Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Advent Calendar, box no. 5 - 6 Degrees of Separation

This, the fifth day of December it is time to visit another favourite meme. Books Are My Favourite And Best is hosting 6 Degrees of Separation and starts December with Stephen King's It. I have not read it. Actually, the only book I read by Stephen King is Christine, so this is my first link. I am not fond of horror stories, seldom read them, but I really liked this book. I read it many years ago when I was young, so can't say what I will think today. But memories are good.

That takes me to another book called Christine by Helle Stangerup. It is about the Danish princess, daughter to King Christian II of Denmark and Norway and Isabella of Austria. She lived 1521-1590. She became duchess-consort of Milan and Lorraine, and served as a regent 1545-52 during her son's minority. After a long and adventurous life she became the sovereign Lady of Tortona in 1578-84. A strong, female character who managed to survive in a man's world. Definitely, because she refused the marriage proposal of Henry VIII!

Another strong, female, royal character is our own Queen Christina. I read the book Drottning Christina by Marie-Louise Rodén some years ago. She abdicated, converted to Catholicism and settled down in Rome, where she died in 1689. She is the only woman buried in St Peter. She was one of the most educated women of her time, but she also had a bad habit to meddle into international politics, which was not always appreciated. Excellent book.

Continuing with strong women, I just read Odd Women by George Gissing. Written in the end of the 19th century it seems a very modern book. At the time there were around one million more women than men in England, and this book is about women who wants to be independent and work, and not have to marry to be able to survive. Well, it is so much more and interesting discussions on working women, living together without being married and the overall situation of women at the time.

That leads me to Mrs Jordan's Profession, a biography by Claire Tomalin. She was the most celebrated actress of her days and mistress to the future King William IV. They had ten children together. She was a working mother and quite ahead of her time as regards her thinking.

Another independent woman was Agatha Christie. In her book Come, Tell Me How You Live, we see a different side of her. She accompanies her archeological husband, Max Malloran to the Middle East and his excavations. Here we see how she manages to live a more simple life than in England. We also see where she got the inspiration to her books which take place in this interesting part of the world.

Well, there was a chain of strong women, starting in a run-down garage, going to the golden rooms of palaces, to poor and rich living in London, to end up in the desert in Iraq. Hope you enjoyed the ride!

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