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The Last Romantic: A Biography of Queen Marie of Roumania

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Queen Marie of Roumania was one of the most fascinating crowned heads of Europe and one of the most extraordinary and independent women of our century. The granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Tzar Alexander II of Russia, at seventeen Marie left the glittering courts of Western Europe to marry the Crown Prince of Roumania. Drawing upon the young queen s diaries and letters, Queen Marie of Roumania was one of the most fascinating crowned heads of Europe and one of the most extraordinary and independent women of our century. The granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Tzar Alexander II of Russia, at seventeen Marie left the glittering courts of Western Europe to marry the Crown Prince of Roumania. Drawing upon the young queen s diaries and letters, the author describes her struggle to gain an independent footing in the male- dominated court of Roumania, her early years as one of the most admired beauties of Europe, and the decisive period during World War I when she all but ran the Roumanian Government. With the sweep and panache of a great epic, this compelling story is historical biography at its best. This enthralling book is like a huge spicy plum pudding stuffed with juicy fruits Maureen Cleave, Evening Standard


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Queen Marie of Roumania was one of the most fascinating crowned heads of Europe and one of the most extraordinary and independent women of our century. The granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Tzar Alexander II of Russia, at seventeen Marie left the glittering courts of Western Europe to marry the Crown Prince of Roumania. Drawing upon the young queen s diaries and letters, Queen Marie of Roumania was one of the most fascinating crowned heads of Europe and one of the most extraordinary and independent women of our century. The granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Tzar Alexander II of Russia, at seventeen Marie left the glittering courts of Western Europe to marry the Crown Prince of Roumania. Drawing upon the young queen s diaries and letters, the author describes her struggle to gain an independent footing in the male- dominated court of Roumania, her early years as one of the most admired beauties of Europe, and the decisive period during World War I when she all but ran the Roumanian Government. With the sweep and panache of a great epic, this compelling story is historical biography at its best. This enthralling book is like a huge spicy plum pudding stuffed with juicy fruits Maureen Cleave, Evening Standard

30 review for The Last Romantic: A Biography of Queen Marie of Roumania

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ana Stanciu-Dumitrache

    O biografie foarte bine realizată a Reginei Maria, pe care eu o consider o binecuvântare pentru Romania din toate punctele de vedere. Aceasta nu e ficțiune, nu e o poveste plină de suspans care să te prindă, nu e un roman de relaxare. Nu e deloc ușor de citit. Sunt extrem de multe informații istorice, multe detalii și descrieri, stilul autoarei e obiectiv, iar toate persoanele menționate sunt atestate istoric. Este o operă ce include cam toate familiile regale ale Europei, de o mare amploare. Cu O biografie foarte bine realizată a Reginei Maria, pe care eu o consider o binecuvântare pentru Romania din toate punctele de vedere. Aceasta nu e ficțiune, nu e o poveste plină de suspans care să te prindă, nu e un roman de relaxare. Nu e deloc ușor de citit. Sunt extrem de multe informații istorice, multe detalii și descrieri, stilul autoarei e obiectiv, iar toate persoanele menționate sunt atestate istoric. Este o operă ce include cam toate familiile regale ale Europei, de o mare amploare. Cu siguranță merită citită cel puțin o dată. E o lecție de istorie pe care orice român trebuie să o știe pentru a putea înțelege trecutul și felul în care plătim în prezent pentru el. Recunosc că mi-au plăcut mai mult jurnalele Mariei, pentru că regina a fost o scriitoare talentată și sensibilă. Însă opera de față prezintă evenimentele așa cum s-au întâmplat, fără nuanțări și interpretări. Jurnalele sunt subiective și întâmplările relatate influențate de sentimentele Mariei din acele momente. Maria a fost o regină despre care e o plăcere să citești, pentru că ai multe lecții de învățat de la ea. O femeie simplă, care vrea să fie iubită și înțeleasă, care se trezește într-o țară nouă, fără familie și care trebuie să își găsească menirea, lucru pe care îl face. A fost o regină devotată și și-a pus rolul mai presus decât condiția ei de femeie îndrăgostită sau de mamă. Cred că autoarea a făcut o treabă foarte bună cu această biografie și merită apreciată pentru munca depusă: căutarea surselor istorice, investigația, prezentarea obiectivă a evenimentelor, căutarea perspectivelor diferite asupra evenimentelor și adunarea lor într-o carte de colecție. 😊

