Good day, dear readers!! It has been a little bit since I have brought you a new book to peruse through. This summer has been super busy, and we have been on the go, but there is always time for reading! I have some fabulous reviews to be bringing your way.
I don’t know about ya’ll, but there are some book companies that I watch like a hawk. St. Martin’s Press is one that I have on a watch list. They are always rolling out fantastic reads, and I always get excited to see what they have upcoming. Let me tell you that this fall, they will have a slew of books that are going to have you parked on the couch reading your heart out. I have been working on a handful of books from St. Martin’s Press, but I am so excited to share this one with you!
Hang on for a fabulously fantastic book!
Eleanor Herman takes us on a tour of one of the areas in history that are talked about, yet not. While that sounds a little weird – it is. Poison is something that we read about it books, suspected deaths and uses, but not really discussed and brought to the forefront.
From germs that were unknown and illnesses that today could be cured with simple remedies – life was not that simple back in the medieval ages. Doctors killed as many patients as they saved. Dirty hands and instruments were some of the leading killers, yet, their concoctions were just as unsafe. Now, there are going to be times within this book, that you might not want to eat before, during, or after… these “recipes” for medicines were NASTY. I have a very strong stomach, and there were a few times that I felt a tad queasy just reading through the ingredients that would go into a balm or drink for a cure.
Doctors though were not the only ones to blame. Cosmetics were also a leading cause of death. Women have always been very vain about their looks, and it was no different 600 years ago. Lead-based products, mercury, arsenic… the list goes on and on. Arsenic was used in just about everything! From clothing, cosmetics, fruit washes, and more. There was no test to see how deadly the many uses were at the time, and these were seen as agents that could “help” and “preserve” items. Little did they know that they were killing themselves slowly.
Mercury was used as a medicine, although in small doses. One of the main uses was for the treatment of syphilis, yet it would kill you just as quickly as the actual disease. It could be used though to kill someone if that was your intent. The Medici family perfected the art of poison and used it most effectively to eliminate many of their rivals. Yet, they were not the only ones to do so. While they are most commonly associated with poisoning – it was used on a far wider scale than many realize. England, France, Germany and many of the other world powers at the time had their own ways of poisoning a rival. Lady Francis Howard was convicted of murder in England, after removing a rival for her lover’s affections.
Kings, queens, ambassadors, and many others were liable to fall victim to poison, just as easily as they could fall victim to the many germs that were rampant. Cleanliness was not as prevalent as it is today, and bathing was seen as opening the pores of your body too bad humor. They would bathe just a few times per year (depending on the person, they might never bathe). King James I was known to boast that he had never bathed in his life, and the smell that his body emanated certainly backed up that fact.
I absolutely LOVED this book! From murder to daily products that could kill you, ancient to more modern times, I was hooked! I love a good mystery, and these cases draw you in. Eleanor Herman really draws you in and takes you down the many facets that made up the known world at the time, from famous figures to some lesser known ones as well. You can read about Napolean, Mozart, and so many more.
This book is now available! You can search for it at your local library or favorite book spot! I give this book 4/5 stars!
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