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princesses-behaving-badly-linda-rodriguez-mcrobbieReviewed by Jessa Larsen

You’ve read plenty of fairy tales, watched enough animated movies and you know ALL about the princesses and how their stories landed them a happily ever after. Right? Wrong! The lives of real princesses are completely different from what you may have read about or seen on TV. Sure, sure, plenty of them turned out alright, leading their countries as kind and gracious queens. On the other hand, what about all the princesses who were utterly ruthless in their quest for power? If you open that generous dowry chest, you might find more than a handful of skeletons lurking inside.

For example, Princess Stephanie Von Hoenlohe was actually a spy for the Nazis, oftentimes gaining vital information or swaying high end political leaders for Hitler himself. Empress Elizabeth of Austro-Hungary slept wearing a mask of raw meat and if you think that’s bad, Princess Olga of Kiev murdered thousands of men. We have stories of war, slander, and scandal. Some of them simply wanted to be just as worthy of praise as their fellow men while others felt the need to one-up them. Either way, these are NOT the stories you’re used to. These are the tales of history.

It’s tough to pick a favorite princess from the bunch! I have to say, I love these bad girls from history, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the borderline blood thirsty psychopaths. (I hope you don’t judge me too harshly, I just find these personalities the most intriguing to research and learn about.) My favorite was hands down Elizabeth Bathory who was obsessed with staying young and beautiful and the number of young females she tortured and murdered is up for debate. I do have to say that I was disappointed to find that Elizabeth was given such a short section in this collection. She is one of my all time favorite “psychos” and I feel like I was dealt a disservice by not giving me more of both the historical and mythological aspects of her life.

I also ended up really enjoying Elisabeth of Austria. She obviously had more than her share of mental issues and seemed particularly obsessed with her image to the point that she essentially had an eating disorder as well as an infatuation with exercising. I find it interesting that there is actually a history of Elisabeth’s madness in a time where a lot of those issues were wildly misunderstood.

Princesses Behaving Badly is not a fictional work, but it is a fascinating read all the same. Linda Rodriguez McRobbie puts together hearsay and history to give us the true stories of many actual princesses from the past. The stories are extremely interesting and it was fun to read about how women acted in a world made for men. This is a must-read for history buffs and feminists alike.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 dogs and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She is a full time mom and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. She also likes watching anime, reading books, and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Quirk Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.