Monday, September 15, 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post: Inglorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll

Please join me in welcoming author Leslie Carroll to Let Them Read Books! Leslie is touring the blogosphere with her newest nonfiction release, Inglorious Royal Marriages, compiling the outrageous real-life stories of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history. Leslie's got a guest post for us on a surprising modern-historical connection, and she's brought along a copy of Inglorious Royal Marriages to give away. Read on for your chance to win!

What Do the National Football League and the Medicis Have In Common?
by Leslie Carroll

It goes a lot deeper than bling and big houses. If you were to say “trophy wives,” you’d be warm, but the Medici women were prizes themselves, at least as wealthy and glamorous in their own right as any starlet or supermodel.

The rather sordid and sinister answer is: domestic violence.

During the course of my research for INGLORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES, when I came to the chapter on the 16th century unions of the stunning heiress, Isabella Romola de Medici to Paolo Giordano Orsini, the scion of a prestigious Roman family; and that of Isabella’s incredibly warped younger brother Pietro de Medici to their beautiful and spirited cousin Eleonora di Garzia di Toledo, little did I realize how relevant their stories would become to current events.

To me, the horrific events of these two Medici marriages were shocking. I have written about countless royal unions, both connubial and extramarital. Because most royal marriages were arranged, and therefore not love matches, it’s no wonder that they failed to some extent—that there was acrimony, or adultery. But murder? And not the Henry VIII-trumped-up-charges-of-high-treason sort. But the kind of spousal assault designed to look like an accident where the husband then weeps crocodile tears. And gets away with it.

Fast-forward to the O.J. Simpson trial in 1996. Or only recently, when Ray Rice seemed to think it was ok to sock his then-fiancĂ©e-now-wife (who therefore can’t testify against him) in an elevator. Rice was steamed that a gossip blog released the hotel’s security camera footage. Because otherwise he would have gotten away with attacking his woman. The NFL was prepared to put their heads in the sand over the entire incident until the commissioner was compelled to go to the videotape.

We don’t have actual royalty in America. Those who are doomed to remember history will recall that we fought a war to NOT have a king. But we still love the idea of royalty, so we anoint football players (or other pro-ballers). Or pop/rock/hip-hop, etc., stars. Or Hollywood icons. Queen Bey. Prince. The money they earn from their talent on the gridiron or catwalk or soundstage buys untold riches, glitter, and power. And more often than not, a get-out-of-jail-free card as well, just like the Medici men of the Italian Renaissance, who whored and dueled and murdered with impunity, although their wives were hardly permitted to live by those same social codes.

Isabella Romola de Medici was a Daddy’s girl, protected during his lifetime by her father, the powerful Cosimo, Duke of Florence. But after Cosimo died in April 1574, Isabella’s oldest brother Francesco became Duke; and he had no use for his flamboyant sibling. Not only did he refuse to aid her when she complained of her husband’s mistreatment, he abetted Paolo in covering up the circumstances of her death. Francesco would do the same when his brother Pietro strangled their cousin Eleonora with a dog leash. The girl was a flirt, they concurred. She deserved it. Instead of Pietro being punished, Eleonora’s name and reputation were smeared and the family honor was considered tarnished by her behavior.

The Ravens’ Ray Rice is not the only NFL player in recent memory to physically abuse his partner. In 2012, K.C. Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend, then committed suicide in the stadium parking lot, in front of his coach. If only he’d started with himself, instead. In June of 2013, Pacman Jones of the Cincinnati Bengals was arrested on assault charges for punching a woman outside a nightclub. In the summer of 2012, Chad Johnson of the Miami Dolphins was charged with head-butting his newlywed wife outside their home. He was released on bond a day or so after his arrest, but the team cut him within 24 hours of his release. That same summer, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was arrested on a domestic violence charge involving his mother. Evidently, during a family visit, Bryant’s mother had become upset at him and asked him to leave, whereupon he allegedly assaulted her.

The power and privilege conferred upon these princes, whether by birth, marriage, or their ability to get the ball into the end zone has all too often given them a pass when it comes to the issue of domestic violence. Months ago, when I wrote my chapter on the two Medici marriages, I thought I’d encountered a “one-off.” But recent headlines tell another story. Whether the perpetrators wear the red, white, and green of the Medici, or the colors of an NFL franchise, their behavior is not much different. Title or not, these men feel entitled. And is it because we, as a society, have conferred the mantle of royalty upon them, that they somehow believe themselves above the law—and their women beneath contempt?

As “Linda Richman” used to say on SNL’s “Coffee Talk”—discuss!

Thanks, Leslie!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected.
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Enter to win a paperback copy of Inglorious Royal Marriages by simply leaving a comment on this post with your email address!

