Kristina: The Girl King by Carolyn Meyer

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.  Although when I try to link to the exact location I get an error message.)

August 3, 1638

Papa Matthiae arrived last evening, accompanied by Jacob Henrik Elbfas, the court painter.  I feared this meant I should have to pose for another official portrait.  They dress you in wretchedly uncomfortable gowns and make you stand perfectly still for hours, holding something in your hand—a large feather, or a glove, or some symbolic object.  When you think you cannot bear it for another minute, the thing is finished, and you are expected to say how splendid it is!

In truth if I am not with Papa Matthiae and studying a serious subject, I prefer to be outside and on horseback, if possible.  Or with a fencing sword.

Even though in her historical note Carolyn Meyer says Kristina of Sweden is one of the most talked about female monarchs in history, even more popular than Cleopatra, I highly doubt this.  There is no doubt in my mind Cleopatra—to name one example—is more popular than Kristina will ever be.  I had never heard of Kristina until I read this book (which actually belongs to my little sister), which is kind of sad because she really is a woman worthy of admiration.

In a world dominated by men and when only males could inherit the throne, Kristina is proclaimed heir to the throne of Sweden by her father.  Kristina: The Girl King follows Kristina’s young years as she is trained like a prince, not a princess.  She eschews romance, rides horses, practices archery, fences, learns battle strategies and studies classical Greek and Roman literature.  Queen Elizabeth I has nothing on Kristina!

Kristina has a very powerful voice that readers will love, especially tomboys like myself.  She is very sympathetic and three dimensional, as are all of the characters, even though we only glimpse them through her writing.  Readers will love her and remember her for years to come, which is a good thing because the plot is not exactly fast-paced.  However, it is an enjoyable read.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

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