PositiveTimes Literary Supplement (UK)Pacy, punchy new account ... Paranque’s exhaustive primary source research and translation from French state papers enable her to reconstruct the history of this relationship in the form of dialogue ... She acknowledges that she has recast her material to render it more accessible, and the technique occasionally jars ... On the whole the effect is fresh and vivid ... Both women emerge as appealingly human ... Paranque also draws out queenly vulnerabilities ... Paranque is wise, however, in refusing to speculate too closely on the Virgin Queen’s love life ... The great pleasure of this book is its immediacy: the reader feels present at the conferences and negotiating tables, and Estelle Paranque thrillingly achieves her intention of freeing her \'female princes\' from the clichés that too often surround them, revealing them as the extraordinary rulers they were in (almost) their own words.
Karl Schlögel, Tr. Jessica Spengler
PanThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)\"Schlögel’s attempt to extract the quintessence of totalitarianism from the formulae of a pair of successful perfumes soon gets sticky ... Perhaps Schlögel’s formidable reputation as a historian rendered his editor as timorous as Lagerfeld’s PR assistants; his observations are reiterated more frequently than the boucle jacket. Our perception of the world, we are reminded on page 24, does not only occur through our eyes, a point so penetrating that the author repeats it on page 25. Between repetitions, The Scent of Empires attempts to draw parallels between the careers of Chanel and Zhemchuzhina ... Schlögel’s suggestion that the women’s lives in some sense mirrored one another fails to elide the fact that Chanel was a creator while Zhemchuzhina was a bureaucrat. Unlike many of Chanel’s biographers, Schlögel’s reverence for her talent does not inhibit him from confronting her collaboration with the Nazis and—to a lesser degree—her self-serving antisemitism ... Schlögel quotes effectively from Konstantin Verigin’s memoir Fragrance (1960) ... but despite the doggedness of his scholarly approach, it is perhaps the original Fragrance that readers will want to sample.