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Meridith

    Eccentric, dramatic, almost to the point of being theatrical was by mere definition- Regina Maria. A granddaughter of Queen Victoria and granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II, Marie was destined for Queenship. While Marie held romantic affections for the future George V, due to her mothers disdain for all things English, marriage was out of the question and a groom from a different country was found, Ferdinand of Roumania. Marie was selflessly shipped off to a foreign land while still being a child h Eccentric, dramatic, almost to the point of being theatrical was by mere definition- Regina Maria. A granddaughter of Queen Victoria and granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II, Marie was destined for Queenship. While Marie held romantic affections for the future George V, due to her mothers disdain for all things English, marriage was out of the question and a groom from a different country was found, Ferdinand of Roumania. Marie was selflessly shipped off to a foreign land while still being a child herself. Marie was to try and win not only the Royal Family but also Roumania. An eccentric, free spirited young girl sent to a mediocre crown Family. Hannah Pekula did a great job bringing about the story of a lesser known royal (despite her grandmother being none other than Queen Victoria) to an even lesser known kingdom. Pekula’s research was evident however, told like a story. I was sopping up every page looking for more information! While researched very well, I would’ve liked to know more about the relationship and closeness she shared with her spineless husband. I also wondered how Carmen Sylva’s behaviors continued upon her return from exile... she was clearly annoying in the very least to her husband so how did she get away with so much? I really liked how Marie’s relationships with her parents, siblings, children, other courts, and prominent individuals were included. I also really appreciated how Pekula really showed that Marie stuck to her guns, cared about her people, and was willing to do whatever she could for anyone. This book read like a well researched novel but was story telling. I recommend this to anyone interested in WW1, politics, royalty, and anyone with interest in learning about lesser know countries. Marie was fantastic and it is a shame she was so easily forgotten.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cindie Harp

    First 80% of book very good -- kind of real life Zelig. Marie, QUeen of Romania, was present for most of first 38 years of 20th century events. Hard to stomach her anti-Semitism, and the book drags at the end. Still, interesting look at a celebrity of her time that has disappeared from the current memory. Not mine -- now

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jean Marie

    I'm always looking for new women from history to study and learn about, always looking for that magical one that will be the focus of my future work in history. Queen Marie was originally introduce to me in Sex with the Queen by Eleanor Herman. The story of her not being allowed to be knocked out when giving birth because of the restrictions she was under due to her uncle and current king fascinated me. And it helped that she was one of the granddaughters of Queen Victoria. This was a very easy I'm always looking for new women from history to study and learn about, always looking for that magical one that will be the focus of my future work in history. Queen Marie was originally introduce to me in Sex with the Queen by Eleanor Herman. The story of her not being allowed to be knocked out when giving birth because of the restrictions she was under due to her uncle and current king fascinated me. And it helped that she was one of the granddaughters of Queen Victoria. This was a very easy biography to read, but that might be mainly because it's the most modern (in terms of the subject) I've read. I really enjoyed the author's unrelenting honesty about Marie. She was flighty and vain but she wasn't arrogant in the snobby sort of way, she was simply very naive. Marie is very endearing as a character and she becomes real through her struggles with her husband and children. She becomes alive with her love for her adoptive Roumania. I've always been fascinated by those crafy Eastern European countries and their people and this was a great look in on them through the eyes of their most beloved queen. A beautifully haunting biography of a beautifully sad woman.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ileana

