Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Royal Romps and flagging focus

I daren't put the three letter word, that begins with s and ends with an x and refers to 'romping' anywhere on the blog, you know how cyber space is!

When I go to the library, it is usually with two small people in tow, and 'perusing the shelves' really means running past the stacks between the kids section and the issuing desk and grabbing whatever grabs your fancy at the end of the shelf. With the Royal Wedding just been, and being ever so slightly interested in the romantic lives of the 'elite' (piqued by Philipa Gregory novels and just pure human gossip interest - I'm sorry I admit it), how could I resist this book winking at me as I dashed past.

Well it ain't no Philipa Gregory. I'm not sure how I managed to get through the dry text, appalling punctuation (whoever proof-read this should be black balled) and complete lack of context. If you have no idea which Royal period happened when, or which monarch was on the throne, you'd be jolly confused. Admittedly some of the characters were interesting and the illustrations were pretty, although there was one photo of two ladies who don't even get a mention, but a few family trees would have helped follow the connections. Royal families confuse me at the best of times, let alone worrying about bastard children and mistresses as well!

Roger Powell's premise is that royal mistresses all pretty much came/come from the same family lines, almost suggesting that there is some genetic predisposition to extra marital dalliances, but he fails to really contextualise the politics of romping. There was more at stake, in most cases, than debauchery and boredom. Titles, positions, land and money were powerful motivators, for both the woman and her family.

He also seems to lament the prevalence of the British Royalty marrying/fancying commoners (and yes Katie and Wills get a mention, even Charles and Camilla), questioning why would this be so... again, politics and social perceptions around romance and marriage are vastly different from centuries ago. Once royal marriages were a form of political treaties between countries, now marriage is about marrying the one you love, rather than loving the one you're with.

I had to have a little rant about this book, because I was really appalled that something of this quality made it to being a glossy paged, hard covered book. When I like something, I'll rant about it (I am getting to blogging about the thermo mix soon!), and when I don't like something, then pretty much everyone knows too!
So if you're about to pick this up, based on an alluring title, seek Ms Gregory out instead!

Although suffering a few nights reading, it hasn't all be in vain - I have decided yes, I am going to work on my tutor's comments from my short story and send it off - very nerve wracking. No one has really seen much of my creative writing since I was in high school. Academic writing was quite a different ball game!

And if anyone knows what a Lord of the Bedchamber is/was and where it was on the pecking order of royal staff, I'd be most obliged!

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