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

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  3,386 ratings  ·  148 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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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
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
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
"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
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
Claire M.
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
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
Feb 28, 2008 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
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
C.S. Burrough
Apr 09, 2014 C.S. Burrough rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
So this was just a bundle of happiness and sunshine. For some reason, I thought this would be a tawdry recounting of all of Louis XIV's mistresses and all of their terribly naughty behaviors. This was more like the story of his immediate (and tragic) family. I also didn't expect it to go the end of his life and somehow manage to be possibly the most depressing thing I've read in quite some time.

I did like the amount of detail included, and I did learn quite a bit about a king that I wasn't so fa
I feel a little late to the party, but I’m gonna go ahead anyway and say I genuinely enjoyed this book. My sister bought it me as a Christmas present this year, it being the only Antonia Fraser that isn’t on my bookshelf, and I was thrilled (yes, I’m very easily pleased). Having been to the Palace of Versailles many a time it’s refreshing to learn about the other, lesser-known women who stalked the corridors, rather than the more well-known, frequently-told story of Marie Antoinette. I found the ...more
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
Louis XIV loved a lot of women in his lifetime!
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
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
This is a charmingly written book which discusses the influence of women on Louis XIV
and dispels many myths about the King who gave us the grand palace of Versailles.

The Church had to engage in a fight for Louis's soul against his liking for mistresses, according to Fraser. Louis was caught between dominating Bishops who gave damning sermons against him, his own rather pious nature, and beautiful women like Athenais. Athenais, a luscious blonde, was his mistress for many years.

In the end, the r
I have always been fascinated by this monarch. When I was a teenager, I was hooked on a romantic series called "Angelique" by Sergeanne Golon, which took place during the time of Louis XIV. Many of the characters in the book, including all Louis' mistresses and wives, were real personages. It's great to re-encounter them in a true historical narrative.

This book is full of information about how people lived in Louis XIV's court, and what women had to go through to survive. For example, his mistre
Cecilee Linke
Aug 15, 2012 Cecilee Linke rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Sarah Finch
Antonia Fraser is one of my favorite authors, and this book perfectly encapsulates why. Her prose is lucid, witty, and informative; it can strike that tricky balance between conveying the overarching story alongside the entertaining minutiae that lend historical portraits their depth. In this case, the portrait is manifold. Ostensibly a biography of Louis XIV as told through the prism of the women in his life -- his mother, his wife, his mistresses, his grandson's wife -- it is also a portrait o ...more
S. Shelton
I’ve read four of Fraser's other books: The Lord Protector, The Gunpowder Plot, Mary Queen of Scots, and King Charles II. I thoroughly enjoyed these four books and found them to be entertaining, educational, and exceptionally well written—they engender deep empathy in the reader. Of course, the reader must have a bent for this type of narrative.

Unfortunately, Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun fails on all three accounts. It’s tedious. It’s a befuddle conglomeration of names, t
Phyllis Laatsch
Really fascinating. It's impossible to really understand just how such a great (not saying he was right about much, just that he was hugely important) man thought, but taking it from the perspective of his relationships with women makes him more human. It's about his pious (hypocritically?) mother, his first sex (mentioned briefly), his first, probably chaste love, and his complicated relationship with his wife, a succession of official and unofficial mistresses, and his illegitimate children.

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.
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
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
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
I am a sucker for history and historical fiction. Antonia Fraser is a wonderful writer -- I highly recommend ANYTHING she has written. This book read like an amazing story, though it's not a historical fiction work. This is one of the best non-fiction pieces I have ever read and I can't wait to get my hands on another one of her books. With all of his excentricities, I found myself a fan of King Louis in the end. For the time period in which he lived, for what he was taught and believed, he was ...more
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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
More about Antonia Fraser...
Marie Antoinette: The Journey The Wives of Henry VIII Mary Queen of Scots The Warrior Queens The Weaker Vessel

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