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

CD-Audio

By (author) Antonia Fraser, Read by Patricia Hodge

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Paperback $14.06
  • Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • Format: CD-Audio | 5 pages
  • Dimensions: 125mm x 142mm x 25mm | 215g
  • Publication date: 24 August 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0752875140
  • ISBN 13: 9780752875149
  • Edition: Abridged
  • Edition statement: Abridged edition
  • Sales rank: 1,140,297

Product description

The book centres around the Sun King and his relationship with numerous and fascinating women. Naturally dividing into five parts it will concentrate on the King's mother, Anne of Austria to whom he was devoted; his first important mistress, Louise de la Valliere who bore him several illegitimate children; Athenais Marquise de Montespan who acted as unofficial Queen of Versailles until her involvement in the affair of poisons and of course Marie Therese, his wife; and Madame de Maintenon, governess to the illegitimate royal children. The fifth part concentrates on his relations in old age with his daughters, granddaughters and the wife of his grandson. It will vividly bring to life the vast edifice of Louis XIV's court - the magnificence, artistic splendour, elaborate ritual and in some cases, absurdity and misery.

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Author information

Since 1969, Antonia Fraser has written many acclaimed historical works which have been international bestsellers, including Marie Antoinette, Mary Queen of Scots (James Tait Black Memorial Prize), Cromwell: Our Chief of Men, The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 (St Louis Literary Award; CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger). Antonia Fraser was made CBE in 1999, and awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2000. She is married to the playwright Harold Pinter and lives in London. Patricia Hodge trained at LAMDA, winning the Eveline Evans Award. Theatre work ranges from Benefactors, Summerfolk, and Noises Off, to As You Like It, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and His Dark Materials. Television work includes Rumpole of the Bailey and The Life and Loves of a She Devil. Film appearances include Betrayal, co-starring with Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley.

Review quote

'enthralling listening - as Pat Hodge reads (superbly!)... Fraser draws the listener into the world of splendour and intrigue, injecting fresh life into the long-dead characters who inhabited it.' -- Kati Nicholl DAILY EXPRESS 'Antonia Fraser rightly enjoys widespread respect for her historical biographies, thanks not only to the quality of her work but also to her unique and intimate approach... an expansive and vivid account of life in the court of Louis le Grand.' Books Quarterly 'This audiobook represents an ideal three-way marriage of subject, author, and reader (Patricia Hodge). Fraser deploys her knowledge with practised art and magisterial sweep... The centuries roll back in six and a half fascinating hours.' -- Betty Tadman THE SCOTSMAN '[part of a] fabulous array of spoken word material' -- Vidar Hjardeng THE BOOK MAGAZINE 'Notwithstanding some voyeuristic airing of the monogrammed linen, Fraser's version of the 17th-century French monarch's life takes seriously the political and religious context of the times to produce an enlightening study of the age that glitters with seductive descriptions of Versailles ceremony and luxury. Hodge reads with queenly grace.' -- Karen Robinson THE SUNDAY TIMES

Editorial reviews

Altogether at ease with the mores of the ancien regime, Fraser (Marie Antoinette, 2001, etc.) eschews a detailed biography of Louis XIV to focus instead on the women who shaped and were shaped by France's most glorious ruler.He was king for 72 years, time enough to build Versailles, wage numerous, mostly unsuccessful, wars and accumulate a rich history with the opposite sex. Louis's mother, Queen Anne, gave birth at 36-a then-astoundingly late stage in life for pregnancy-lending an immediate air of the miraculous to the future monarch. Anne established an unusually close relationship with her son, who never entirely erased from his mind her mixture of beauty and piety as a template of female perfection. Louis abandoned his teenage liaison with the unsuitable Marie Mancini to marry Spanish Infanta Maria Teresa. As Queen Marie-Therese, she accommodated two important mistresses, Louise de La Valliere and the Marquise de Montespan, and drew from Louis the final tribute that she gave him no trouble except by dying. After Marie-Therese, he secretly married Madame de Maintenon, whose demeanor was remarkably like that of his mother. Fraser paints each of these women in full and offers sketches of a succession of minor mistresses, one night stands, sisters-in-law (including the hilariously vulgar and bitchy wife of Louis's homosexual brother), princesses and even an exiled foreign queen, all of whom engaged the king's genuine interest. To help keep track of this large cast, the profusion of changing titles and the dizzying succession of bastards, the author provides a useful guide to the principal characters. Courtiers meticulously charted the king's amorous adventures, and Fraser excels at reproducing the hothouse atmosphere in which the monarch's raised eyebrow might portend a serious change in someone's fortune. Uncomfortably aware of the Church's opposition to his notorious love life, Louis fully indulged himself during his heyday before turning in old age to a greater concern for his salvation.An acutely sensitive group portrait of the women who basked in the Sun King's reflected glory. (Kirkus Reviews)