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

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  4,618 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
Mistresses and wives, mothers and daughters - Antonia Fraser brilliantly explores the relationships which existed between The Sun King and the women in his life. This includes not only Louis XIV's mistresses, principally Louise de La Vallière, Athénaïs de Montespan, and the puritanical Madame de Maintenon, but also the wider story of his relationships with women in general ...more
Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Published (first published 2006)
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Feb 28, 2008 Tatiana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: claudia
so, definitely not a book i would have picked up on my own. but my roommate was right when she said it was oddly fascinating. basically an in depth look at the french court of louis XIV, concentrating on the women, it's almost like reading us weekly in the 17th century. you get all the affairs and scandals, plus the gossip of the times, who's talking shit about whom, etc. and frasier does an amazing job of keeping every straight and easily accessible. the dramatis personae in the beginning threw ...more
Apr 27, 2008 Maren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book alot, though it definitely wanes a bit after the first 1/2 or so. It's basically a straight forward biography of exactly what the title describes: The loves of The Sun King, Louis XIV. Antonia Fraser is definitely informed about her subject and her writing is far more accessible than that of most other historians/biographers; on the flipside, at times it felt too simplistic to remain interesting. She gives some really interesting information about the women in the sun ...more
Aug 27, 2008 SlushTurtle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy, enjoyable read, as I find most of Fraser's works. I didn't know much about the Sun King, so it was most educational.
Lady Antonia Fraser is an accomplished historian; her Tudor books have enthralled me for years. I chose her to introduce me to the French court--sadly, a disappointment. This book is focused on King Louis XIV and the women he loved in his life.
It begins well, with a focus on Louis XIV's mother and regent Anne of Austria. Anne was a pious and effective ruler, and she left her son with a profound belief in the Catholic Church. Partly through her influence, Louis abandoned his love affair with Mar
Mark Gaulding
I just finished this book. I am fairly well-read on this Louis' maitresse-en-titres, but I found this book to be a bit messy, although it is a good book some ways and one I would recommend. The author establishes a remarkable portrayal of the the king's relationship with his mother and manages to draw parallels and connections from that maternal relationship that throughout Louis' other relationships that are covered in the book. At some point, though, the author seems to have decided to cover a ...more
Claire M.
Mar 27, 2009 Claire M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Antonia Fraser rarely disappoints and this book is no exception. This is a nice compliment to the letters of Madame Sevigne, because until now I really could not understand quite the "fervor" of Madame' S's letters to her daughter regarding the rising stars and the fading has beens that were gracing or exiting Louis XIV's bed. All is now explained. And yes, we are absolutely indulging in some self-admitted wish fulfillment here, because in the end it is the bookworm, the studious one, the intell ...more
Dec 20, 2011 gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, audiobook
Not the best book to listen to. You need a seriously well drawn out family chart to keep track of all the names. I bet the physical book has one. I often had no freaking idea who they were talking about because I was listening and you can't pause, turn to page with a family chart, trace down to who it is, and then flip back to keep reading...

