Madame de Pompadour: A Life
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Madame de Pompadour: A Life

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  232 ratings  ·  15 reviews
A sumptuous new biography of one of the most famous dangerous liaisons
When Jeanne Antoinette Poisson was a child, a fortune-teller predicted that she would one day be the mistress of a king. Born into the financial bourgeoisie that was a world apart from the royal court, the beautiful Jeanne Antoinette nonetheless fulfilled this prophecy by becoming Madame de Pompadour, t...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2000)
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Madame de Pompadour was born a middle class woman. She used her beauty and gutts to become Louis XV's mistress while herself, although a mistress, had risen to become one of the legendary women in 18 century France. Although she became powerful and had the love of Louis XV, she respected his Queen and the royal family, and she respected everyone else at court, it trully shows that being a human, you have to be nice and respect the people around you, for you never know who is going to rise above...more
Madame de Pompadour was always just off to the side when reading about the French court -- I was familiar with the name, but I couldn't tell you a damn thing about the person.

And while I know the woman better now, there's still not much that comes to mind when I think of her.

Part of the problem is who she was and where she was -- it's kind of difficult to write personally about anything having to do with Versailles due to how masked people were.

And then there's the problem of just how many peopl...more
Mary Ellen
A great deal of interesting historical detail, but this book reads more like a laundry list of facts than a true narrative. The author lists everything that happened in the life of Madame de Pompadour but analyzes none of it. Some people might find this refreshing, since there is no bending of facts to fit the pet theory of the writer, but it can also leave the reader without any clear entry point into or way to engage with the book. Additionally, it would have been nice to have more of the prim...more
Nicki Markus
Madame de Pompadour has long been one of the historical figures that most interest me so I was looking forward to reading this biography of her life.

Overall, I found it to be an entertaining read. I had known of her many talents and her support of the arts, but I had not realised until reading this book how disliked she was. I'd anticipated she would have had her detractors at court, but I was intrigued to learn how much the public hated her too.

A couple of the later chapters regarding the wars...more
I read this book because I knew the name Madame de Pompadour, but knew absolutely nothing about the woman herself. Having now read the book I find myself au fait with the details of her life, but finding the character of the woman quite elusive.

This may be more a indicator of how scheming she was and how she wore a mask to protect her position rather than a quality of the prose, although a debate could be had as to how you could truly understand and build up a true psychological profile of someo...more
Sarah Compton
I really enjoyed this book. It was very informational while still being entertaining.
5 stars for the beginning of the book- it was a delightful and charming treatment of Pompadour's early life, her rise, and how she maintained her grasp on the king. And then, we have ze politics in the second half. This section I would give 2 stars. It's a short book, so it is difficult to fully grasp all of the names that are thrown at you and their significance.

So, on average with some rounding, 3 stars. I would try and find another book- might try Mitford's treatment.
Martina Keller
Thought I would read this in anticipation of an upcoming trip to Paris. It was interesting that at one point she was neither his wife nor his lover, but still managed to run Louix XV's realm. The treatment was rather sympathetic and seemed to gloss over the fact that Louis XV was one of the most debauched of the French kings who contributed heavily to the ultimate demise of the French monarchy. I think the book added enough flavor to enhance my visit to Versailles!
Christy S
As always, Lever writes a fabulous, fun, and thorough biography.
Sara Giacalone
I would give this 2.5 stars - strong opening and moved along briskly (makes sense, given the material I guess). By the end though, the book seemed to drag a bit. Still, interesting material about the court of Louis XV and the "second queen".
Great! I found this at the Pulp Fashion exhibit at the Legion of Honor Museum and decided to take a little historical detour from my French Revolution frenzy. Very fun, and useful background knowledge.
Christina Pankus
So...yes, I started reading this because of Dr. Who....very nerdy. But I had heard of her before and she is a fascinating woman! Very interesting non-fic read...easy to digest and keeps your interest.
A little dry at times and sometimes confusing. But informative and mostly enjoyable.
Sara Jones
i like this book, an easy read.
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Évelyne Lever est une historienne contemporaine.

Elle occupait la fonction d'ingénieur de recherche au C.N.R.S. et devient spécialiste de l'histoire du XVIIIe siècle. Elle est aussi l'auteur de nombreux livres sur la vie de Marie Antoinette et de Louis XVI.

Passionnée par la vie de certaines femmes du XVIIIe siècle (comme la favorite de Louis XV Madame de Pompadour), Évelyne Lever retrace dans certa...more
More about Évelyne Lever...
Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France Marie Antoinette, Journal D'une Reine Correspondance De Marie-Antoinette (1770-1793) Louis XVI Le temps des illusions

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