    Good history lesson for us Romanians. Knowing the places is a plus in enjoying the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Hannah Pakula wrote a very good biography of the Empress Frederick, so I thought I would give this a read. Marie of Roumania survives today as the punch line in a Dorothy Parker limerick or as a footnote for those of us into the dynasties of the late 19th and early 20th century. She was the descendant of a Romanov (her mother was the only daughter of Alexander II), a Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (her father was Alfred, son of Albert and Victoria) and she married a Hohenzollern. At 17. Her mother despised t Hannah Pakula wrote a very good biography of the Empress Frederick, so I thought I would give this a read. Marie of Roumania survives today as the punch line in a Dorothy Parker limerick or as a footnote for those of us into the dynasties of the late 19th and early 20th century. She was the descendant of a Romanov (her mother was the only daughter of Alexander II), a Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (her father was Alfred, son of Albert and Victoria) and she married a Hohenzollern. At 17. Her mother despised the English and wanted "Missy" out of the country; the senior branch of the German Imperial Family was sitting on the throne of the new Kingdom of Roumania, so off the pretty, badly-educated teenager went to marry the jug-eared, dull Ferdinand, Crown Prince. Missy duly popped out six children, one of whom died as a toddler. Three of the others grew up to be world-class pests, while the other two wound up . . . not. Shortly after the birth of her last child, World War I broke out. So far this could have been the life of Marie Antoinette Lite, but despite the similarities, Missy was temperamentally not cut out for the guillotine. While she was a total loss as a nurse (unlike Alexandra and her older daughters), she also (unlike Alexandra and Marie Antoinette) never tried to meddle in military matters. The goal of the war for Marie was to keep Roumania out of it, or at least for her country not to side with the Central Powers. She achieved her goal when Roumania went in on the side of the Entente. Unfortunately for Marie, Russia shortly succumbed to the Bolsheviks (curtains for many of her Romanov cousins) and Roumania was then immediately surrounded by Austria-Hungary, Germany and a Soviet state that declared war upon the hapless country. She was forced into a humiliating peace with Germany, mass starvation descended upon the land, and there was agitation for the overthrow of the dynasty. Despite all of this, Marie seems to have enjoyed the war. She spent every day zooming out and about, laden with whatever she could find. The Queen swept into field hospitals, peasant villages, wherever she could drive the Rolls, and distributed hope as much as anything. And her people loved her for it, as Marie would always girlishly admit. As Pakula presents her, Marie is the weirdest combination of narcissism and self-knowledge imaginable. At the end of the war, Roumania is being trounced at the Versailles Conference when its government comes up with the brilliant idea of sending Queen Marie off to charm everyone into giving her Transylvania. She blows over to Paris and by glory, Roumania gets Transylvania and a fair chunk of Bulgaria. Every morning while they were doing her hair, Marie listened patiently as her handlers fed information into the royal brain. Full to the brim with historical statistics, Marie donned one of the dozens of Parisian frocks she picked up along the way and set off for a different official's conference room. Only Woodrow Wilson was unmoved, although Mrs. Wilson seems to have become a fan. It was the high point of her life. Ferdinand died in 1927, and her truly awful oldest son Carol seized the throne. Carol had left town earlier in a sort of proto-Harry and Meghan move, although unlike Harry he was simply wanting alone time with his mistress. Carol had renounced the throne in favor of his son by his legitimate wife, but pretty much as soon as Dad cooled he wanted back in. Once he achieved the throne, he made life hell for his entire family. Marie died in 1938, at least in part because Carol insisted upon only Roumanian doctors as diagnosticians. The book never really takes off as a biography, because unlike the Empress Frederick, Missy was never an important political player. Pakula tries to inflate her subject's relevance, but . . . on the other, Pakula is a good writer who never fails to hold the reader's interest.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    Really interesting books, I finally learnt more about this out of the ordinary queen! I look forward to look more book relating to Regina Maria, and Romania as well, as I am fascinated by both. I liked the style of the book, it managed to have a lot of informations, but it did not come across as boring, I look forward to read more of her books

