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Hermine: an Empress in Exile

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Hermine: An Empress in Exile: The Untold Story of the Kaiser's Second Wife is a fascinating read by Moniek Bloks. I have never heard of Hermine before and was captivated by her. Five stars.
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This biography focuses on the later years of Hermine's life, due to these years being the most crucial of her life. IT was very interesting, but seemed a little too short to get the point fully across.
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Hermione Reuss of Grey's is better known as the second wife of the Kaiser ( Emperor Wilhelm 11 of Germany) whom she she married shortly after the death of his first wife. She was by then a widow herself with young children. Author # Moniek Bloks has a wonderful novel for those that enjoy a historical read.
Thank you for the advance copy,
# Netgalley, # Moniek Bloks, and # John Hunt Publishing
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i enjoyed getting to read a topic that I didn't know anything about, it was a good read and I was fascinated by Hermine's story.
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I had heard of Hermine Reuss of Greiz, but didn't know any details of her life. In fact a few years ago, I was bidding on a couple of dresses owned by her. That being said, this book does give a good background of her early life, first marriage and her marriage to Kaiser Wilhelm II. Her early life was filled with tragedy, horrific accidents and deaths of several family members. She first met the Kaiser at her elder sister's wedding and had a crush on him. Reminds one a bit of Alexandra and Nicholas at Ella's and Serge's wedding and Diana having a school girl crush on Prince Charles. Although Hermine's first marriage was a fairly happy one at first, her husband was not well at all and died, leaving her a widow with 5 children.
The author also delves into the first marriage of the Kaiser to Augusta Victoria. From his early years the Kaiser was a womanizer married to a silent suffering wife. In Hermine, he found a more spirited partner. His children were not happy, when they married in 1922. The rest of the book deals with the determination of Hermine to help Wilhelm regain his throne and both families' dealings with Adolf Hitler.
Whether you sympathize with Hermine or not, this book is well researched and is a good, short biography of her life.
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I knew absolutely nothing about this lady, but I generally enjoy biographies if the subject is interesting. It turns out that Hermine was, indeed, spirited and different.  At a time when women were still very much controlled and subjugated, she made choices which were brave.  Monies Bloks details her life with information which appears to be the result of significant research.  My main criticism of the book is that despite the difficulties and excitements Hermine faced, somehow the author doesn’t really bring her to life.  The facts are presented I and you have to read between the lines to imagine the person.  That aside, I did find the subject fascinating and I enjoyed learning about someone new to me.  

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.
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The publisher emailed me asking if I would like an ARC and I decided to take a chance on it, as I know surprisingly little about Kaiser Wilhelm II and his family and even less about his second wife, Hermine. I think it is quite possible to still want to know more about a subject without liking them very much and I feel like that is the case here. I never knew the Kaiser even had a second wife, and what we are given in this shorter biography certainly gives us glimpses of an incredibly turbulent life before she became the 'Empress' as he insisted she be called. Unfortunately the early years of her life and her first marriage were not the focus, so there is not as much information there. On the other hand, it could be that the author disclosed all she could, because that is all the information available. I do not know for certain because, as I said before, Hermine is completely new to me.

The Kaiser's children from his first marriage were extremely wary about Hermine and her brood of children from her first marriage and it is easy to see why. Ambition is something Hermine had in spades and to many it looked like her end-game was all about how high she could climb on the social ladder. Being referred to as Empress certainly high up there, but she wanted more. Hermine wanted Wilhelm restored to the throne and for the monarchy to rule again. She tried her very best to cozy up to Hitler in order to make it happen.

It is disturbing that not only did she seek his company for this end, but she seems to have genuinely admired him. This is enough to make anyone who is not a terrible person shudder, and it is one of the things that does make Hermine incredibly unlikable. She an hardly be blamed for wanting to improve her husband's standing, to see his family restored to the throne, but it was never going to happen. Everyone else seemed to realize that except her.

As expected, the aging monarch remained in exile and Hermine stayed with him in the Netherlands for their twenty year marriage. While the Kaiser could not travel far, Hermine could and she made several trips to Germany in that time. When Wilhelm died in 1941, Hermine had no choice but to return to her first husband's lands. The war raged on and after it came to an end, Hermine was arrested. She was placed under the watchful eye of the Red Army, and she died mysteriously, supposedly of a heart attack, at the age of 59.

Hermine had an incredibly interesting life, though she did herself no favors with her attitudes and behaviors, which made people question her motives. Though to be fair, I think the Kaiser's children would have acted the same way toward any new wife of their father and that it was not all specifically about Hermine.

