Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Publisher's Summary from Quirk Books:

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. It’s a fascinating read for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.

This was a fun book! These women were all so different. McRobbie made them all come to life and I loved it. She writes with a "folksie" style meaning there were a lot of awesomes and other colloquial writing. It made the stories more down-to-earth. I think these would be awesome bedtime stories to read to older children. One could use these stories to talk about history in context, especially how women have been used and abused throughout history.

So in that sense, it was also sad. Like the title suggests, most of these princesses did not get their fairy-tale endings. But some turned their lives around and learned how to run their companies, countries, etc!

There was only one instance where I thought McRobbie's language was a bit too judgy with one princess. But for the most part, McRobbie humanized these princesses and brought us their stories. They were all complex human beings just like the rest of us.

*I received this from Quirk Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This also counts in my Non-fiction reading challenge :) My goal is to read over 16 non-fiction books this year and this is number 3!


  1. This book sounds so interesting. I happen to be in love with the cover as well :D

  2. This looks like fun. It's books like this that sometimes make me wish we had a girl too! I know I can share these stories with Gage too but at this point unless she is Train Princess he wouldn't care :)

  3. Hopping over from the Nonfiction Reading Challenge.

    This sounds like a fun book!

    Joy's Book Blog

  4. Quirk Books publishes on such great topic! This sounds like an awesome read.


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