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bogdan Raț

    Cu toate că mi-a plăcut faptul că a prezentat evenimentele istorice din perioada în cauză, pentru a întelege mai bine contextul în care se afla personajul biografiei (și trecând peste una sau două greșeli minore la inceputul cărții cu privire la dăți și existența unori „înțelegeri”) - așadar o mică lecție de istorie - uneori am avut sentimentul că Maria nu mai este în prim plan și se prezintă un interes puțin cam mare pentru alte personaje. Dar per total o biografie bună, probabil cea mai bună a Cu toate că mi-a plăcut faptul că a prezentat evenimentele istorice din perioada în cauză, pentru a întelege mai bine contextul în care se afla personajul biografiei (și trecând peste una sau două greșeli minore la inceputul cărții cu privire la dăți și existența unori „înțelegeri”) - așadar o mică lecție de istorie - uneori am avut sentimentul că Maria nu mai este în prim plan și se prezintă un interes puțin cam mare pentru alte personaje. Dar per total o biografie bună, probabil cea mai bună a ei, bine documentată. „Când vei citi aceste rânduri, poporul meu, eu voi fi trecut pragul tăcerii eterne... Și totuși, dată fiind marea iubire pe care ți-am jurat-o, vreau să-ți vorbesc din nou... Am devenit a ta la bucurie și la durere. Privind înapoi, îmi este greu să spun care a fost mai mare, bucuria sau durerea. Cred că bucuria a fost mai mare, dar prea îndelungată a fost durerea.”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zully Mustafa

    Una din cele mai bune biografii ale Reginei Maria, dacă nu chiar cea mai bună biografie din toate timpurile a unei personalități istorice. Este și o radiografie a societății românești de la 1895 pînă la apariția comunismului, marea spaimă a Reginei Maria. Din fericire, dacă putem spune așa, regina a murit cu 8 ani înainte de instaurarea plăgii roșii. Hannah Pakula este o autoare specializată în biografii, a cărei obiectivitate și muncă imensă de investigație pune la loc de cinste imaginea unei r Una din cele mai bune biografii ale Reginei Maria, dacă nu chiar cea mai bună biografie din toate timpurile a unei personalități istorice. Este și o radiografie a societății românești de la 1895 pînă la apariția comunismului, marea spaimă a Reginei Maria. Din fericire, dacă putem spune așa, regina a murit cu 8 ani înainte de instaurarea plăgii roșii. Hannah Pakula este o autoare specializată în biografii, a cărei obiectivitate și muncă imensă de investigație pune la loc de cinste imaginea unei regine ai cărei ultimi ani din viață au fost o dezamăgire continuă, trăită cu demnitate și tristețe, după o viață plină de provocări și după ce comuniștii au șters-o din paginile de istorie. Ar trebui citită de orice român care vrea să-și cunoască istoria în cele mai fine detalii.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joan Stewart

