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Gelardi, Julia P.

Gelardi, Julia P.

PERSONAL: Born in Manila, Philippines; married; children: two daughters. Education: Simon Fraser University, M.A., 1998.

ADDRESSES: Home—Plymouth, MN. Agent—c/o Julie Castiglia, Castigila Literary Agency, 1155 Camino del Mar, Ste. 510, Del Mar, CA 92014. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Independent historian.

WRITINGS:

Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to a number of scholarly journals, including Royalty Digest, Atlantis: In the Courts of Memory, European Crown, Imperial Russian Journal, Habsburg Quarterly, and European Royal History Journal.

SIDELIGHTS: Julia P. Gelardi, an independent historian, specializes in European royal history from the Victorian era to the present. She is also a prolific writer, contributing essays and articles to a number of scholarly journals related to European royal history. In 2005 Gelardi published her first book, Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria. The book outlines the lives of five of Queen Victoria's granddaughters—Alexandra of Russia, Marie of Romania, Victoria Eugenie of Spain, Sophie of Greece, and Maud of Norway—who reigned across Europe during the early part of the twentieth century. The princesses' personal and political lives are detailed, as well as the women's respective roles and effects on the countries they governed. Gelardi drew much of her information from primary sources and private correspondence, and she also includes a genealogical chart.

Many critics offered positive assessments of Born to Rule, particularly appreciating Gelardi's detailed exploration of the lives of the lesser-known princesses. The book is "sometimes solemn, sometimes frisky, but always captivating," observed a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Others thought Gelardi's book fills a niche in the study of royal history. Born to Rule is "highly recommended for public, academic, and libraries specializing in European history," asserted Gail Benjafield in the Library Journal.

Gelardi told CA: "I have always had a strong affinity for books and the written word. This, coupled with a keen interest in history and researching has led me to write about historical figures, particularly European royalty from the Victorian era to the present. This interest stemmed in large part from reading numerous biographies and historical works starting in my teenage years, a habit which happily, has not abated. A particular favorite book has been Robert K. Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra, which highlights the lives of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra. Though first published nearly forty years ago, Massie's dramatic tale of imperial tragedy still resonates thanks to his impeccable writing which makes for compelling reading.

"Writing compelling books that resonate with readers is the goal of nearly every author, and it is certainly something that I strive for in my works. Writing is a demanding craft; history and biography more so as the author is constrained by actual events and sources connected to a book's protagonists. Central to honing the skill and craft of writing is reading and to that end, I try to read as many books and articles as I can, both older works and current ones.

"Being essentially a solitary craft, writing also requires self-discipline. My writing routine varies, though it mainly consists of researching and writing for hours at a stretch, mainly in the mornings and afternoons. The research involved in my works varies, depending upon the topic and sources at hand. This can range from examining personal letters, diaries, and diplomatic documents to tracking down and reading out-of-print newspapers and books, and conducting interviews. Much time is spent studying a multitude of material for hours on end, often in libraries and archives. Then comes the task of analyzing and synthesizing the material, leading to the process of writing and revising, which eventually progresses to the finished article or book. The kind of research involved in my book, Born to Rule, involved a wide variety of sources that inevitably led to my visiting several countries to access some of the material. I also owe a debt of gratitude to numerous individuals who helped me gain access to sources and who shared their own knowledge, which contributed to the stories told in the book. In Born to Rule, I hope that readers can come to appreciate a special group of individuals, most of whom are long forgotten, but whose moving lives, both on a personal and public level, are such that their stories remain timeless and compelling."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, p. 1181.

Library Journal, December 1, 2004, Gail Benjafield, review of Born to Rule, p. 135.

ONLINE

Julia P. Gelardi Home Page, http://www.juliapgelardi.com (August 13, 2005).

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