Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

November 8, 2007

Book (and movie!) Recommendations by the Princess Francesca

Filed under: Books,Movies — Francesca @ 1:54 pm

Yesterday, I wrote a review of Igigi clothing, emphasizing the importance of Princess Seams for the Appley Woman.

So now Francesca has princesses on the brain.

Here is a book I love: The Lonely Empress: Elizabeth of Austria by Joan Haslip. You know what is spooky? How much the Empress Elisabeth of Austria was like Princess Diana of England. Both married men in line for the throne (or on it) who had been “supposed” to marry her older sister; both were raised in the relative freedom of common or semi-common life, and were thrust into court life when they married; both had major problems with their mothers-in-law; both had eating disorders; both were known and loved for their beauty, and youth, and fantastic clothes. Haslip does a good job of bringing Elisabeth to life while still being somewhat dispassionate, and fair to the mother-in-law.

Then we have the colorful Marie Antoinette: The Journey, on which the movie with Kirsten Dunst was based. The production values for this hardcover version are incredible. From the metallic design inside the covers to the color photographs and the high-quality paper, this book is beautiful enough to befit the royalty it describes. But if you want to save some money, the softcover version, pictured at left, is here. (Oh, and by the way, chances are slim that Marie Antoinette ever said to “let them eat cake.”)

A story that starts out more austere but ends more happily than either Elisabeth’s or Marie’s: the beloved 1905 children’s novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A pampered rich girl suddenly finds herself orphaned and poor, leading to a series of unfortunate events . . . but don’t worry, this delightful story has a happy ending, or else they never would have made a movie out of it –one of Francesca’s favorites from her childhood — starring Shirley Temple.

Shirley Temple Collection, Vol. 1: Curly Top / Heidi / Little Miss Broadway Speaking of movies starring Shirley Temple which Francesca loves . . . and Austria . . . when was the last time you saw Heidi?

And finally, if you need a cute chyck flick (that’s “chick with a y,” get it? I bet anyone who went to a Seven Sisters school gets it) Francesca recommends The Princess Diaries and the sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Yes, the plot is ridiculous. Yes Francesca is embarrassed for Julie Andrews, who deserves so much more. And yet, when you are in the mood for ordering Chinese food and cuddling up in your sweatpants while watching something fun and brainless, these movies are perfect.


  1. Charles was supposed to marry Diana’s older sister? I didn’t even know she had an older sister!

    I learn so much from this blog :)

    Comment by lynda — November 8, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

  2. You might probably like the “Sissi” movies ( about Empress Elizabeth of Austria. Really kitschy with a rather slim hold to reality but a true christmas classic in german TV.
    And may I recommend Stefan Zweig’s biography of Marie Antoinette? I liked it better than Frasers, but then again: I didn’t really like Coppolas movie.

    Comment by teapunk — November 8, 2007 @ 7:19 pm

  3. Well, he dated her very briefly, but she didn’t want the responsibilities of being Queen so that was the end of that. I don’t know how far it would have gone otherwise.

    Comment by Francesca — November 8, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

  4. Yes, I have heard the same thing about Marie A — that that saying is from way before her time.

    I loved the book “Heidi!” It was one of the few books I owned as a child. My family didn’t have a lot of money and it wasn’t worth it to buy books even if we could afford them because the military would pay to move only a certain amount of weight and books weigh a lot. I did, however, become a friend of the library at a very young age — the librarians would let me take out ten books at a time on my mother’s ID card.

    Comment by class-factotum — November 8, 2007 @ 10:58 pm

  5. Marie Antoinette: The Journey is one of my most cherished books. Awesome to see it recommended randomly like this.

    Comment by Fashionbigot — November 9, 2007 @ 3:50 am

  6. Just saw the Marie Antoinette movie and I also thought it was somewhat lacking, BUT OMG all those glorious shoes left me hyperventilating!! Anyway, I became quite intrigued by her story and was planning on getting a good biography. Now, thanks to this blog, I have 2 great suggestions. Thanks ladies :-) BTW – I am a total sucker for any Shirley Temple movie ever made (I love a good tap dance number) and I adore both movie versions of The Little Princess.

    Comment by gemdiva — November 9, 2007 @ 9:22 am

  7. I loved Sofia Coppola’s take on Marie Antoinette and I really wish it had been more warmly received. I think she did an amazing job showing Marie’s utter isolation from the rest of France and the pre-revolution activities, and how a normal teenage girl would react to being placed in an environment like Versailles. It’s nice to see a shout-out to the book here.

    Oh, and the double CD soundtrack? Utterly A-MAZ-ING.

    Comment by K — November 9, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

  8. “Heidi” and “Pippi Longstocking” were two of the first books i took out of the library when i was 7 or 8… i’ve re-read them both every couple of years — and love both Shirley Temple movies. my friend, who is a movie critic, was quite impressed by Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette”… now for a really good movie about Catherine the Great — who started off unwanted, unloved and unhappy and became the ultimate Russian Tsarina…

    Comment by bonnie-ann black — November 9, 2007 @ 4:40 pm

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