Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War by Hal Vaughan

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Reading good books with interesting historical plots makes me want to know more about the real life history. The Queen of Paris is no exception. Reading it just made me want to learn more about Coco Chanel, especially about her collaboration with the Nazis. What really led her down that awful path? Did she regret it? Is that why she fled to Switzerland after Paris was liberated?

The author of The Queen of Paris, Pamela Binnings Ewen, said she used Sleeping with the Enemy by Hal Vaughan as part of her research, which inspired me to buy this book.

I am hoping my questions will be answered in Sleeping With the Enemy. Mr. Vaughan’s findings from his investigation into Coco’s life during Nazi-occupied Paris are revealed for the first time in this book.  It was published in 2011 and since then other books about her Nazi past have been written, but this is the book that started it all.

Also, Mr. Vaughan’s book dedication gave me the chills: “This book is dedicated to those French men and women who, though bent by the Nazi yoke, refused to to collaborate. And as always, for Phuong.” 

I look forward to reading this book and learning more, even if it will be unpleasant.

What’s on your nightstand?

xoxo, Jane

Women in History – Eloise Randolph Page, the Iron Butterfly

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Women (and their accomplishments) are often left out of history. This is nothing new and we are well aware of it. It’s not right and it’s not fair. I’m going to do my part to write about women in history (especially in the Cold War era). Please join me as we kick off this new series with Miss Eloise Randolph Page.

Eloise Page began her career as a secretary in the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) in 1947. What’s remarkable about her is that she moved up through the ranks to become the CIA’s first Chief of Station in an era where women in intelligence were simply not promoted.

Miss Page was born in Richmond, Virginia. Emphasis on the Miss. She did not like being referred to as Ms. Miss Page never married or had children. Instead, she chose to break the glass ceiling in the intelligence community, steadily climbing through the ranks and eventually earning the nickname “the Iron Butterfly.” She retired in 1987 as one of the highest ranking female officer.

Miss Page is not mentioned in my Encyclopedia of the Cold War which I find to be a grave oversight. She is, however, mentioned in Spy Sites of Washington, D.C. which is how she came to my attention. 

I tip my hat to this incredible woman who paved the way for other women to lead in intelligence. 

 

(Image via Pexels.com)

Thursday Reading Links #37 (Jane Austen edition)

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In honor of Jane Austen’s birthday next week (December 16, 1775), today’s reading links are all about the lady herself. Make a cup of tea and stay awhile.

Romance and Reality in Jane Austen’s World.

The History Chicks Episode #38 is all about Jane Austen.

Read more about Jane Austen’s writing desk.

Three Pamphlets on the Leigh-Perrot Trial: Why Austen Sent Susan to Crosby.

Tea, Jane Austen Style.

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Image via Pexels.com.

‘It’s an escape’: the Americans who want to live like Jane Austen.

The Fashion of Jane Austen’s Novels.

This Jane Austen Letter Highlights the Horrors of 19th-Century Dentistry.

Jane Austen and the Making of the Modern Marriage.

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Bath, England

This is my Jane Austen mug. I love it!

Speaking of mugs, 8 Jane Austen Mugs You Will Fall Ardently In Love With.

20 Jane Austen Gifts for the Most Ardent Fan.

2020 Jane Austen quotes calendar.

Jane Austen’s 6 novels defy rankings. Here’s what each one does best.

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Photo via The Jane Austen Centre in Bath.

The Jane Austen Centre in Bath sells this exclusive regency teacup set. I think Jane Austen would approve.

Jane Austen and social judgement.

This gorgeous clothbound book is my copy of Persuasion.

A literary Christmas.

The Real Reason Jane Austen Never Married.

And one more, a review of the Pride and Prejudice musical.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s reading links edition.

xoxo, Jane

Thursday Reading Links #32

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Well, it may be fall but it feels like winter in my neck of the woods. Stay warm and cozy, wherever you may be. 

Libraries to boycott publisher’s e-book policy

My recent quarterly reading wrap-up can be found here and here.

This is so dear. Fake chimneys for birds that need vertical hollows to rest.

Marie Antoinette’s Favorite Things You Can Still Buy Today.

Did you know that Danielle Steel has a blog? And she updates regularly.

Cute To Go Tea Mug

In praise of having a “boring” wardrobe. (This is from The Telegraph and there may be a log-in required if you exceeded your free articles per month.)

The best pore-cleansing toners and the best new face washes

On this day in 1916, Jeannette Rankin from Montana became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She was one of the few suffragists elected to Congress, and the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both World War I and World War II. 

It never ceases to amaze me that we have such incredible art right here in my city of Washington, D.C., such as this historic painting of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David. The National Gallery of Art published a wonderful publication about French paintings of the 19th century and can be read here for free. 

