What I’ve been reading: Jean Plaidy’s Charles II Trilogy and Stuart Saga and some Max Barry (in between Plaidy books)

Hello, world. I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been busy. I’ve taken up BOLLYWOOD dancing. I know. How cool is that? It’s wicked fun. That’s not why I haven’t written. It’s just something new for a change.

I haven’t written because I wasn’t compelled to while reading the books below because they weren’t particularly mind-blowingly compelling as some of her other books. But, I still enjoyed them:

Charles II Trilogy
The Wandering Prince Vol. 1, read August – Sept 2011
Health Unto His Majesty Vol. 2, read Sept 2011
Here Lies our Sovereign Lord Vol. 3, read Sept – Oct 2011

Stuart Saga
The Three Crowns Vol. 1, read Oct-Nov 2011
The Haunted Sisters Vol. 2 – read December 2011
The Queen’s Favorites Vol. 3 – read December 2011

So, what did I learn?

Charles I reign: 1600 – 1649

  • His dad was James I who took over after Elizabeth I. (Sidenote: James I was Mary Queen of Scots‘ son.)
  • His wife, Henrietta Maria of France, is depicted as a wildly manipulative Catholic responsible for leading Charles I into bad decisions, i.e. not playing well with parliament and flaunting his Catholicism when the people had issues with Catholicism because of its intolerance and inquisition-like practices.
  • Charles I was so out of touch with parliament and his subjects that they dethroned and killed him.  It’s an awesomely dramatic story.
I also learned some things about…


Puritains in the 1600s and Teabaggers in the 2000s

  • Puritains in England in the 1600s were assholes. Yeah, these are the same Puritans that emigrated to Uh-mer-i-ca and started the decimation of the Native American population.
  • They put Charles I on trial and executed him for being a Catholic and not playing nice with parliament! That’s pretty extreme. I mean, they didn’t have to behead the guy. Real nice people. Growing up in the US you learn about the Puritans in school but not the unpleasant details that suggest they were fundamentalist whack jobs. No shit.
  • They banned dancing, singing, theatre, laughing, whatever they deemed ostentatious dress etc. and forced people to pray using their rituals and prayers. They sound not unlike today’s tea baggers and way right republicans. So, yeah, the US was founded by assholes. See? I knew something was up with that.

Charles II reign: 1649 – 1651

  • Was a letch. Not particularly likable, but he kept the peace in England because he learned from his dad’s mistakes. E.g. don’t be a militant catholic, and play nice with parliament. Like, don’t be a douchebag.
  • I wish she would have talked more about his dogs as I freaking love King Charles Spaniels, especially the tri-color ones.
I love tricolor king charles spaniels

I love tricolor King Charles Spaniels. This photo used without permission from Britt-Marie Sohlström's flickr account. (Sorry, Britt-Marie, but no one reads my blog so I didn't think I needed to ask your permission. Love your dogs, btw.)

  • So, Charles spent most of his life on the continent until it was safe for him to return to England to be king. That part of the book isn’t very interesting. But, what is interesting is considering what his dad’s overthrow and execution and this hiding would psychologically do to him. Like later he avoided confrontation, told people what they wanted to hear and made friends with everyone as if his life depended on it.
  • Charles II has no legit kids to take over after him so he took an interest in his only brother’s (James) 2 legit kids – Mary and Anne. Charles made sure the girls were raised Church of England gals.
  • So Charles dies. Boo hoo.

Charles II’s brother, James II reign: 1685 – 1688, note: a short reign

  • James is out of touch like his dad was and was also staunch Catholic. He too had a seriously Catholic wife. Everyone was like, “Dude, don’t be all outwardly militantly Catholic cuz it’s a fucking problem, you know? And freakin’ play nice with Parliament. Look what happened to your dad.” He didn’t listen. He wasn’t a malicious dick, but more like lacking in the good sense and social skills.
    • Sidenote: I’m not entirely sure why people loathed Catholics so much. Was it because Catholics were intolerant and wanted to force their religious rituals on others? They couldn’t co-exist peacefully with other religions. Were they really that intolerant? That’s the impression I got but it’s not something that spelled out. It’s hard to believe they’d be so difficult to work with. Like, if you are in the cult business and want people to do things your way, there are more effective ways to win them over to your side than fear and terror. I feel like there’s more to all that that I don’t know about. Or maybe it is as simple as that and I just have a problem processing that the Catholic church could have been so nutty. No, wait, it was the Puritans too.
  • So, the people drove James out of the country. In the book, you don’t really care because he seems out of touch and you know he is not a diligent or caring leader/ruler.
  • But, what’s really dramatically interesting is that his two daughters were manipulated to support dethroning their dad. There was a lot of love between them then this happened. Even into the girls’ reigns – there are understanding, polite letters with their dad up until a certain point. And you’re sure that they carry that guilt with them forever.

Queen Mary and King William reign: 1689 –  1694/1702

  • So, while Charles II was alive he arranged for Mary (James‘ eldest daughter) to marry her first cousin William of Orange (which was in Holland or somewhere like that).
  • William was an unlikeable, insensitive dick especially to Mary! He lacked social skills you can say.
  • Mary freaking ended up liking him and deferring to him when the crown was hers and he was king because of her. She was disappointingly wimpy. She was an emotionally abused wife who adored her abusive husband. You just want to slap her and say wake the fuck up! Grow a spine!
  • Check this out – William’s mother was Charles‘ and James‘ sister! Can you believe that?! That means William and Mary were first cousins. Oy vey.
King William and Queen Mary. Yikes.

King William and Queen Mary. Yikes.

  • So Mary dies. William dies. Mary‘s sister Anne takes over.

Good Queen Anne reign: 1702 – 1714

  • Anne had a happy marriage with Prince George of Denmark which was unusual in arranged royal marriages. So that was kind of charming.
  • Anne had over a dozen pregnancies in her life. Most all miscarried or died shortly after birth except one, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, who lived to be about 10. He, BTW, had hydrocephalus, which I find intriguing. I wish there were more paintings of him.
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, had hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalic Prince William, Duke of Gloucester

  • The books focus on Anne‘s yenta-like relationships with her gal pals at her court. It was kind of tedious. Could have been edited down a bit.

While I was waiting for my next Plaidy book to arrive, I started reading Machine Man by Max Barry. It’s OK. It reads fast. Doesn’t have the depth that Plaidy’s books do. Not that I’m saying Plaidy books are great literature. Just when you compare the two, Barry is like reading something written by a robotic, autistic engineer who can’t read people. And, Plaidy is like reading something by an old, well read lady who gossips all day.

I just got The Princess of Celle, of which I’ve read 1 page. I continue on my Jean Plaidy journey →


About bettyx1138

One Response to What I’ve been reading: Jean Plaidy’s Charles II Trilogy and Stuart Saga and some Max Barry (in between Plaidy books)

  1. royzornow says:

    I will stand in for Prince William.

Cha cha cha

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