- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Madame de Maintenon: The Secret Wife of King Louis XIV Paperback – 4 May 2009
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'Riveting and beautifully written' Daily Telegraph 'Buckley has written an admirably balanced life with a wealth of biographical detail and great sympathy for her subject' Economist 'Compelling ... Veronica Buckley writes extremely well, and her narrative never fails to grip ... Madame de Maintenon is convincing and ultimately moving, a perceptive appreciation of a remarkable woman' Sunday Telegraph 'A colourful tale' Financial Times
Francoise d'Aubigne, born in a bleak provincial prison, her father a condemned murderer and traitor to the state, rose from the depths of poverty to life at the vortex of power at Versailles. Married at fifteen to a tragically disfigured and scandalously popular poet, in his salon Francoise encountered all the brilliant characters of the seventeenth century's glitterati. After her husband's death, she led the life of a merry widow in the colourful Marais quarter of Paris, before becoming governess to the King's growing brood of royal batards.This is the extraordinary story of one woman's daring journey from beggar-girl, West Indian colonist and salonniere to royal mistress and thence, in secret, to the compromised position of Louis' uncrowned Queen. Through the rags-to-riches tale of the marquise de Maintenon, Veronica Buckley reveals every layer of the vibrant and shocking world that was France in the age of Louis XIV.See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Veronica Buckley has done this fascinatingly complex character justice in a very readable biography.
So Madame de Maintenon was worth a visit by the all powerful Russian Tsar and her life is worthwhile reading about. She was one of the luminous female stars of the 17th century. A woman who made it to the very top of the society by becoming the secret wife of the most famous of all French Kings, Louis XIV. How did she do that? She was a woman much loved and much hated. The King's sister-in-law, The Princess Palatine and Duchess of Orléans, used very strong language to describe her which would have properly get a TV-warning nowadays. How did she become a person of such controversy? She is mostly remembered as a very Catholic woman and her institute for the education of the daughters of noble houses of broken fortunes, the famous St. Cyr.
Author Veronica Buckley was born in New Zealand, studied in London and Oxford and now lives in Paris. So it is logic taht she takes up a French topic. After her first and well received book on Queen Christina of Sweden this is her second book. And it started of badly after it emerged that one of the main sources for the book was a non-existent secret diaries of the Sun King found in 1997 in a house in the Loire Valley.Yet she was apparently unaware that this 'diary' was in fact the work of a French academic called Francois Bluche, who reconstructed the book from various other historical sources. Buckley issued an apology on April 19, reported The Guardian, saying: "Le Journal secret de Louis XIV was not in fact written by Louis himself, but was instead reconstructed from historical sources by historian François Bluche, a specialist in the reign of Louis XIV. In my bibliography the journal is listed as a primary source, with Bluche the author." Does that undermine the author's new biography?
Veronica Buckley describes the extraordinary life of Madame de Maintenon in a quite balanced way, follows the ups and downs and twists and turns her lives takes. Here a woman of strength and determination, but as well of charm, poise and cultivation, clever and sophisticated emerges and not merely a nun-like woman whose whole life is spent in prayer. It becomes clear that character is what matters with her, but she is by far not an ugly or un-elegant woman. The attraction the King finds with her are less surprising. The power she had was immense, even if she had to pay a price for it and was shy to admit it. She encouraged an atmosphere of dignity and piety at court contrasting deeply with the frivolous court before and after. But this could have been quite oppressive. Of course her background was held against her: a mere commoner raised to be a marquise was not suppose to hold such power and the love of the King.
Veronica Buckley writes with her usual and very readable style. She writes with sympathy about Madame la Marquise, maybe sometimes too sympathetic. Her life is a bit too strongly written from the end. It seems as if becoming the King's wife was inevitable. That is by far not the case. Her knowledge about the time is wide, but a bit feeling is missing. Still it is a lively account and enjoyable to read. The hiccup about the source is properly bad from an academic point of view, but for non-academics is matters hardly as Veronica Buckley leaves the reader with a clear picture how she judges Madame de Mainetenon and that is what matters to me.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?