    I kept asking myself, "Why don't I LIKE Queen Marie?" as I read this well-researched, informative book. My guess is writer Hannah Pakula (also a human rights activist, husband of late filmmaker Alan Pakula) started out fascinated with her biographical subject but changed her mind a bit midstream. In contrast, I sensed Pakula really admired Vicky, Queen Victoria’s eldest child who became Empress of Germany, in her previous book, "An Uncommon Woman." Queen Marie of Romania had enormous enthusiasm, I kept asking myself, "Why don't I LIKE Queen Marie?" as I read this well-researched, informative book. My guess is writer Hannah Pakula (also a human rights activist, husband of late filmmaker Alan Pakula) started out fascinated with her biographical subject but changed her mind a bit midstream. In contrast, I sensed Pakula really admired Vicky, Queen Victoria’s eldest child who became Empress of Germany, in her previous book, "An Uncommon Woman." Queen Marie of Romania had enormous enthusiasm, courage, charisma, beauty and fame, but she was also vain, anti-semitic, totally convinced of the divine right of monarchs, and self-righteous. She had no problems with her soldiers shamefully looting Budapest at the end of the Hungarian–Romanian war of 1919. Although Romania itself suffered horribly from the punitive WW I reparations of the Central Powers, Romania, in turn, seemed to take the same approach toward an enemy. Despite the title, "The Last Romantic," this is not chick lit. You'll learn a lot. The book focuses on the politics of the day and characters on the world stage. Stay with it, as the plot turns toward the end when someone unexpectedly turns into a monster, and we can't help but feel for her. Those unfamiliar with the crowned heads of Europe would benefit from a genealogy chart, showing her lineage from grandparents Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander II. An ad spokesperson for Ponds (through ad agency JPL) in the 20s/30s, Queen Marie is lovely to look at. Her luminous beauty also seduced me. Although there were plenty of photographs, I kept wishing for more!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Susser

    This is one of the most engaging and well-written biographies that I have ever read. This book investigates the life of Queen Marie, royal society of the time, and the socio-political events that took place leading up and following World War I. It allows the reader to glimpse woes, triumphs, and ambitions of small nation-states during the early-mid 1900s, a topic that is not often addressed in US history textbooks. Queen Marie herself is an interesting, intelligent, and colorful character and Ha This is one of the most engaging and well-written biographies that I have ever read. This book investigates the life of Queen Marie, royal society of the time, and the socio-political events that took place leading up and following World War I. It allows the reader to glimpse woes, triumphs, and ambitions of small nation-states during the early-mid 1900s, a topic that is not often addressed in US history textbooks. Queen Marie herself is an interesting, intelligent, and colorful character and Hannah Pakula does an excellent job exploring different aspects of Marie's personality. Though some of the text is a bit dated (think cold-war era 1980s), the story itself is timeless and charming. I highly recommend this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    Eh. DISAPPOINTMENT. By the end of the book I didn't care about Queen Marie and just wanted it over. The fault in this book was the reliance on Marie's own autobiography, letters and memoirs to frame the narrative. She was a woman of monumental ego and self-conscious self-awareness that amounted to solipsistic egocentrism. The historically important personages around her were props to her self-aggrandizement. The truly seismic historical events and the autocratic feudalism that was Rumanian cultu Eh. DISAPPOINTMENT. By the end of the book I didn't care about Queen Marie and just wanted it over. The fault in this book was the reliance on Marie's own autobiography, letters and memoirs to frame the narrative. She was a woman of monumental ego and self-conscious self-awareness that amounted to solipsistic egocentrism. The historically important personages around her were props to her self-aggrandizement. The truly seismic historical events and the autocratic feudalism that was Rumanian cultural and political history was merely a watercolor backdrop to everything Marie. To me this was an enormous disappointment after reading An Uncommon Woman. Hard to believe it was the same author.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna Graham Hunter

    I learned a lot about Queen Victoria's sprawling, dysfunctional brood of grandchildren, the birth of Romania - and why they imported a foreign ruler, a career royal (King Carol I) in 1866 - and WWI. Very engagingly written, and Queen Marie makes an entertaining subject: clueless and self-dramatizing in some respects, yet insightful in others, not to mention prolific (her letters and books are quoted extensively). I loved her description of Woodrow Wilson mansplaining during the Paris talks.