No, you have to just trudge through listening and hoping the author throws you a clue to help remember who the bloody hell they are all talking about now.
A detailed look at the reign of Louis XIV and the various women in his life. The list begins with his mother, Anne of Austria, who acted as regent when Louis assumed the throne at age four; and then ends with his last mistress, Madame de Maintenon. In between we get details of his first love, a couple other maitresses-en-titres, his wife, daughters, and in-laws. My favorite of the bunch was Mary Beatrice d'Este, who was the wife of the exiled King James II. When the king had to leave his country ...more
Feb 28, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Antonia Fraser briefly profiles dozens and dozens of those women who however briefly captured the attention of Louis XIV. And there are A LOT of ladies. Which makes keeping all the of these ladies straight difficult, and the material would be better suited by several charts to establish the hierarchy and family tree of the French Court for reference. The print edition may have included such resources, but the audio book did not. Had Fraser focused her scope somewhat that may have not been necess ...more
Jun 08, 2011 linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Reading Antonia Fraser writing on the women that spangled Louis XIV's court makes you incredibly grateful for her scholarship and fluid prose, especially if you've read a locus of writing on the subject. Fraser's survey of Louis the XIV's female influences is fascinatingly comprehensive, interestingly salacious, and curiously journalistic. Most historians tend to take a point of view and set up camp there, and not many have the conviction or steady hand for their thesis to be, "it's complicated. ...more
Cecilee Linke
Aug 15, 2012 Cecilee Linke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to know more about French history
I got this book as a Christmas present a few years ago. I'm utterly obsessed with French history and I became interested in Louis XIV and the later kings and queens of France after visiting Versailles while I was in France for three months in early 2006. I only had a vague recollection of who Louis XIV was before reading this book. In history class in school, we learned his famous quote "après moi le déluge" (After me comes the flood), and that he was called "The Sun King." But that was about it ...more
This was my first foray into biographies about the members of the French monarchy. I've long been a fan of Marie Antoinette, but it wasn't until I was searching for other books on different monarchy, that I chose to buy this one.

I want to start off by saying that before reading this book I didn't know a lot about Louis XIV. I was more familiar with Louis XVI and his wife, of course, but even then I didn't know as much as I should have.

The book starts off with Louis's miraculous birth. Anne of A
Dec 14, 2011 lia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Maybe because i expect something more from this book, i finished it with disappointment.

The Sun King's life is so grande and amazing but Antonia Fraser manage to make it tame and dull.
I remember reading page after page and wanting it to end. I just keep reading because i promise myself that i would finish it.

She divide the book into chapters of Louis XIV's life, that is Summer, Spring, Autumn and Winter. And in every chapter, the woman who influenced him the most. Starting with his mother Anne
Dec 21, 2011 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Louis XIV loved a lot of women in his lifetime!
Mar 01, 2013 Kam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
When one gets sick, it's always assumed that it's the perfect time to thin one's personal to-read pile. In some ways it is: after all, it's not as if one can get up and go to work, or have life in general cut into one's reading time when one is supposed to be lying down and recovering. Unfortunately, not all illnesses prove conducive to reading. It may be easy to read a book when one is sick with a cold, but when one is doubled-over with gastroenteritis, then it's a bit more difficult to muster ...more
Oct 09, 2012 Denis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Antonia Fraser is a wonderful biographer – her book on Marie Antoinette remains one of the great achievements of the genre. She cleverly has chosen to write about the most famous of all French kings through the angle of the women in his life – his mother, his wife, his mistresses, his friends, his daughters, which make for quite a stunning gallery of powerful female characters. The result is fascinating. It brings back to life an entire era, and it manages to show us the man behind the image in ...more
Dec 30, 2012 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Love" as presumed by casual browsers of the title, and "Love" as meant by the author may differ. The book covers his friendships, flirtations, infatuations, in-law relations, marriage and (perhaps) pseudo marriage and his views of the female obligation to sacrifice for international diplomacy. By the standards of his cousin, Charles II of England, Louis XIV was the much more responsible adulterer.

Fraser demonstrates how Louis' early bond with a loving mother- an exception for a time characteriz
Antonia Fraser analizza in queste pagine la figura di Luigi XIV come figlio, padre, marito ma soprattutto amante, sullo sfondo di una corte al massimo del suo offre il ritratto di un uomo fortemente dominato dalla personalità materna, dedita ai piaceri della vita e al tempo stesso profondamente devota. Ma mentre Anna trascorse la propria esistenza in linea con i dettami della Chiesa cattolica, Luigi decise di assecondare soprattutto la prima inclinazione.
Nel corso di tutto il lib
Sep 25, 2013 Warwick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, france

