Rating: 5 Stars ★★★★★
Princess Alfhild had a choice to make.
You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But the lives of real princesses couldn’t be more different. Sure, many were graceful and benevolent leaders—but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets.
Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev murdered thousands of men, and Princess Rani Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back. Princesses Behaving Badly offers minibiographies of all these princesses and dozens more.
What a great read. It’s very sad I haven’t heard from many of these women. Because their stories are fascinating.
Swayed by her mother’s wise counsel, Alfhild decided that Alf was not the man for her. Instead, she decided to trade her modesty for men’s clothing and go to sea as a rampaging pirate, leading a crew of lady buccaneers. As you do.
The book is structured into different parts: warriors, usurpers, schemers, survivors, partiers, floozies and madwomen.
Each of these parts contains short biographies of historical women and their deeds.
The biographies in this book are short, but awesome. All these women deserve full-blown biographies, but that is not the point of this book. The point is a short introduction to their badassery and it totally delivers.
I also loved the way the biographies are written. They are highly entertaining not only because of their subjects, but also because the writing is very humorous.
The next morning, after the cavorting aristocrats had departed with fond memories, a bit of a hangover, and possibly some exciting new venereal diseases, they began receiving anonymous letters threatening to reveal exactly what they’d gotten up to at the secluded schloss.
Overall, an utterly fascinating, highly enjoyable read.
Amazing mini-biographies of some of the most fascinating women in history.