbirth, leading her pack of dissolute wastrel uncles to scour the courts of Europe for a suitably fecund Protestant bride who can provide him with an heir…
Crikey, this was difficult as we really are spoiled for choice when it comes to well written and engrossing history books! Thanks for reading and stuff. X