Love and Louis XIV

  • by Antonia Fraser
  • Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
  • 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

"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


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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- Louise

Loved it!

This was my second audiobook, and I loved it and could hardly put down my iPod. This book helped me walk and walk for miles. I am a fan of French and English history and royalty, and the narrator brought this period to life with her sophisticated language skills. Her pronunciation of the French words was fascinating, although I am definitely not an expert. Antonia Fraser is a fine writer, too, and I enjoy all her books for their well-researched details.

Highly recommended, if you enjoy this time in history and are interested in the psychology of relationships.
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- Pamela

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-12-2006
  • Publisher: Books on Tape