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Tour: 73. The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo...

May 7, 2009
Welcome, everyone, to this Unbridled Books tour stop for C.M. Mayo's THE LAST PRINCE OF THE MEXICAN EMPIRE!

From the book:
The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a sweeping historical novel of Mexico during the short, tragic, at times surreal, reign of Emperor Maximilian and his court. Even as the American Civil War raged north of the border, a clique of Mexican conservative exiles and clergy convinced Louis Napoleon to invade Mexico and install the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian von Habsburg, as Emperor.

A year later, the childless Maximilian took custody of the two year old, half-American, Prince Agustín de Iturbide y Green, making the toddler the Heir Presumptive. Maximilian’s reluctance to return the child to his distraught parents, even as his empire began to fall, and the Empress Carlota descended into madness, ignited an international scandal.

This lush, grand read is based on the true story and illuminates both the cultural roots of Mexico and the political development of the Americas. But it is made all the more captivating by the depth of Mayo’s writing and her understanding of the pressures and influences on these all too human players. Her prose makes the reader taste the foods, smell the spices and flowers and feel the heat of Mexico. Mayo writes for the senses. And for the ages.

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a story both sweeping and intimate, of geopolitics, the glamour of royalty, and the grit of military command, of the arrogance of power, the dark labyrinths of ambition, and, above all, of a child who was not, in the end, a prince, but a little boy who belonged to his parents.
drey's review:
I picked out The Last Prince because of the cover - it's beautiful. The story made me so sad for the poor little boy, looking for the familiar faces of his parents, his nurse; wondering where they were. I had a hard time imagining how they could give him up - I could never give up my little man. At least not till he's a sullen, rebellious teenager, lol!

The story's characters & motivations are complex, as I hope it should be for those who've contemplated giving up a toddler (sniffle). Can you tell I'm hung up on that? In any case, Last Prince is the story of Alice Green and her husband, Angel(o) Iturbide, his family, and family history. It is also the story of Maximilian von Habsburg and his wife Charlotte, and his own insecurities in dealing with his family. (Just goes to show ya - being royal isn't all it's cut out to be... =P) And more importantly, it is the story of the interconnecting spaces between these two groups of characters, and ultimately, the sacrifice of a child for both families' ambitions.

This is not a quick read, for me. I found myself having to pay close attention to the detail woven by Ms. Mayo. It also took me a little while to "remember" the history behind the motivations of each camp. It is lush, as described above, and I found it a worth-while read. Want it? Click on the cover to purchase from Amazon!

About the author:
C.M. Mayo has been living in and writing about Mexico for many years. Her books include the widely-lauded travel memoir, Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico, and Sky Over El Nido, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award. An avid translator of contemporary Mexican literature, Mayo is founding editor of Tameme Chapbooks ~ Cuadernos, and has also edited the anthology Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, a portrait of Mexico in the fiction and literary prose of 24 Mexican writers. She conducted extensive original research to write this novel, her debut. Mayo divides her time between Washington D.C. and Mexico City.

Tour stops:
we be reading
Devourer of Books
Kylee's 2009 Blog
Booksie's Blog
Medieval Bookworm
The Tome Traveler's Weblog
Darby's Closet


Kaye said...

It is a beautiful cover, but then it seems Unbridled books always have beautiful covers. They must have one of the best art departments in the industry. Sounds like a very good book but one not to be rushed. Thanks for sharing. Have a great week!

Unknown said...

Hi Drey,
Thanks for the review, I can see myself buying that book for the cover alone. Have a great week. :)

Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

I totally agree, that cover is gorgeous and would have instantly grabbed me!

LuAnn said...

I've been hearing great things about this book. Thanks for the review!

Unknown said...

I have something for you on my blog.

Teddy Rose said...

Great review Drey! I have this book but haven't read it yet. Wendy of Caribous Mom included a link to a chart that looks like it will help keep track, I hope.

Unknown said...

Just stopping by to say Happy Mother's Day.

Serena said...

I really liked this book. I added a link to your review here:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

WHat a pretty cover! I've added this one to my list.

Gaby317 said...

Sounds like an interesting read! Please count me in!

I'm a follower.

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

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