  14. 4 out of 5

    teodosia borte

    Să-i mulțumim autoarei că și-a îndreptat atenția spre colțul ăsta îndepărtat al Europei și a realziat o biografie exemplară asupra uneia dintre cele mai mari femei pe care țara noastră a avut norocul s-o găzduiască (dacă a fost sau nu o gazdă bună, rămâne de văzut). Totuși, ce dezamăgire că românii n-au reușit să adune atâtea amănunte despre Regină și s-o onoreze cu o biografie pe măsura ei. Eram sceptică la început, de ce să n-o recunosc? Citisem Jurnalele de război ale Reginei și eram convinsă Să-i mulțumim autoarei că și-a îndreptat atenția spre colțul ăsta îndepărtat al Europei și a realziat o biografie exemplară asupra uneia dintre cele mai mari femei pe care țara noastră a avut norocul s-o găzduiască (dacă a fost sau nu o gazdă bună, rămâne de văzut). Totuși, ce dezamăgire că românii n-au reușit să adune atâtea amănunte despre Regină și s-o onoreze cu o biografie pe măsura ei. Eram sceptică la început, de ce să n-o recunosc? Citisem Jurnalele de război ale Reginei și eram convinsă că o biografie mai amănunțită decât jurnalul Reginei, în care esenția vieții vibra cel mai puternic, nu putea face nimeni. Prejudecată stupidă. Într-adevăr, prima parte a cărții, puțin și din a doua, se află sub auspiciile jurnalelor ei de război, fiind citate adeseori citate pentru a oferi veridicitate celor spuse de autoare. O carte în care este ilustrată atmosfera dominată de marii regi și regine a Europei, toate jocurile de culise din spatele căsătoriilor, desprinse toate dintr-o epocă care pare atât de îndepărtată, încât cu greu îmi vine să cred că s-a întâmplat doar cu mai mult de 100 de ani în urmă. Cartea este o biografie romanțată, dar nu pot să nu-i admir autoarei descrierile despre evenimentele politice care au culminat începutul de secol și documentarea sistematică pe care a întreprind-o pentru realizarea acestui volum. Toate aspectele vieții Reginei sunt analziate în cartea aceasta - de la naștere, copilărie, căsătorie, la încoronare și ultimii ani tulburători ai vieții mei, culminați de schimbările politice internaționale. Sunt descrise cu lux de amănunte toate călătoriile întreprinse de Regină în străinătate - de la modificările pe care le-au făcut hotelurile la care urma să fie cazată Regina, până la impresia pe care a strânit-o în presa occidentală și de peste ocean devotamentul și frumusețea ei. În volum se reunesc aspectele pozitive ale Mariei cu cele negative, însă chiar și infidelitățile și relativa nepăsare față de educația primilor copii sunt justicate de către autoare. Iar finalul cărții, cu descrierea atât de amănunțită a drumului până la Curtea de Argeș, a strânit în mine emoții puternice, pe care nici nu bănuiam că le pot nutri pentru o femeie atât de îndepărtată de mine din toate punctele de vedere. Cât de mult regret când mă gândesc prin câte dificultăți a trecut femeia aceasta, ca mai apoi meritele să-i fie recunoscute de-o mână de oameni. E cumplit să mă gândesc că implicarea ei în cadrul restructurării societății românești e atât de cntroversată și că se pun în evidență doar infidelitățile sale, când a avut parte de o asemenea doză de devotament, amestecat cu o sinceritate copilărească. În orice împrejurare, am să-i pun în evidență calitățile aceste femei cu o inimă atât de bună precum a ei („inimă bună” e un fel considerat simplist de a mă exprima. dar să nu uităm adevărata valoare a acestei expresii). Iar finalul cărții, când se evocă devotamentul țăranilor pentru ea, m-a făcut să devin melancolică pentru o epocă pe care știu că n-am s-o mai regăsesc niciodată în istorie. Felul în care poporul de rând și-a luat rămas-bun de la o Regină care a făcut trecerea de la o societate orientală la una occidentală demonstrează calitatea supremă a țăranului român, atât de îndrăgit de Regină de altfel și totuși atât de rar întâlnit în epoca contemporană. În urma cortegiului funerar a rămas o Românie pe care le dispariție, dacă nu cumva deja dispărută, pe care mă bucur că Regina Maria n-a mai văzut-o.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I think I first placed this book on my to-read list after finishing a book on Victoria's daughters. I wanted to see what happened to the next generation. Based on Goodreads dates, it was placed on the list before reading Born To Rule, which is a book about Victorian's reigning queen granddaughters. I'm wondering when I placed on the list because this book doesn't add anything that Born To Rule goes over. Marie is an engaging queen up to a point. Married off to a German prince at the immature age I think I first placed this book on my to-read list after finishing a book on Victoria's daughters. I wanted to see what happened to the next generation. Based on Goodreads dates, it was placed on the list before reading Born To Rule, which is a book about Victorian's reigning queen granddaughters. I'm wondering when I placed on the list because this book doesn't add anything that Born To Rule goes over. Marie is an engaging queen up to a point. Married off to a German prince at the immature age of 15, you do see her evolve to a formible woman. It's interesting to see how her nationality changes in her writings. She's born English with a Russian mother, educated in Germany, and then marries a German prince to rule Romania. When all these identities collide in World War I, you're not sure which way she'll turn. Her relationships with her children and relatives are fascinating. Marie was an author and avid letter writer. Much of her original correspondence and thoughts are expressed in the book. The book does a great job of setting the stage for the history of Romania, a country I didn't know much about. Sadly, the book is published during the Cold War so the epilogue doesn't let you know if Marie's memory was restored with the fall of Communism.

