Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: FAMOUS ROMANCE
Author Guest / June 16, 2021

Although marriages take place all during the year, June was traditionally the month of brides and weddings. For this June, as we emerge from isolation to actually be able to attend events like weddings again, we’ll look at novels that relate the stories of some famous romances and marriages based on real events. Starting with the royal, we have BEFORE THE CROWN by Flora Harding.  In the years before World War II, young Princess Elizabeth’s visit with her family to the Royal Naval College leads to her meeting the naval cadet detailed to escort and entertain them—Prince Phillip, son of the deposed Greek king and nephew of her uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who becomes the major supporter of the romance.  Smitten with the handsome blond prince, Elizabeth’s attachment never waivers.  Nine years later, with the Prince a decorated combat veteran intent on a brilliant naval career, Elizabeth will fight tenaciously against her family’s reluctance and the court’s disapproval to insist on marrying none but this penniless foreign prince.  A tale of “royal secrets and forbidden love.” A commoner who became royal stars in our next selection, THE GIRL IN THE WHITE GLOVES by Kerri Maher.  Defying her proper family to…

Gill Paul | Sexing up the Romanovs
Author Guest / August 28, 2019

The new Netflix series The Last Czars is a visually stunning and generally accurate account of Nicholas II’s ascent to the Russian throne and the mistakes he and his wife Alexandra made that more or less assured their tragic fate. However, right from the first episode, there are sex scenes galore, as if some studio exec decided it needed ‘sexing up.’ One such scene in the final episode had me yelling out loud at my screen. It showed Maria, third daughter of Nicholas and Alexandra, making out with one of the guards in the Ekaterinburg house where they were held from April to July 1918. She is unbuttoning her blouse while he is ripping off his jacket, presumably about to have consensual sex, when the door is thrown open by Avdeyev, commandant of the guards. This is implausible on many levels. First of all, Maria was a deeply religious girl, who followed the daily practices of the Russian Orthodox church and was unquestionably chaste. She was also a tsar’s daughter, who in other circumstances might have been matched with foreign royalty or a Russian aristocrat, while the guard in question was a lower-class factory worker. Maria was an obedient girl,…