A Thousand and One Nights gets a genderswap in Linda Lafferty’s historical novel The Drowning Guard. Set against the intrigue and glittering façade of the Ottoman Empire, it tells the story of Esma Sultan, sister of Sultan Mahmoud II, and one of the most powerful women of his reign. Read More Book Review: The Drowning Guard, by Linda Lafferty
According to Lesley Blanch, author of The Wilder Shores of Love, the Caribbean island of Martinique had something in the air “which bred a race of queens.” She lists four women who, in some way or another, became the consorts of French rulers: Madame de Maintenon, the morganatic wife of Louis XIV, Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, who would become Josephine, Empress of the French; and Josephine’s daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais, who would marry Napoleon’s brother Louis and become Queen of Holland. But it is the fourth about whom very little is known, and yet who is the most fascinating of all. While her cousin Josephine ruled as an empress in the West, so did she rule as an empress in the East, but not under the name she had been born with. She was Valide Sultane, the Veiled Crown, or Queen Mother, of the Ottoman Empire. Read More The French Valide Sultane: The Legend of Aimee Dubuc de Rivery
It’s somewhat shocking to realize that most people do not know the modern history of Saudi Arabia. Even though it’s a major ally of the US, a key player in the global economy and one of the most oppressive regimes in world history, most Americans (and Europeans for that matter) simply have no idea how that came to be. Read More Why is Saudi Arabia so Repressive?