- Hardcover: 247 pages
- Publisher: Eurohistory; Second Edition edition (2011)
- ISBN-10: 097719616X
- ISBN-13: 978-0977196166
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 2 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Four Graces: Queen Victoria's Hessian Granddaughters Hardcover – 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
We have a winner. A real winner. I read a lot of books. I have read a lot of books about royalty. The majority of books published in English are largely fluff. Consider the number of books that have been published on Prince William's engagement and wedding and then think about how many well-researched, scholarly books you have read.
I have been reviewing books since 1983, when I first started the print version of Royal Book News, then a bi-monthly newsletter. I have read some good stuff -- Hugo Vickers' biography of Princess Alice comes to mind, as well as Greg King's biographies, and I have also forced myself to gorge on Kitty Kelley and Lady Colin Campbell, although Lady C was on to something because she, not Andrew Morton, was the first to write about Charles and Diana's marriage and Diana's psychological issues.
The James Pope-Hennesseys and Greg Kings are far and few between, and, sadly, the publishing industry is not willing to encourage major royal tomes. Although the archives at Harewood House must be teaming with material, there has never been a serious biography on Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood. Two hagiographies were published in the late 1920s, but nothing since then. Princess Mary died in 1965 shortly after she learned that her elder son was the father of an illegitimate son. The late Princess Royal is largely unknown in the United Kingdom. She is the only child of George V who has not been subjected to a biographer's pen. Even her youngest brother, the mentally challenged, epileptic Prince John, has had more biographical information published about him than Princess Mary has.
It is a shame that no one has taken on Princess Mary.Read more ›
That's not my problem with this book.
After reading it, what I thought was that it was supposed to be about all 4 sisters, as in 'the FOUR Graces' - right? Well, having just finished it, it was roughly 90% about Princess Victoria and leaves the other 3 with just very brief mentions here and there.
There are a few wonderful tidbits here and there, letters and diary entries that in around 20 years of reading on the subject I have never seen before. But, it appears that the original concept for this book had changed. When I first saw the ads for this book, I got the idea this book would be similar to 'The Hellenic Dynasty' published by Eurohistory, one that is a larger format photo book with various journal entries and letters to fill it out. Something like the 2 Charlotte Zeepvat books. When I received this in the mail, I was fairly disappointed at how small it was. But, hoping that the content would make up for it, I plugged on, squinting my thirty-something eyes trying to read the teeny tiny print.
And so . . .
After the long wait, the light touches on 3 of the 4 sisters is kind of a letdown. Irene remains a virtual cypher, Ella is only briefly touched on, no deep insights there. Alix is virtually ignored. Perhaps the author really wanted to write a biography of Victoria, and yes there is a need for an in depth biography of this very fascinating woman, but after 3 to 4 years of waiting, the entire book feels like a rough outline of a far more in depth book.
Irene is clearly of less importance and there was less to tell of her.
The research for this book was extensive, and it always has to stop somewhere. Good history leaves us hungry to learn more about the people and events mentioned--and the reader will certainly be motivated to do so. We are not left wanting more pictures, the book includes a wonderful selection of photos that are well selected and taken from a wide variety of sources.
In fact, this is the sort of book that history fans can purchase as a gift for friends to stimulate their interest in the subject.
You do not have to be interested in royalty to enjoy this book. It is a compelling and fascinating multi-biography of four women who could have been - except for a twist of fate - four sisters of any nationality or status caught up in the events of history. I highly recommend this book and look forward to more from Ilana Miller.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recently read a library copy of this book and found it very interesting and learned a lot of fascinating history. Read morePublished 6 months ago by teachermom
Excellent, excellent book!!! A supbrb biography of all 4 princesses. I have read quite a bit on this subject---this book was one of the best. Congratulations to Ilana Miller!Published 15 months ago by clement nolan
I find this an interesting book (a bit dry) but I am enjoying it. It is primarily about one of the sisters, Victoria (Battenberg) Milford Haven. Read morePublished on April 15, 2013 by russian researcher
It is with great anticipation that I bought this book, as I have been waiting for it for quite a long time. But I think it is well worth the wait. Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by Cuteguy65
this book is very well researched and written. I enjoyed it very much. The pictures were also very good. Thank you
for having this book available.
This is a very good book for those who are especially interested in Victoria Battenberg. She really had a unique perspective of the ways of daily life in three countries! Read morePublished on September 3, 2011 by History reader
Though this mob isn't close to the 20th century rat pack, the exploits of the Hessian Granddaughters are just as exciting, and extremely more interesting. Read morePublished on August 9, 2011 by Erika Miller