Monday, March 23, 2009
Book Review- The Courtesans
The Courtesans- The Demi-Monde in 19th-Century France, by Joanna Richardson tells the story of several of the most famous courtesans of the century. Every chapter deals with a different woman and her glory days. The chapters read like summaries and if you are interested in reading about detailed dates, time and places; this is the book for you.
The introduction to this book is quite captivating. The rest of the book unfortunately didn’t meet my expectations. The courtesans, who were quite colorful characters with lives to match, sadly did not stand out as they should have. I agree that a certain amount of history is necessary, but when this overshadows the characters themselves, it takes away the flavor.
Besides their lifestyle and artistic careers, important men that indulged in obtaining ‘services’, played a strategic role in the courtesans’ popularity and status. Such were the likes of Napoleon III and other prominent figures. Although it was interesting to read about how these ladies were often in charge of whom they chose to bestow their natural gifts upon; I would have liked a more detailed look into their lives and what made each of the courtesans so unique in their own way. This is something which I believe this book failed to do. After having read about each of their lives, these courtesans all seemed the same to me. I was misled by the interesting introduction and beautiful illustrations into reading a book that was more factual than entertaining- A different intention for which I wasn’t prepared for.
Posted by Lucy at 2:36 PM