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Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King

Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King [Kindle Edition]

Antonia Fraser
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Description


bringing vividly to life the fairytale dazzle of the most splendid court in Western history..... lively and wholly absorbing. (Matthew Dennison THE TIMES)

Antonia Fraser long ago mastered the art of writing meticulous history so that it reads like an engrossing novel, and her latest offering is no exception. (Virginia Rounding THE SUNDAY TIMES)

an impressively researched and crafted book¿ (Munro Price THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

no one writes about historical women as well as she does. (Jennifer Selway DAILY EXPRESS)

a wonderfully rounded portrait of the philandering king.... Fraser has evoked a world by exercising the gifts that make her one of the most brilliant biographers of our time: her scholarship and her great humanity. Precise details bring the past to life. (Ruth Scurr THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

All the scandal and brilliance and bling of Louis and his ladies is shown in context - social, dynastic, political, religious - but depicted so deftly and vividly that you're there... This is an intriguing insight into the shifting roles of aristocratic women in 17th-century France. (Ian Ramsey TATLER)

entralling new biography...... her prose veers between the authoritative and the racey and makes excellent use of contemporary sources, creating the most enjoyable domestic biography of Louis since Nancy Mitford's The Sun King, 40 years ago. (Michael Arditti THE DAILY MAIL)

As she demonstrated in previous biographies of Charles II and Marie Antoniette, for esoteric detail, for marrying moments of grace and wit, no other historian is Fraser's equal. (Tome Dewe Matthews THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Written with a rare combination of sympathy, erudition and high literary accomplishment, this book is a delight. It leaves no doubt as to why Antonia Fraser who, in another age, might well have been a star of Louis's court, is, instead, the reigning doyenne of British historians. (John Adamson THE MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Fraser's narrative is balanced, wise and entertaining. This is clearly the book she was born to write. (Jonathan Keates LITERARY REVIEW)

Painstakingly researched and dazzling in its details, this is a definitive portrait of a king, his women and their extraordinary times. (SAINSBURYS MAGAZINE)

Her delightful book supports the contemporary observation that 'court life provides the funniest scenes imaginable', but the scintillating narrative is underpinned by a serious theme, arising from the conflict between the king's sex drive and his search for salvation. (Anne Somerset THE NEW STATESMAN)

this lively and compelling book..... The result is a balanced, insightful and plausible exploration of the Sun King and his women. (Nigel Aston THE TABLET)

with warmth, humour and not a little gossipy relish, she draws us intimately into the psyche and mores of many ladies who moved, motivated and occasionially mastered the alpha male. (Lucy Kilfoyle THE TRIBUNE)

the result is a balance, insightful and plausible exploration of the Sun King and his women. (Nigel Aston THE TABLET)

In LOVE AND LOUIS XIV, Antonia Fraser's expertise on women in history shines through, bringing a sympathetic warmth to her depiction of the Sun King's many love affairs, his vast sexual appetite and the sheer variety of female personalities in his intimate circle.' (Siofra Pierse IRISH TIMES)


an impressively researched and crafted book'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3472 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (18 Sep 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002U3CB6Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,693 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Louis' Loves make an excellent read 21 Aug 2009
I found this book to be absolutely rivetting. Antonia Fraser explores in detail the character and influences on Louis XIV and the dicotomy he faced between his religion and his affairs. The pressures from the church, his mother and wife and his mistresses are all explored at great length. She also gives a rounded picture of the three principal mistresses characters and what drove them, in their turn, into their respective affairs with Louis XIV together with their own struggles, or lack thereof, with reconciling their affairs with their religion. It is a gripping read and not a dry historical biography. The last section of Louis XIV became a little complicated with all the granddaughters, grandsons, distant relatives and their respective spouses. The sumptuousness of life at court really comes across in this book but it is a sympathetic and balanced study.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Antonia Fraser is one of the best writers of (popular) history and this book just proves why.

So many books have been written about Louis XIV and it seems nearly impossible to shed a new light on this most famous of all French kings. So it was a very pleasant surprise that Antonia Fraser did this.

She follows the relationships of the Louis XIV with females from birth to death: from the long-for heir to the French throne, boy king at the age of 4 years and 8 months, through the period when the Sun King dominated Europe to the period when France and his king were nearly going down under and the reign ended on a sad notion. Each period had a distinct female symbolizing that very period: Anne of Austria, the King's mother and regent, Maria Theresia, his Queen, Madame de La Valliere and Madame de Montespan, his most famous mistresses and la Marquise de Maintenon, his morganatique wife. Of course, there are more like la Princesse Palatine, the Duchess of Burgundy or the first Duchess of Orleans. It seems that the Sun King did a full circle - Anne of Austria and Madame la Marquise had much in common and might be described as the same kind of personality. It is very much appreciated that Antonia Fraser restores Louis XIV's Queen Consort to her rightful place. The Queen is often neglected as the king did and she was properly the most remote person in terms of personal affection, but her role was vital for his gloire. The Infanta of Spain was the most valuable princess and none other would have done for the King and she was the mother of the rightful heirs to the throne.

