I've been fascinated with the decades of the Sun King's reign and the impact of his egomania on his country since I was 7 years old. Obviously, his women were a significant part of his life.
There are several things in Hilton's book that disturb me, not the least of which is her persistent effort to justify Athenais's worst personality traits as well as to either villify or ridicule her rivals. I mean, honestly, it's pushing it to depict Athenais as being "right" in abusing her friendships with the Queen and Louise de La Valliere (Louis's first mistress, who Athenais replaced) in order to "get closer" to the King and secure his "favor," only to turn around and depict Madame de Maintenon (who supplanted Athenais) as some sort of horned monstrous ingrate for "taking advantage of her benefactress to steal her love."
The reality of that era is that virtually the only person who had any real control over who he favored and slept with was Louis himself.
The speculation/conjecture about the Affairs of the Poisons, while perhaps not entirely unreasonable, still clings to the idea that Athenais was some sort of heroine ill-used and abused by the system of the times.
The book is not a total loss, but its extreme bias leaves me wondering if the author has first-hand experience of being the "other woman who got cheated on." Athenais is an intriguing figure in history, there was no need to canonize her less than admirable behavior at times. I would have had more respect for the work if there had been a little more objectivity to that point.