Busty young princess Marie-Adélaïde set tongues and codpieces wagging today as she made her first appearance in court looking dressed to kill in a daring figure-hugging gown. The saucy Savoyarde (34-20-34, after corset) was presented to future hubby the Dauphin – but onlookers said her Alpine attributes also had the King giving her the royal once-over. Official courtiers were unavailable for comment, but sources close to Versailles told us: ‘She may only be 11, but that's hardly likely to stop L
Reading this book immediately following Fraser's "Wives of Henry VIII" book provided a perfect contrast between the two kings. There is no doubt that it was much preferable to be a lover of Louis XIV than one of Henry VIII - and in general, I would say Fraser paints Louis in a much more positive light. Louis the XIV acted with respect to the women in his life with gallantry, pageantry, and grace; we all know Henry VIII for the most part did not. If Louis XIV had not fathered so many children (an ...more
C.S. Burrough
Apr 09, 2014 C.S. Burrough rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to C.S. by: Antonia Fraser fans
While Antonia Fraser is perhaps my all time favourite biographer, certain of her subjects have not interested me greatly. This, in my opinion, is one of her best for its sheer literary quality.

I could happily soak up Lady Fraser's eloquence on any old thing. So, this not being my favourite or most familiar royal court or period, I relished the opportunity to read her elaboration on it, to gain insight into an epoch I have previously found drier and more awkward to penetrate than others.

I pride m
Um livro interessante que nos permite entrever a personalidade de Luís XIV e a influência que as mulheres que o rodeavam tiveram na sua vida. Sendo o retrato de uma época em que as mulheres eram meros objectos de prazer ou moedas de troca entre nações, vislumbramos ainda assim assinaláveis indícios da férrea vontade e determinação de algumas destas mulheres em contrariar o inevitável destino a que estavam votadas... Exemplo disso mesmo é a "mulher secreta" do Rei-Sol, Madame de Maintenon, que se ...more
Connie N.
It took me a whole month, but I finally finished this audio book! It's wasn't bad, it's just that I've been busy and usually only listen in the car. With vacations, there just wasn't enough listening time. And it was non-fiction, not my usual thing. All that being said, the book was quite good, and told very well by Rosalind Landor. Her French pronunciations sounded beautiful, and her reading is very clear and easily understood. We learn about Louis XIV who apparently was a very long-lived, just ...more
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
Did you know that Louis the XIV used to be given an enema on a regular basis? Or that no matter one's suffering, they we're bled from their arms or their legs? Now that is some horror stuff right there. I can only appreciate the age I'm living in, with all its advances in medicine.

This book is more than just a look at the women in the Sun King's life. It contains references to his military expeditions and the life quality of the common folk.

I find Louis a very self-centered man (he had been rai
Laura LVD
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It was certainly a gripping read from the first page, I'm not going to deny this. In fact, there were many things I liked very much, but in the end they couldn't outweigh 3 particular reasons why I chopped off 2 stars (I even considered chopping off 3, then I took pity for reasons stated just below).

I will briefly mention what I liked and dwell more on what I didn't like. I guess I'll play the part of the nasty critic, since my disappointment is very palpable.
One especially charming thing I real
Jessica Bamber
The history is interesting the telling of the story took a while to get interesting.

The history related this book is interesting. However the telling of the story took a while before I can actually become interested in it.
I feel like Antonia Fraser has an easier time with English royalty versus French here. I was very lost amongst the sea of names I've never heard of. It was interesting but the cast of characters probably should have been cut in half to fully flesh out important women, instead of touching on every single one. Especially since they kept reusing the same names over and over.
Quinn Shipton
I absolutely adored this book! Such an incredible life (felt like a soap opera at times) so beautifully written. If you have any interest in French history at all, this is a fantastic book to indulge that interest.
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Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed historical works, including the biographies Mary, Queen of Scots (a 40th anniversary edition was published in May 2009), Cromwell: Our Chief of Men, King Charles II and The Gunpowder Plot (CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger; St Louis Literary Award). She has written five highly praised books which focus on women in history, The Weaker Vessel: Women's ...more
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