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Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny,and Desire Paperback – January 5, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leslie Carroll is the author of several works of historical nonfiction, women’s fiction, and, under the pen names Juliet Grey and Amanda Elyot, is a multipublished author of historical fiction. Her works include Royal Romances, Royal Pains, Royal Affairs, and Notorious Royal Marriages. She is also a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit, and is an award-winning audio book narrator.

A frequent commentator on royal romances and relationships, Leslie has been interviewed by numerous broadcast, online, and print media, including, USA Today, the Australian Broadcasting Company, NPR, Hearst Television, Inc., and she was a featured royalty historian on CBS nightly news in London during the royal wedding coverage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. She also appears as an expert on the love lives of Queen Victoria, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon on the Proper Television series “The Secret Life of [fill in the name of famous figure]” for Canada’s History Channel. Leslie and her husband, Scott, divide their time between New York City and Washington, D.C.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: NAL (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451229010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451229014
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I used to tell people that I was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx; but the truth is that apart from the stellar education I received at the Fieldston School in Riverdale, much of who I am was shaped by my two grandmothers, who encouraged me to follow my bliss long before it became the sort of catchphrase you find on tee-shirts and new-age tchotchkes. My East Side grandmother took me to FAO Schwarz, the New York City Ballet, and afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel, where I dreamed of becoming another Eloise. My West Side grandmother took me to the Central Park carousel and the zoo and treated me to colorful paper parasols and gummy, lukewarm pretzels from the vendors whose wares my East Side grandmother deemed too "dirty" for human consumption.

There are writers on both sides of my family, and although I always loved to write, I never anticipated that it would become my profession. I had wanted to be a ballerina; and though my club feet were corrected at birth (from the stilettos I adore now, you'd never know) and my short Achilles tendons made my toes turn in (corrected at the age of 9), I was never going to end up en pointe.

About a year later, I decided to become an actress when (if?) I grew up, and I never looked back. I majored in Theatre at Cornell University, worked in summer stock, and took classes with a couple of acknowledged masters. I performed a lot of Shakespeare and other classics in New York parks, basements, church choir lofts, and the occasional Off-Broadway theatre; then founded and ran my own nonprofit theatre company for several years. And when things got slow, and I found myself working three survival jobs simultaneously (one of them as a journalist and editor), I decided it was time to pursue an additional creative avenue.

Fast forward a decade. I'm now a multi-published author in three genres, as well as a freelance journalist. And I've also adapted a number of classic texts (IVANHOE; THE PRISONER OF ZENDA; THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL; Mark Twain's "The Diaries of Adam and Eve") for the stage. I began writing women's fiction and historical fiction simultaneously, but my first published novel was the urban romantic comedy MISS MATCH in 2002. In 2005, as I continued to write about feisty female New Yorkers, my first historical novel was published under the pen name Amanda Elyot. While keeping those literary plates spinning I made my historical nonfiction debut in the spring of 2008.

In what I laughingly refer to as my spare time, I'm still a professional actress, working when the scripts and the roles excite me.

I'm such a native New Yorker that I still don't have a driver's license, "Big Sky Country" means Central Park, and the farthest I've ever been from the Upper West Side for any great length of time was my four-year stint upstate in Ithaca, at Cornell, known for its rigorous academics and its equally harsh permafrost.

My birthday falls on the same day as two of my heroes--F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jim Henson. So I reread THE GREAT GATSBY every year and number Miss Piggy among the great actresses of her generation. My favorite color is deep hydrangea blue, and it just kills me that it doesn't look good with red hair.

I live in Manhattan with my husband Scott--who is my hero and everything I ever dreamed of. For the past couple of years we've been considering an addition to the family in the form of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By elena maria vidal on February 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Notorious Royal Marriage by Leslie Carroll is a delightful romp through European history by way of examining several of the most infamous couples of all time. Eleanor of Aquitaine and her consecutive kings, Isabella and Ferdinand, Juana and Philip, Henry VIII and all six Queens, Mary Stuart and Henry Lord Darnley, Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, Alexandra and her Nicholas and many more. It is a book which I found not only highly entertaining but in each chapter, even those about royals whom I have studied, I always learned things I had never known before. In most instances, when addressing certain controversies, Leslie carefully presents the evidence, gives her opinion, but lets the reader draw their own conclusions. I have to say that I am impressed with the vast amount of information that was compiled for each royal marriage, yet summarized into compact narratives.