Recommended for those with an interest in Germany's history.
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This was ok, but not great.  I didn't know much about Hermine, in fact before seeing the book I had never heard of her, so in that respect it was interesting to read.  It went into much more depth about the Kaiser's first wife, I felt, then it did about Hermine so I think that was a missed opportunity.  I also struggled to find any sympathy for a woman who supported the Nazis out of expediency in hopes of being restored to power.  The author says that Hermine was a complicated individual but that doesn't come out in the story, she really just seems to be an opportunist, hungry for power.  It's well written and an easy read.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A short and interesting biographical of Hermine, 2nd wife, and later widow of the Kaiser.  It is filled with births, marriages and deaths which I kept a record of while reading, and which I found most helpful.
It was not an easy read for me as there were so many Dutch and German names and, as I was reading it on my Kindle,  the many footnotes took time to access, although as they were mostly acknowledgments of sources I soon decided they were unnecessary for my reading enjoyment.   I was also glad I was familiar with the countries in Europe and had some knowledge of the two world wars.  

Hermine was obviously a remarkable woman and very devoted to her husbands in sickness and in health.  She was also devoted to her family, and her country.   Very well researched.
I give it 3.5 stars.
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This is a perfectly adequate if rather dry biography of Hermine, second wife to Kaiser Wilhelm II. I didn’t even know he’d had a second wife and was intrigued to find out about this woman who dedicated herself to him after the death of his first wife. The book is well-researched, fairly short and written in an accessible way that unfortunately occasionally feels somewhat bland. Although all the facts are there, I didn’t feel it offered any psychological insight and Hermine never came alive for me, remaining inscrutable and rather mysterious. This is a shame as she led a really interesting life, not least after the Kaiser’s death when she was left to fend for herself in an increasingly hostile environment. However, the biography does what a biography should do, chronicles a life, and does so pretty well on the whole.
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I read this ARC for an honest review
All thoughts and opinions are mine

What drew me to this book was the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about the subject.
It is, I think, an indication as to how women in history are ignored but could in fact add valuable knowledge to a subject and the surrounding history of its time

I think she was a fascinating figure 
I enjoyed this book immensely 

If you are interested in history at all, I would highly recommend
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This is an interesting book, but the writing is a bit dry. The author tries to be sympathetic and fair to Hermine, the second wife of the former Kaiser, but Hermine really didn't do herself any favours, and one can see why she was unloved, although the Kaiser's children would have probably been against any match.  Much younger, ambitious and clever, Hermine, a widow with several children of her own, married the E,mporer quite quickly. It was love at first sight on his part, but who knows what it was on hers. Some of the Kaiser's children thought that she was a gold-digger, and she certainly went to great pains to try to get his throne restored in Germany. 

Stuck in Doorn in Holland most of the time because the Kaiser wasn't allowed to travel very far, Hermine grew quite restless. She tended to be argumentative and bored. The main reason why she is an unsympathetic character, however, is because she was so mesmerised by Hitler and the Nazis. She liked Hitler, and she was very anxious that he would put William back on the throne.. This was understandable in the first place perhaps, but she continued to be impressed with the Nazis and try to court their attention,even after her husband advised her against having anything to do with them. However, she eventually saw the light, and she knew that her neighbour was hiding a Jewish person from the Nazis during the war.

I have no time for the Kaiser either, but he seems to have been a more likeable character than his second wife.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Rating: Good

Genre: Biography

This is a short biography about Hermine Reuss, known as the second wife of the exiled emperor of Germany, Emperor Wilhelm II. The book comes with six chapters and each chapter talks about an important period in Hermine’s life. I have never heard before of Hermine so when I got the opportunity to read this book I had to read it to know about this mysterious personality. 

The book is well written and gives a good insight into Harmine’s life in certain periods of her life. It is more focused on her later years due to the importance of that period. The writing style is easy to grasp and is on point. It stays in the subject and gives you the needed important information that you require to know. This reads more like a story rather than a nonfiction book which makes it a lot easier. 

I don’t have a big knowledge when it comes to European monarchies during that period so reading this book gave me a glimpse of them. What I found really interesting was Hermine’s persistent efforts into reinstating her exiled husband as an emperor. The woman was obviously that much ambitious that she was ready to seek Hitler’s help as well. The book has a lot to offer but unfortunately, I did not find Harmine as a fascinating character or an inspiring one. She definitely faced a lot of hardships early in her life or in her later life but still, some of her actions and ambitions were questionable. 

Many thanks to the publisher  John Hunt Publishing Ltd and NetGalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for this honest and unbiased review.
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Thank you to the author and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was a fascinating biography. Prior to reading this, I admit I knew nothing about her or her story. Wilhelm tends to be ignored in the period after his abdication, and I think that Hermine unfortunately gets swept up in that. However, she was a determined woman and she lived through a chaotic and difficult period in Europe. The book focuses largely on her later life, but I appreciate that- her early life is similar to many other German princesses, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything. Her later life and death is really the interesting part for me; I was stunned to read that Wilhelm was buried in the Netherlands and that Hermine was buried with his first wife. (Yes, you read that correctly!) This is a well-written biography, and a must-read!
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I received a free electronic ARC of this interesting biography from Netgalley, author Moniek Bloks, and John Hunt Publishing - Chronos Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.  I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. Moniek Bloks defines for us very well the monarchy families of Europe in the early 20th century.  We see the effects of WWI and carry through into the devastation of Europe and the Mediterranean 
during and following WWII.   

