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Showing posts from November, 2008

Cora Pearl - English Beauty of the Second Empire

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Cora Pearl in a dress by Charles Worth In the glamorous, and brittle world of the Second Empire, no one glittered more among the demi-monde than the English courtesan named Cora Pearl.   Cora was born Emma Elizabeth Crouch in Plymouth England probably in 1835, although in her memoirs which were published after her death, she claimed that she was born in 1842. The birth certificate that was reproduced in her memoirs, to prove that she wasn't lying, was clearly that of her younger sister Louisa! Her father,Frederick Nicholls Crouch, was an English composer and cellist, who gained a small measure of success as the author of a sentimental song, entitled "Kathleen Mavourneen". When Emma was young, her father deserted the family and moved to America, where he promptly remarried several times. At his death in 1896, it was estimated he had more than twenty children. Emma's mother told the children that their father had died, and promptly found a lover to help support the

Scandalous Movie Review: Mary, Queen of Scots

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(1971) Starring Vanessa Redgrave (Mary, Queen of Scots), Glenda Jackson (Elizabeth I), Nigel Davenport (Bothwell), Timothy Dalton (Henry, Lord Darnley), Ian Holm (David Riccio), Patrick McGoohan (James Stewart, Earl of Moray) and Daniel Massey (Robert Dudley), directed by Hal Wallis, Universal Pictures The film opens with the death of Mary’s first husband Francois II after he goes out riding. Mary is distraught and Catherine de Medici blames her for her son’s death. Instead, Mary decides to go back to Scotland to take up the throne. She is refused safe passage through English waters but determines to go anyway. Upon arriving in Scotland, she is met by her half-brother James Stewart, the Earl of Moray who has determined that Mary will be Queen in name only. Mary is perturbed to discover that there is no grand welcoming for her arrival but she takes in stride, and even manages to joust verbally with John Knox who shows up at the dock to harangue her for being a Catholic. In the meanti

Scandalous Book Review: In the Shadow of the Lion

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I recently received a copy of Ginger Garrett's new book In the Shadow of the Lion . I was a little trepidatious at first, I don't normally read Christian or inspirational fiction. Although I've grew up reading authors such as C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Douglas (yes, I actually read The Robe ), Thomas B. Costain and Taylor Caldwell ( Dear and Glorious Physician about St. Luke) and I adored The Red Tent , I've always tried to avoid overtly Christian books. I don't want to be preached to while I read. But I was intrigued when I read the back cover. “I am the first writer, The Scribe. My books lie open before the Throne, and someday will be the only witness of your people and their time in this world. The stories are forgotten here, and the Day draws close. I will tell you one of my stories. You will record it.” So begins the narration of an angel in this sweeping historical tale set during the reign of England’s Henry VIII. It is the story of two women, their guardian ang

Grace Kelly - America's Princess

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She was the beautiful movie star loved by millions who gave up her career to become a Princess in the Wedding of the Century (until Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding to Prince Charles twenty-five years later) only to die a tragic death too young. Today marks what would have been the 79th birthday of HSH Princess Grace of Monaco. She was born Grace Patricia Kelly on November 12th, 1929 in Philadelphia, PA. She was named after her father’s sister, an aspiring actress who had died young at the age of 23. Her father, Jack Kelly was a self-made millionaire, the son of Irish immigrants. His older brother Patrick had started his own brickworks business, where Jack learned the ropes. Charming and charismatic, his dream was to win the Diamond Skulls at Henley. Unfortunately due to a problem with his sponsor, Jack was unable to compete. He spun the story for years that he was denied entrance because he worked with his hands. In revenge, Jack won the gold medal at the 1920 Olympics. Returning to the

Scandalous Interview: Kris Waldherr, Author of Doomed Queens

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I've been trying to be fiscally responsible by not buying new books, but I ended up in Barnes & Noble on my birthday where I found the perfect book for me. Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr (Broadway Books). It spoke to be from the New Book's shelf and I had to have it. The subtitle is Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends from Cleopatra to Princess Di. Not only is this book exceedlingly fun and well written but it's illustrated by Kris as well. The minute I saw Marie Antoinette on the cover, I knew I had to have it. Here's the book's description on Amazon: "Illicit love, madness, betrayal--it isn’t always good to be the queen. Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn, and Mary, Queen of Scots. What did they have in common? For a while they were crowned in gold, cosseted in silk, and flattered by courtiers. But in the end, they spent long nights in dark prison towers and were marched to the scaffold where they surrendered their heads to the executioner. And they are

Uber-Amazing Award

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I'm not ashamed to say that I love winning awards! I'd like to thank the fabulous Lidian at the Virtual Dime Museum for giving me this award for Uber Amazing Blog. And I'm passing the good karma on to these amazing blogs: Megan Frampton Catherine Delor's blog Tea at Trianon The Raucous Royals New York History Check them out.

The Woman Who Ran For President – The Scandalous Life of Victoria Woodhull

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"If my political campaign for the Presidency is not successful, it will be educational!" Victoria Woodhull The election was one of the nastiest political campaigns in years. The incumbent President was hated and reviled by members of his own party. The opposing candidate was running as a maverick, and third political candidate was a woman. The year was 1872 and the candidates for the highest political office in the land were Ulysses S. Grant, war hero who was seeking his second term, Horace Greeley the most famous editor in the United States, and Victoria Woodhull. Yes, over fifty years before women finally gained the vote in the United States, a woman stepped forward to fight for the highest office in the land. Now 170 years after her birth, Victoria Woodhull is all but forgotten, but for a period of ten years in US history, she was one of the most famous women in the country. To show just how improbable and daring this was, let’s remember that women were considered littl