Royal Marriages has a distinct common touch that makes it an easy read but contains enough dates and details for any lover of history. While the chapter on Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette had a few items that Leslie and I could probably sit and debate about over cocktails, I was moved by the chapters on Franz Josef and Sissi, who suffered everything throughout their long and rocky marriage, as well as by the retelling of the saga of George IV and Mrs. Fitzherbert. I was very glad that Leslie pointed out the Nazi connection in recounting the bizarre relationship of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII. Most of all, I loved the chapters on Mary Queen of Scots.

I had trouble putting this book down and must have been an incredible bore to my family over the holidays as I kept slipping away to read it. It was intriguing to see how even the best of marriages had ups and downs, with the complications of royalty adding to the challenges of compatibility.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sammie on March 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Its certainly a fun read, but it is wildly innacurate in many places. I have read hundreds of books on the Tudors, and some of the stuff in here was news to me, and not in a good way. In an effort to make this a good read the writer added many untrue things and definetly slanted the information to suit her own opinions and biases.
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Format: Paperback
Leslie Carroll has followed her bestseller "Royal Scandals" with another delightful page turner of the marital joys and sorrows of famous royal couples throughout history. The book takes us on a journey through marital (and sometimes martial!)land from the ninth century to the marriages of Prince Ranier and Grace Kelly and the doomed marriage of Diana and Charles.
Carroll earned her authorial spurs writing female fiction and her abilities as a storyteller are superb.. The author has done her homework and produced a readable page turner. The book would have been enriched by adding illustrations and pictures of some of the most prominent couples profiled. It is a hefty tome of 500 pages including many quotations and contemporary assessments by observers on the marriages under review. This is not the history you read it school but the incidents related were important to the marriage partners and their nations.
Aong the many royal marriages these couples stood out:
Henry VIII and his six wives get the most chapters. Catherine of Aragon from Spain who was abandoned for Anne Boleyn (who Henry beheaded); Jane Seymour who gave the lusty and cruel monarch his only son Edward VI. (she died as a result of childbirth); Anne of Cleves whom Henry cast aside; Katharine Howard executed for adultery and treason and the kind and reformed minded Katherine Parr who nursed Henry in his years of declining health.
Tragic stories abound in this book. Nicholas and Alexandra whose love was strong but who were executed by the Communists in 1918 along with their family; Queen Victoria and her beloved Albert who had nine children and remained faithful unto death and Franz Jospeh and Susi his anorexic wife.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer from Queens on February 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Overall, I enjoyed this book tremendously, it covered several centuries of royal marriages in various countries of Europe. Its series of accounts of royal marriages began with Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine through Prince Charles' and his first and second wives, Lady Diana Spencer and Camilla Parker Bowles. All six marriages of Henry VIII are chronicled plus include chapters on legendary matches of Victoria and Albert; Ferdinand and Isabella; Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; and Napoleon and Josephine. Readers should also appreciate the chapters on the stormy marriages of George I and Sophia Dorothea of Celle; Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley; George IV and Caroline of Brunswick as well as the true love matches of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville; Nicholas and Alexandra; and the love gone sour marriage of Franz Joseph and Empress Elizabeth. The author's writing makes this book absorbing and a must for historians and royal watchers. Carroll includes a bibliography for further reading.

I hope that future books about other royal marriages will be written by this author--there are many others that would be worthy subjects: for example Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh; George V and Queen Mary; Edward VII and Queen Alexandra; Charles I and Henrietta Marie; and Louis Napoleon and Empress Eugenie.

One quibble is the fact checking/editing. For instance: Andrew Parker Bowles is called Tom Parker Bowles at times; Guilford Dudley was not Edward Seymour's son; Princess Diana married at age 20 not age 19; and Prince Charles said "whatever in love means" not "whatever love means."

An excellent book for those already familiar with the royals and to those who are just starting their research on royal couples throughout history.
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