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Book Review: Historical Heartthrobs – 50 Timeless Crushes from Cleopatra to Camus by Kelly Murphy with Hallie Fryd

I was invited by Zest Books to be a part of the Historical Heartthrobs blog tour and I said yes because I am a huge fan of Zest Books.  I love the ways they organize their books and how graphically appealing they are.

So then the book arrived and I set it on the counter.  Not too long after the Tween picked it up and started reading it.  She doesn’t read a lot of nonfiction so I thought I would wait and see where this went.  She sat there that night and read the entire book – and kept sharing interesting facts with me.  You know, in that mom knows nothing way that preteens do, “Mom, did you know that Harriet Beecher Stowe was an abolitionist?”  Me, “Yes, she wrote a book called Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  Her, “How did you know that?”  Me, “Hello, Librarian.”

Historical Heartthrobs takes a stroll through history and gives you a mini-introduction to a wide variety of figures.  The sections are broken up into some basic parts: Life Story, the story of their sex life, why they matter and their best features.  It then rates them on a “Heat Factor” and has an insert of some of their most famous quotes. 

Despite the title, not all of the people presented are really “heartthrob” material because they are things like dictators (Fidel Castro), cold-blooded killers (Bugsy Siegel) and presidential assassins (John Wilkes Booth).  It’s a very tongue-in-cheek way to present history.

And yes, I did mention that there is a section called “The Story of His/Her Sex Life”.  The tween was really quite scandalized at first by this.  But it really just talks about their love life.  It was kind of interesting to learn that true to form, double agent Eddie Chapman has fiance’s on both sides of his wartime allegiances.

There are 50 entries and they are split pretty evenly between male and female entries.  They cover a wide range of figures from poets, authors, military leaders, gangsters, and more.

Historical Heartthrobs is a great browsing book, fun in presentation but loaded without enough facts to give it some value.  Schools will want to be aware that the one heading discusses their “sex lives”.  But the Tween and I enjoyed reading through this and learned a few things.  And she was introduced to some people she hadn’t heard of before.

You can win a copy of the book!  Follow the Rafflecopter instructions for a variety of ways to enter.  Pick the one(s) that work best for you.  Open to U.S. Residents (cost of mailing and all that, sorry).  Giveaway ends on Sunday, February 16th.  Book provided for review and giveaway by Zest Books.


  1. I also love Zest books! Like your teen I'm not much of a nonfiction reader, but I always enjoy what Zest offers!

  2. I just found out about Zest books and my teen and I both find them enjoyable. I was super excited when I saw you were reviewing Historical Heartthrobs.

  3. I enjoyed the little excerpt. I'm glad you included it because I was wondering about the “Sex Life” bit myself. Sounds like a book I'll have to keep my eye on.

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