Antonia Fraser commands the rare gift of writing in an entertaining manner without becoming shallow or superficial. All in all a book one can only recommend. I enjoyed it immensely.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely entertaining 30 Mar 2007
I love Antonia Fraser's writing. This book was absorbing from start to finish, I'm rather sorry to have read it so fast! It gives the reader an idea of a woman's life - and the choices open to her - in the 17th century. Whilst the main theme was Louis XIV and the women in his life, Ms Fraser also gave us relevant snapshots of the lives of other monarchs in Europe - not least on the English throne. It was entertaining to read of the way the later generations of women pushed the boundaries of court etiquette, although only as far as Louis XIV was prepared to indulge! Overall, I would really recommend this book and I know I shall be able to read it more than once.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Fraser! 14 Jan 2007
By Liam
This book, a study of King Louis XIV of France and the women in his life, including his mother, Anne of Austria, his wife Marie-Therese of Spain, his two sisters-in-law, Henriette-Anne of England and Liselotte of the Palatinate, his granddaughter-in-law Adelaide of Savoy, and of course his mistresses, Louise de La Valliere, Francoise-Athenais de Montpesan, Angelique de Fontagues and Francoise d'Aubigne, Madame de Maintenon. Then there's the mistress who never was, Marie Mancini.

As ever, Fraser tells a wonderful story - this is history at it's best. One of her best skills as an author, in my opinion, is the way she treats her characters as human beings; she is sympathetic to Louis being biased. She doesn't overlook his faults, but she isn't pessimistic about him. The characters come alive spectacularly, even though it's a non-fiction book - by the end, we feel as though we know Louis, Liselotte, Adelaide and the others. The Sun King has always been a compelling characters - I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to find out more not only about him, but about the women in his life!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the cover 2 July 2007
By MarkE
This is not a biography of Louis XIV; it is rather a study of his relationships with the women in his life and it includes biographies of those women. Fraser does not confine herself to his Queen (Marie-Therese of Austria) and the royal mistresses, but investigates Louis' relationship with his mother and, at the other end of his life, his platonic relationships with various favourites. The queen and mistresses do however play a large part in the book, as they played a large part in Louis' life.

It is refereshing to note the attempt to understand the importance of Louis' Catholicism and how this coloured his relationships, especially with la Maintenant but also with Louise de la Valliere and, indeed, with Marie-Therese.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Such hard work
I am sure this is a brilliant book, superbly written and researched, and I am genuinely interested in the subject. But try as I might for weeks, it just was not happening for me.
Published 4 months ago by alliemac
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Tale
Fascinating - I wish I had read this before I went to Versailles - very detailed - the lives of the Kings ladies gripping - and he himself a good man!
Published 11 months ago by Enid Irving
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely perfect!
It is a totally new book. No signs of use at all. Thank you for the opportunity of buying new books at such prices!
Published 11 months ago by Giovanna Locatelli
3.0 out of 5 stars CD good condition
Contents a bit boring, so many women, so many children. Well researched and well written as usual by Antonia Fraser and interesting to hear the way the French court existed.
Published 14 months ago by Amazon shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for lovers of history.
Well researched, it brings to life the times and life of LouisXIV. Antonia Fraser describes life in the French Court with great sensitivity. Well worth reading.
Published 17 months ago by annamarie
4.0 out of 5 stars An even handed work of depth
I thoroughly enjoyed this look at the life and loves of Louis XIV. It manages to engage the reader with the life of the Sun King, imparting a depth of knowledge without getting the... Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2012 by Charlie&Molly
1.0 out of 5 stars Excruciating English!
Whatever the merits of this book academically and in terms of research, it is absolutely dreadful to read. Read more
Published on 6 Mar 2011 by Giles Penfold
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative insight to a complicated man
This is the first Antonia Fraser book I have read and I am thoroughly impressed. She has a very readable style and manages to get a lot of information in without sounding dry as... Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2010 by Racheljrm
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Louis X1V - the women in the life of the Sun King
As an avid fan of all Antonia Fraser's books, this one is up to her usual excellent standard. The characters are all so brilliantly portrayed and as usual, I found it hard to put... Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2009 by Mrs. M. Key
4.0 out of 5 stars The court of the Sun King
Fraser's account of the Sun King's personal life is an immensely enjoyable read. Not only does the author breathe life into her cast of kings, queens, duchesses, mistresses,... Read more
Published on 13 Dec 2007 by J. Neal
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