  16. 5 out of 5

    R. Fulleman

    The Last Romantic tells of the life of Romania's Queen Marie. It's a history that's not been heard of by many. Due to in great part to Queen Marie's oldest son, who became King Carol II, her life has almost been entirely erased from the history of Romania for anyone born after WWII. The biography chronicles the various marriages between the royalty across Europe, the rising of the Bolsheviks, and the fight for the lands now described as Romania. It's also an interesting read as it talks about th The Last Romantic tells of the life of Romania's Queen Marie. It's a history that's not been heard of by many. Due to in great part to Queen Marie's oldest son, who became King Carol II, her life has almost been entirely erased from the history of Romania for anyone born after WWII. The biography chronicles the various marriages between the royalty across Europe, the rising of the Bolsheviks, and the fight for the lands now described as Romania. It's also an interesting read as it talks about the Americans from the point of view of a Romanian, albeit born in England. It is difficult to imagine someone like Queen Marie, so dedicated to her country, to have family who virtually made her into a prisoner, taking away her inheritance and monies made from her writings. Personally, for me, a descendant of Romanians who lived there before and after WWI, it was informative and educational, while being a well-told story of a woman's life. My only criticism, I do think it could have been better served if some of the vocabulary used was lowered a bit for the average reader, but I liked it none the less.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Pentru cineva care cunostea familia regala din manualele scolare sau din povestile bunicilor care au trait in vremea respectiva, cartea este o surpriza placuta: Regina Maria nu a fost nici sfanta portretizata dupa '90, nici femeia depravata portretizata de comunisti. A fost doar o femeie, produs al vremurilor sale, o regina nici prea scolita, nici prea constienta de realitatile exterioare palatului in care a crescut. Dar a luptat pentru ea, pentru tara, pentru familie, pentru monarhie (in ce ord Pentru cineva care cunostea familia regala din manualele scolare sau din povestile bunicilor care au trait in vremea respectiva, cartea este o surpriza placuta: Regina Maria nu a fost nici sfanta portretizata dupa '90, nici femeia depravata portretizata de comunisti. A fost doar o femeie, produs al vremurilor sale, o regina nici prea scolita, nici prea constienta de realitatile exterioare palatului in care a crescut. Dar a luptat pentru ea, pentru tara, pentru familie, pentru monarhie (in ce ordine e greu de zis), iar felul sau de a fi si faptele sale din perioada cat a fost regina a Romaniei sunt, in mod clar, extraordinare, indiferent de motivatia sa. Cartea e foarte bine scrisa si documentata si e interesant de citit pentru perspectiva unui strain, asupra vietii din Romania, asupra politicii, nobilimii si monarhiei din tara.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    As a person interested in female historical figures (with books written by female historians) this title fit the bill. Queen Marie truly was a royal celebrity of her era. Born a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander II, she was a beautiful, talented and intelligent woman. Obviously her duty was to marry for dynastic reasons which she did to Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania. The marriage was successful by royal standards although Maria would continually struggle to care a meaningful As a person interested in female historical figures (with books written by female historians) this title fit the bill. Queen Marie truly was a royal celebrity of her era. Born a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander II, she was a beautiful, talented and intelligent woman. Obviously her duty was to marry for dynastic reasons which she did to Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania. The marriage was successful by royal standards although Maria would continually struggle to care a meaningful role for herself --and succeed overall. Surprisingly, it was her son, Carol II who proved the biggest obstacle for her despite her international reputation of a politically astute representative of Romania (she was at Versailles after World War I to ensure her country's position). Pakula's text is impressive, thorough and accessible to all readers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    I've always been fascinated by Queen Marie of Romania ever since reading Julia P. Geraldi's Born to Rule(highly recommend it and her other two books if you like royalty). Since reading that book I have wanted to learn more about her and have been looking for ages for biography of her. Hannah Pakula does a wonderful job in this well written, comprehensive and interesting biography. I highly recommend this to people who are interested in royalty, especially in the late 19-20th century.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laraf123