This giveaway is open to US residents and ends at 11:59pm Sunday, September 28, 2014. Winner will be selected at random. 
Thanks, and good luck!

Inglorious Royal Marriages is on a blog tour!

About the Book:

Why does it seem that the marriages of so many monarchs are often made in hell? And yet we can’t stop reading about them! To satisfy your schadenfreude, INGLORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES offers a panoply of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history….some of which are mentioned below.

When her monkish husband, England’s Lancastrian Henry VI, became completely catatonic, the unpopular French-born Margaret of Anjou led his army against the troops of their enemy, the Duke of York.

Margaret Tudor, her niece Mary I, and Catherine of Braganza were desperately in love with chronically unfaithful husbands—but at least they weren’t murdered by them, as were two of the Medici princesses.

King Charles II’s beautiful, high-spirited sister “Minette” wed Louis XIV’s younger brother, who wore more makeup and perfume than she did.

Compelled by her mother to wed her boring, jug-eared cousin Ferdinand, Marie of Roumania—a granddaughter of Queen Victoria—emerged as a heroine of World War I by using her prodigious personal charm to regain massive amounts of land during the peace talks at Versailles. Marie’s younger sister Victoria Melita wed two of her first-cousins: both marriages ultimately scandalized the courts of Europe.

Brimming with outrageous real-life stories of royal marriages gone wrong, this is an entertaining, unforgettable book of dubious matches doomed from the start.

About the Author:

Leslie Carroll is the author of several works of historical nonfiction, women’s fiction, and, under the pen names Juliet Grey and Amanda Elyot, is a multipublished author of historical fiction. Her nonfiction titles include Royal Romances, Royal Pains, Royal Affairs, and Notorious Royal Marriages. She is also a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit, and is an award-winning audio book narrator.

A frequent commentator on royal romances and relationships, Leslie has been interviewed by numerous publications, including, USA Today, the Australian Broadcasting Company, and NPR, and she was a featured royalty historian on CBS nightly news in London during the royal wedding coverage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. She also appears as an expert on the love lives of Queen Victoria, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon on the television series “The Secret Life of [fill in the name of famous figure]” for Canada’s History Channel. Leslie and her husband, Scott, divide their time between New York City and Washington, D.C.

For more information please visit Leslie’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


  1. Sounds really interesting! Would love to read! Thanks for the giveaway!


  2. I'm not surprised that royal marriages would sometimes have been difficult, particularly in the days when they were used for political purposes. I bet the stories are fascinating, thanks for the chance to win a copy. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  3. A fascinating and great feature and giveaway. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. A book that is enthralling and mysterious for the subject and the characters. Thanks for this great giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. I've enjoyed Leslie's other books and this one sounds like an interesting read too. Looking forward to reading this.

    tmrtini at gmail dot com

  6. I am so looking forward to reading this! Loved Leslie's domestic violence post, so true about not only royalty feeling entitlement.

    DeniseK1 at Outlook dot come

  7. Looks like a great read! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  8. All about power and what they can get away with..

  9. I would love to win!

  10. I have added this book to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. I have enjoyed other books in this series. Very good post today. I have never understood why abuse is so difficult to deal with. We live in the South now and in this little corner of the world abuse of a female is more common than it should be. More disturbing, it is expected and accepted by these young ladies. They don't get much support from their families to end these bad relationships. The cases I knew of at home in the North east were of emotional abuse, but that is no less harmful. Our daughter was in such a relationship and eventually marriage here. We couldn't make her see what he was doing. I am so glad she eventually had the good sense to leave him.
    If society doesn't take this seriously and support those who are being abused, things will never change. We have to stop thinking they did something to provoke the attack or deserve it. The NFL is looking at the loss of a good player during a game, not justice. A side rant here, I want to know WHY the NFL is a NON-Profit. They pay their players obscene salaries, make the taxpayers build the stadiums, get millions from sponsors and TV rights, and the owners can sell the teams for billions. It is no wonder they feel they are above the law and entitled to whatever they want.
    I am looking forward to reading this new book. I am sure I will enjoy it as much as the others. I hope the release is a big success.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  12. I would love to win this!

  13. Great Article... the book must be even better!

  14. I have all of Leslie's other books in the series and they are such fun to read...thank you for the giveaway!

  15. This book sounds very interesting ! I would love to win it ; )

  16. This looks like an interesting book. rsgrandinetti(at) yahoo (dot)com

  17. This one sounds absolutely fascinating. I am an avid consumer of anything and everything historical royalty. This is right up my alley.

  18. It sounds like an amazing book, and would be quite a read. I would really enjoy this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.



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