In 1613 a beautiful Stuart princess married a handsome young German prince. This was a love match, but it was also an alliance that aimed to weld together Europe’s two great Protestant powers.
Before Elizabeth and Frederick left London for the court in Heidelberg, they watched a performance of The Winter’s Tale. In 1943, a group of British POWS gave a performance of that same play to a group of enthusiastic Nazi guards in Bavaria. When the amateur actors suggested doing a version of The Merchant of Venice that showed Shylock as the hero, the guards brought in the costumes and helped create the sets.
Nothing about the story of England and Germany, as this remarkable book demonstrates, is as simple as we might expect. A shared faith, a shared hunger for power, a shared culture (Germany never doubted that Shakespeare belonged to them, as much as to England); a shared leadership. German monarchs ruled over England for three hundred years – and only ceased to do so through a change of name.
A lot of history, a lot of interesting people.
The thing about this book is that I liked some of the chapters and some not so much. The problem I had with some chapters is that the writing style was too much at once. It seemed like the author wanted to put in a lot of information and by doing that she jumped from one interesting person to another one and to another one and to another one, and then back to the first one.
So with those chapters I would have wanted less and more. Less people, and more information about the people in the book. I am like that, I always want more and here there was not enough.
Ok to the chapters I liked then, they were more fleshed out but I would have wanted even more. As I said there are A LOT of people mentioned in this book and some interesting ones were about Queen Victoria and her children. And the Winter Queen.
For the historical non-fiction lover this is a true treasure. 300 years of history between Germany and England. A lot of people that were new to me, some I did not know a lot about and all the rest. And they sure wanted to better the relationship between the countries.
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Simon & Schuster UK
From the publisher for a review