    Three and a half. Perhaps a bit bogged down by military details. I'll never understand why the carnage of World War I was deemed necessary to continue more than six months. So difficult to read about even a century later. I suppose that is not the author's fault.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielan

    Learned about the Romanian royal family and its role. Our history bools denaturated or hid their involvement. A strong woman during difficult periods of Romania has influenced a lot our people and future. The mother of Romania like common people named her.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Abandoned on page 132 of 424. Dull

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adina Radu

    Impresionanta!! O recomand cu toată inima

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dorina Danila

    O excelentă biografie a unei personalități fascinante. Mai multe pe blog https://dorinadanila.com/2017/10/22/u... O excelentă biografie a unei personalități fascinante. Mai multe pe blog https://dorinadanila.com/2017/10/22/u...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vasile Corjan

    5 stele pentru viața reginei , 4 stele pentru cum e scrisă cartea, recomand

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeanet Alessandra

    Estoy completamente enamorada de la forma en que escribe Hanna Pakula. Y necesito que ella escriba las biografías de todas mis figuras históricas favoritas. Les dejo esta quote tan épica de la reina Marie de Rumania: ''I am said to be the most beautiful woman in Europe. About that, of course, I cannot judge because I cannot Know. But about the other queens, I know. I am the most beautiful queen in Europe.''

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sole

    Wonderful book and really, really, really, hard to find. Took me years to track a copy. Finally got it from some new&used library in Australia, but it was worth it. Hanna Pakula does an excellent job in detailing the life and struggles of Queen Mary of Roumania. really well researched and entertaining at the same time, which it not exactly easy to do. Wonderful book and really, really, really, hard to find. Took me years to track a copy. Finally got it from some new&used library in Australia, but it was worth it. Hanna Pakula does an excellent job in detailing the life and struggles of Queen Mary of Roumania. really well researched and entertaining at the same time, which it not exactly easy to do.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lee Churchill

    My third biography in so many months; a nice, well rounded exploration behind an author that started my formative years in literary appreciation. I look forward to exploring the rest of his catalogue with the bits of history I read behind the stories.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Another of Queen Victoria's daughters. Who knew I'd enjoy a book about Roumania [old spelling used in the book:]? I hardly know where it is! I may have to read Hannah Pakula's latest book, The Last Empress, as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ina Solomon

    I loved this book! It is long and well documented and it gave me such insight into the history of Roumania! I finally understand why it is still struggling and in spite of all the natural resources it is not wealthy. I almost want to cry for my Roumania.....I am also a romantic after all!

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