November babies, I guess life is more interesting as a Scorpio

xoxo, Jane

Image via Pexels.com

 

Thursday Reading Links (on a Saturday) #31

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Halloween is over, it’s November. This means the most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner.

If you’re in the USA, don’t forget to change the clocks this weekend.

Fall Favorites.

Sylvia Plath was a Google doodle earlier this week. The Independent wrote an article about her, for those who aren’t too familiar with her work.

I published two book reviews this week, here and here.

Why don’t I have any famous paintings sitting around my house? A Random Painting in a Woman’s House Sold for $26.8 Million.

How true could this worry really be? We’ll probably never know. Prince Charles Staff Nervous About The Crown’s New Season.

To-do lists are a curse of your own making.

I like these bow and pearl drop earrings, but the price tag of $100.00 is silly.

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Oooh, I like this idea. This Fall, Pair Your Candles For Maximum Coziness.

Little Red Dresses.

Zac Possen no more. I feel bad for the employees. They are out of a job overnight and it’s not fair to them. I don’t think CEOs and other corporate leaders really think of the employees when the going gets tough.

Quiz: What Holiday Romance Should You Read? My answer was The Matchmaker’s Mistletoe Mission by Jaci Burton.

The 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books.

Some of The Deadliest Samurai Were Women, But History Forgot. History seems to always forget about the women.

xoxo, Jane

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Thursday Reading Links #18

This week’s reading links for your amusement and enjoyment are brought to you by my procrastination, delayed metro commutes and Visa (just kidding on that last one!).

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Have a great weekend! xoxo, Jane

Podcasts Update Part V

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I have a new podcast that I love! I just wish I had ten extra hours in a day. There are so many podcasts to enjoy and so little free time.

Anyway, this podcast is called Queens and it’s about women (queens, empresses, consorts, princesses…) in history.

The two hosts are funny with a wonderful rapport and hilarious banter. They make history fun. I do have to warn you, this podcast uses a lot of foul language. If you don’t mind the language, then you are in for a treat. Personally for me, the foul language makes it more relatable and fun to listen to. I feel like I’m gossiping with two friends. Plus I can’t judge, I have a big potty mouth!!

Currently the podcast is covering Elizabeth of Austria (Sisi) but previous women covered are Olga of Kiev, Zenobia, Matilda of Flanders and Empress Wu. All fascinating women, none I ever learned about in school!

What’s your podcast of choice these days? xoxo, Jane

(Previous updates: I, II, III and IV.)

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

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Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie is a fun, nonfiction read about real-life princesses who didn’t have the perfect fairy-tale ending we read (or dream) about.

Description:

You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, and you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But real princesses didn’t always get happy endings. Sure, plenty were graceful and benevolent leaders, but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their majestic closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elisabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev slaughtered her way to sainthood. And Princess Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield with her toddler strapped to her back.

The book is organized in sections by type of princess. The sections are Warriors, Usurpers, Schemers, Survivors, Partiers, Floozies and Madwoman.

As an aside, I find it interesting that some of the women featured weren’t princesses, rather noblewomen or fake princesses (Anastasia, anyone?).

There were a number of princesses I was familiar with, such as Sophia Dorothea (Survivors), Roxolana (Schemers), Pauline Bonaparte (Floozies), Sisi, Elizabeth of Austria (Madwoman, ouch. A bit harsh?), and Charlotte of Belgium (Madwoman).

But I learned about new-to-me women such as Pingyang (Warriors), Wu Zetian (Usurper), Sofka Dolgorouky (Survivors) and Caraboo (Partiers). The biographies were not very long. Each princess had a few pages devoted to her, but they were long enough to give me a good grasp of the life and history of the featured princess.

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What I love

Everything! It’s a really neat concept with bite-sized chunks of history about real-life women. I love reading women’s history and, in my opinion, there are never enough books on this subject.

The book features special inserts about historical eras or other tidbits, such as “Death and the Victorian Age” and “Seven Warrior Queens of Antiquity.” This is a nice touch because I think it helps place the princess in history. I also love the (few) illustrations.

The tidbits I learned were incredible. I didn’t know that Stephanie von Hohenlohe was part of Hitler’s inner circle. Bad Stephanie!! I think the author really dug deep into the archives to research and write this book.

What I don’t love

Sometimes the author inserted her opinion into the narrative which jarred me out of my reading. Otherwise, it was a completely fun and enjoyable read. History made super-duper fun!

As always, thank you for reading!!! xoxo, Jane

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This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links, but it’s also ok if you don’t use the links. I’m just grateful you are here and reading my blog. xoxo, Jane