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Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King Paperback – November 6, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Excellent...a pleasure to read throughout.” —The Wall Street Journal“Highly readable....with vivid wit, Fraser demonstrates that within the edifice of the monarchy there were deep crannies of ordinary affection.” —The New Yorker“Entertaining and instructive....we must still be grateful to Antonia Fraser for devising so excellent a companion with which to lie back and think of France.” —The New York Times“Engaging...the sumptuously illustrated Love and Louis XIV focuses on the diverse array of women who ‘lit up the court of the Sun King.’” —The Washington Post

About the Author

Antonia Fraser is the author of numerous novels and historical works including Marie Antoinette, The Wives of Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, and Faith and Treason. She is also famous for her Jemima Shore series of mysteries. She and her husband, Harold Pinter, live in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400033748
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400033744
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 3.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I find Antonia Fraser's look at the mistresses and wives of Louis XIV most fascinating and interesting. However I am put off by the sloppiness of proof-reading in the Kindle edition. The most egregious example is the confusion in "Duc" and "due." Someone irresponsibly seems to have used the spell check to mindlessly replace all "due to" to "Duc to." There must be well over 50 times that this happens in the text. Why can't Antonia Fraser or her literary agent provide a corrected version to Amazon for sale?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a compelling narrative style. It is geared towards the casual reader who enjoys stories about people. While it is non-fiction, it felt much more like a novel, as it dealt primarily with characterization. While the book does occasionally mention wars or economic issues, these are merely backdrops for the characters. I think the book succeeds at its mission, as a very readable biography. However, I would have preferred more of a meaty, academic style. I was left a bit with "yes, and", at the end, as there was no overarching point the author was making, but merely retelling lives. Therefore, I would highly recommend this book to people who enjoy biographies, particularly those who enjoy love stories (although this book covers far more than love stories). For those who want something with more breadth and depth, I would skip it.
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Great look into the lives of the French Monarchy before it went belly-up. Even though they seemed unaware of the problems affecting the country, Louis was very much a family man, extending way beyond his Queen and their children.
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As a lover of history I very much enjoyed this well crafted book. So few realize this period of insanity existed during the magnificence of Louis XIV reign and how many among the nobility were involved. I learned a lot.
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I found Antonia Fraser’s book insightful, well-written, and witty. Although by no means a comprehensive study, it does provide an excellent introduction to the women and loves of Louis XIV’s life. I admit, I smirked and laughed on more than one occasion as Fraser described the hypocrisy of court life, the biting and sarcastic insights of the Duchesse d’Orleans (Liselotte), and the antics and schemes of the Marquise de Montespan as she attempted to snare and keep Louis XIV. I also enjoyed reading about Adelaide of Savoy (there seems to be very little written about her in general) and Louis XIV’s devotion to her in his twilight years. Overall, the book adds to the history of Louis XIV and shows the importance of the women in his life.
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Lady Fraser is a meticulous biographer who is able to take heavily researched material and make it both accessible and interesting. In Louis XIV-and his women-she's found a topic that could easily support one volume per lady, in some cases, two. Her interest in the topic makes reading what shes written that much more interesting. The detail is not only about the King and his women but of a time and place that only existed once, it was the height of Versailles which Louis had built to stay away from the mob in Paris. If you've ever wondered about the expression, "The Woman Behind The Man", this book will leave you with no doubts as to the exact meaning of that phrase. Lady Fraser presents book that will be an informal text for many, many years and is to be enjoyed as much as studied. These were randy times at court and the author was, apparently either under the bed or knew people who were. Few biographers have had such a rich selection of characters from which to chose but she has chosen wisely and with great intelligence and wit.
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Format: Paperback
Reviewed By Michele E. Davis

You know how Louis XIV's life ended, but in order to understand it, you have to go back to the beginning.

Antonia Fraser, a rolific historical writer, paints a gorgeous portrait of Louis XIV, the Dauphin. He was the first male child borne to Anne of Austria, and his love of women continued throughout his life. Timelines, bloodlines and everything you ever wanted to know about Louis XIV is written in an engaging, witty style, drawing from numerous texts that are highly footnoted. This is a comprehensive study of 17th Century France and the torn dichotomy of Louis's soul: he feared God, wanted to provide for the French people, yet had an astounding sexual appetite.

He gave up his first true love, Marie Mancini, to marry his cousin Maria Teresa, the Spanish princess. He flirted mercilessly at Court with his sister-in-law, Henriette-Anne, who was England's Charles II's sister. But Charles and Henriette had a plan for Louis to become involved with a different woman. Falling for it, Louis found himself with Louise de La Vallière, who still preserved her maiden head. Ever restless with his respective bed partners, Louis proceeded to have sexual relations with the Marquise de Montespan but eventually gave her up to be involved with his own granddaughter-in-law, Adélaïde.

While women of the day were not allowed to rule as they could in England or Spain, "Under a king, a country is really ruled by women," states Adélaïde prior to her death from measles. Reign these women did, while whispering sweet nothings of a political bent in the bedchambers of the promiscuous Louis XIV.

An excellent book about Louis XIV, a must-read for anyone fascinated with history, as well as French politics.

Armchair Interviews says: Well-written and fascinating with a touch of wit and well-referenced quotes.
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