Keeping in mind that during these times the norm was for many a  privileged child of the ruling class to carry the first name of their parents - boys the father, girls the mother - and that the given name extended through generations as well, this previously was for me difficult to follow, but Ms. Bloks simplifies it for us so eventually, we can separate the personalities of the individuals in our mind.  

I found myself feeling bad for Hermine fairly early on in this biography.  Born Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, she was the fifth child, fourth daughter of Prince Johann Georg of Schonaich-Carolath (Heinrich XXII), and Princess Ida Mathilde Adelheid of Schaumburg-Lippe.  Hermine married  Prince Johann Georg of Schonaich-Carolathdid with whom she had five children. Hermine nursed her husband through about 15 years of TB before his death.   Though she had vowed to remain single after the death of her first husband, after two years of widowhood, just after Easter in 1922 at the age of 34 she agreed to marry the exiled Emperor of Germany, 63-year-old Wilhelm, after his abdication in 1918.  

Hermine was misunderstood and resented by many of her peers.  Outsiders and the press attributed as fact wild theories to her actions whether or not they were indeed fact or mere rumors and flights of fancy.  It reminds us of the horrors of civil war and the restricted lives passed during those times.  Hermine had several estates and five children from her first marriage, and a suitcase filled with over $500,000 in jewelry and gold adornments (much of which was later stolen), but her households still had restricted foods, clothing, gasoline - basics of life as we know it -  just as did the common European citizen.  All of Europe and western Asia suffered a lack of many essentials both during and following these World Wars.  Makes a person be very sure to get out and vote...
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This was a nice little introductory biography of a woman not known to many. 

Despite my love of seeking out the "lost" women of history, for me, this was someone not on my radar - more so as my purview lies within the ancient and medieval period.  As such, I found myself not overly engaged - as I mentioned, this was just out of my remit.

What I did was find myself comparing Hermine with Wallace Simpson - both married to royal men, descended from Queen Victoria, and both gained notoriety for their support of Herr Hitler.

 Not having read anything else on Hermine, I found it to be an informative and not overly complicated biography nonetheless.
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I love Royal History from around the world and what drew me to Hermine: An Empress in Exile was that it was about a royal I had never heard about before.  Hermine lived an interesting life and always believed she was doing what was best for the family and the country she loved despite what it looked like to others.  I recommend this book to any royal and history buff out there.  Thanks to Net Galley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book!  (This review is also on GoodReads.)
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A short little biography great for younger readers transitioning over to adult biographies for more mature themes and content. It doesn't come across as the most well-researched book (long quotations with little or no analysis, few sources, general assumptions, lacking nuance) so I don't see too many adult readers enjoying something like this. However, I think high schoolers and teenaged patrons would appreciate something like this as an introduction to the historical biography genre.
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Good. Very informative and well researched even though it is a short book. Although it is titled about the Kaiser's wife it is very heavily about the Kaiser so that although you do find out alot about her it seems that she is a secondary character till he dies then it seems that the author is in a rush to talk about the rest of her life.
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This was a frustrating read for me.

Hermine is a fascinating subject for an autobiography, and someone I did not know anything about.

A widow herself, she meets and marries Kaiser Wilhelm in 1920. Giving up her independence, she willingly joins him in exile in Holland and for nearly twenty years supports his efforts to be reinstated as Emperor of Germany, even meeting with Hitler to try and negotiate a role for the Emperor in the new German Republic.

Hermine’s childhood and first marriage are skipped over in a few chapters. This is a real shame as she has an interesting life. Her husband becomes ill with tuberculosis shortly after their marriage, and Hermine travels around Europe to spa towns and sanatorium trying to improve his health. Teaching her children, her views on how children should be taught were progressive for the age and deserved more attention.

I got the sense that the writer was more interested in Emperor Wilhelm than Hermine herself, as it is his character than is revealed more strongly for the second part of the novel.

There is clearly a lot of research go into this book as there are pages of notes, lots of factual information and primary sources in the form of letters included in the book.

I feel that their book is missing some of the narrative elements that bring biographical subjects to life. I lots of facts about Hermine’s life, but I don’t feel like I have really learnt about her as woman, a consort, a mother or a political all of which she was.

There are also so many members if various branches of the very complex German royal family with very little explanation of who they are and what they were like which do get confusing.

For me this was a taster biography and Hermine deserved more in the future.

Thank you to Chronos and Netgalley for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.
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