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Review – Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr

August 15, 2013

I picked up this book expecting something a little bit different and that is certainly what I got with Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr. The author does all the artwork in the book, which I think is very good. She obviously enjoys it and is talented, however, the writing, I must admit, I did not like so much.

Doomed Queens goes through history discussing royal women of the past and their sticky ends, most quite young. We see how these royal women lost their heads, were poisoned, committed suicide or died in childbirth. From ancient empresses, Medieval Queens, Renaissance wives and modern women, we follow them on their journey, which ended quite suddenly.

I like the idea of this book, it seems a good book for people who don’t know all that much about history, or for those who want a general overview of these queens. There are two pages for each royal, is two pages enough for say the life of Anne Boleyn or Marie Antoinette, probably not, but I guess with many women to get through, two pages is all they get.

I hate to say it, but I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. I found it very childish, there are quizzes after each chapter and art activities to do, for me, that should be in the children’s learning section rather than the adult history section. I guess some people may like it, but I certainly don’t. Then there was the tone of the book, it was very familiar, Waldherr uses the term ‘knocked up’ to describe a pregnant queen, now it may just be me being traditional, but I wouldn’t even use that term for my friend, let alone royalty, however ancient. I found the book frustrating, and struggled to get to the end. When I did get to the end I came across Princess Diana’s entry, I’m not sure she should even be in a book called doomed queen’s, but there she is, again, a familiar tone for the death of a woman who was loved by the British people and not even 20 years has passed since her death.

So, I would say, read it if you want to, if you like familiarity and want a broad knowledge of some of the queens of history, but, if you are like me and want something a bit meatier, I would certainly avoid this book.

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