Review: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

For each of us the name Cleopatra conjures up many vivid images… sensuality, seduction, beauty, the exotic, wealth, excess, Elizabeth Taylor.

While the legend of Cleopatra is prevalent, what has been buried over time is this incredible woman’s real tale. What we know of her today comes to us through the writings of pissy old dead guys.

In her book Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff attempts to sift through these accounts, many of which are brimming with Roman propaganda, to reveal a woman even more impressive than her modern day persona. I like to think of her as the O.B., the Original Bitch.

Cleopatra became Queen of Egypt at the age of 18, which meant she oversaw an entire nation’s people, economy, military, and foreign relations… yeah no big. As if that weren’t impressive enough, let’s take a look at some of the things she accomplished in her less than 4o years on Earth: Continue reading “Review: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff”

Review: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

What is a “weekend” you ask?… Like you I’m having Downton Abbey withdrawls, so I turned to Nancy Mitford to give me a fix.

Nancy was one of the famous Mitford sisters, members of an aristocratic and eccentric English family who became quite famous for their exploits.

There is a very interesting biography about them that I plan to tackle at some point by Mary S. Lovell called The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family. Nancy Mitford bases many of her fictional characters and stories off of her infamous family.

The book I picked up is called The Pursuit of Love (for all of you cover whores out there it is worth reading for the cover alone). I had read a few reviews about the book before reading it myself, and everyone commented on how funny it was. My hopes were high. It wasn’t what I was expecting, however this short book really grew on me. Continue reading “Review: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford”

Review: The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon’s Josephine by Andrea Stuart

Josephine Bonaparte was the Jacqueline Kennedy of her era. She was a fashion icon and patron of the arts, who was also renowned for her charm, beauty, and compassion.

Josephine worked hard to constantly reinvent herself and her public image, even Madonna would be impressed by her efforts. Despite the veneer of glamour this woman had a rough life, but fought through it all dressed to kill and with a smile firmly in place.

Andrea Stuart’s biography provides a fascinating account of Josephine’s chaotic life from her birth on the island of Martinique, to her unhappy first marriage, her imprisonment during the French revolution, and finally her tumultuous relationship with Napoleon.

Stuart does a fantastic job of making history read like fiction. Normally there are places in a biographies that I struggle to read through, but Stuart held my attention through each chapter. Continue reading “Review: The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon’s Josephine by Andrea Stuart”