Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kelly's Review of "Sex with the Queen" by Eleanor Herman

Title: Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics
Author: Eleanor Herman
Published: William Morrow, 2006
Where I Got It: Online

Wow, how awkward is this review title? Nevertheless, I think I have found a new favorite book. In the follow-up book to Sex with Kings (which I surprisingly did NOT like, read my review on my personal blog here), we get a whirlwind tale through 900 years of European royalty, all told through the eyes of the queen’s bedroom. From Eleanor of Aquitaine to Princess Diana, from England to France to Germany to Russia, we go into the secret lives of some of the most famous women in history.

This book isn’t only about the love lives of queens (though it’s hard to think otherwise with the huge red SEX on the cover and a bare butt). The first third of the book is actually about what a queen/princess’ life really was like. Very few of these women’s lives were fairy tales. Most were pawned off to other countries to eradicate men’s debts or problems, lived in a foreign country, and had acquired difficult husbands.

So, as a woman, I of course have a problem with some things. The King was allowed to have as many mistresses as he desired; in fact, it was ideal that he didn’t love his wife. She was only there to produce heirs. On the other hand, if the Queen had even one lover, she could possibly be divorced, or both she and her lover could be imprisoned, tortured, or executed.

Some of these women went through lovers like I go through underwear. It was shocking at the number of men Catherine the Great bedded, even well into old age. Another woman of many lovers was Princess Diana, of whom the author is definitely NOT a fan of. Princess Di was always put in a bad light in this book, yet it is slightly refreshing after her rise to almost sainthood status after death.

The stories are never too long, always short, sweet, and to the point. The only ones that are truly long are Anne Boleyn’s and Catherine the Great’s stories (but they’re both good ones!). Eleanor Herman definitely has a sense of humor and a knack for making history interesting. I’d recommend this book to people who aren’t even history buffs like me. Parts of it read like a gossip column and I read bits of it out loud to my roommates who got a kick out of it. Definitely recommend, especially for females. 5 stars!


  1. This one is actually on my TBR list! It looked so interesting. I'll have to definitely pick it up at the library!

  2. Holy cow! This book sounds like all sorts of awesome. I'll definitely be adding this to my TBR pile!

  3. I sure do love history books that are fun to read and keep you captivated. Added to my TBR!

  4. Like everyone else above, this has gone on my wishlist!

  5. If I saw this book, I probably wouldn't pick it up which is why I love reading reviews on book blogs. I have put this on my wish list - thanks!

  6. Wow, sounds fantastic. Putting it on my tbr list now! Great review!

  7. I've heard of this book before. I believe it was through Sex With Kings. Queens would probably be more interesting to me for the reasons you pointed out! Great review! Glad you liked it, Kelly!

  8. I like history and enjoy seeing it through the female perspective. I will check this book out!

  9. I bought this book a while ago but still haven't gotten around the reading it. I think I read part of the first chapter in the store and that's what made me buy it (it was about princesses. When I think of a princess I automatically think of the Disney version).


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