• Love and Louis XIV

  • The Women in the Life of the Sun King
  • By: Antonia Fraser
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-12-06
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Books on Tape
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.9 (191 ratings)

Regular price: $35.93

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Publisher's Summary

The superb historian and biographer Antonia Fraser, author of Marie Antoinette, casts new light on the splendor and the scandals of the reign of Louis XIV in this dramatic, illuminating look at the women in his life. The self-proclaimed Sun King, Louis XIV, ruled over the most glorious and extravagant court in 17th-century Europe. Now, Antonia Fraser goes behind the well-known tales of Louis' accomplishments and follies, exploring in riveting detail his intimate relationships with women.
The king's mother, Anne of Austria, had been in a childless marriage for 22 years before she gave birth to Louis XIV. A devout Catholic, she instilled in her son a strong sense of piety and fought successfully for his right to absolute power. In 1660, Louis married his first cousin, Marie-Thérèse, in a political arrangement. While unfailingly kind to the official Queen of Versailles, Louis sought others to satisfy his romantic and sexual desires. After a flirtation with his sister-in-law, his first important mistress was Louise de La Vallière, who bore him several children before being replaced by the tempestuous and brilliant Athénaïs, the Marquise de Montespan. Later, when Athénaïs' reputation was tarnished, the king continued to support her publicly as Athénaïs left court for a life of repentance. Meanwhile, her children's governess, the intelligent and seemingly puritanical Françoise de Maintenon, had already won the King's affections. In a relationship in complete contrast to his physical obsession with Athénaïs, Louis XIV lived happily with Madame de Maintenon for the rest of his life, very probably marrying her in secret. In the end, when his grandson's child bride, the enchanting Adelaide of Savoy, came to Versailles, she lightened the King's last years, until tragedy struck.
©2006 Antonia Fraser (P)2006 Books on Tape
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Critic Reviews

"One of the most enveloping popular histories of the current publishing season." (Booklist)
"Prolific royal biographer Fraser...has assiduously researched her measured yet engrossing study." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Louise on 04-27-08


I was really surprised to find that Louis was a great husband and a very decent human being. I became fascinated by other characters in the book such as his young granddaughter-in-law. This is a wonderful book for people who appreciate excellent research and strong characters who really lived. Just loved it!

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Lulu on 04-29-13

Engrossing Biography of an Engrossing Man

This book does a very good job of capturing life at the court of the Sun King. It not only focuses on the brilliance of the court and the king but also his disappointments, his failures and his losses. And he lost a great deal, especially in his later years.

An incredibly important historical figure, the Sun King was so much larger than life it would be easy to create a caricature of him. Ms. Fraser avoids the easy road and makes us realize that someone, who in his time was revered and reviled on the same level as God and the Devil, was also a human and his life was shaped by very human tragedies.

Sometimes the authors biographies read almost like fiction. She can glamorize and idolize a person to the point that you know it cannot be accurate. She doesn't do that in this book. Perhaps because it would be hard to conceive of Louis being portrayed as more glamorous and more idolized than he actually was in real life.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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