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

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  6,097 ratings  ·  256 reviews
The self-proclaimed Sun King, Louis XIV ruled over the most glorious and extravagant court in seventeenth-century Europe. Now, Antonia Fraser goes behind the well-known tales of Louis’s 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 twenty-two years
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Nan A. Talese (first published October 24th 2006)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  6,097 ratings  ·  256 reviews

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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
Sep 15, 2013 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
Roman Clodia
Jun 10, 2016 rated it liked it
In my post-Versailles TV series hangover, I wanted to read this to get a sense of the historical reality behind the fiction - sadly, though, this is not Fraser at her best. The narrative feels unfocused in comparison with her Mary Queen of Scots and The Gunpowder Plot, and that seems to be because she changed the remit of the book mid-way. She originally planned to write about Louis' mistresses, then widened it to also cover his relationships with other women: his mother, Anne of Austria; his ...more
I don't know that I am totally unbiased in my review of this book, as just from a glance it held many of my favorite things: history, courtly drama, France, clever women in high places, gorgeous color photo sections, and Antonia Fraser. I read her "Marie Antoinette: The Journey" at the beginning of 2016 and was extremely impressed, and I found my reaction to be the same here. I was thoroughly entertained throughout.
Sep 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Oct 13, 2008 rated it liked it
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
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
There were plenty of parts of this book to like. As a history buff, i always like when the author includes information on what life was like in the period of the historical figure - clothing, food, religion, hygiene, etc. Some of the passages here were fun and informative to read.

However, some parts just read like a seedy tabloid, with sensationalist writing which I feel detracts from what could be a very educational and informative biography that offers a intimate glimpse into the life of the
Sara Giacalone
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Antonia Fraser is known for her impeccable research and ability to bring history to life. Love and Louis XIV is no different. I thoroughly enjoyed this review of the women who influenced the Sun King and recommend it.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Marcia Leben
Louis XIV and the women in his life. I had expected this book to be interesting and entertaining, but I found it chaotic and at times boring. The subject matter is simply too broad (Fraser doesn't only look at relationships between Louis and his wife and mistresses, but also his mother, daughters and in-laws). It would have been better to focus on only a few women and really explore those relationships thoroughly.
This is the second book by Antonia Fraser that I've read and both were rather
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Moves along at a good pace, and doesn't get weighed down by politics! Fantastic for a more personal biography of Louis and the women in his life
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well...a few historical inaccuracies . But aside from this I like the format of the novel many mentioned there was a lack of structure the further into the book - which is true , but I felt this just mirrored Louis life in love and with the women at court . In the beginning it was incredibly structured ...and as those who were mistresses and wife’s fell from favour his lovers and his ways became more erratic . I just felt that this structure followed the pace of his life so it didn’t bother me ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, favorites, own
Detailed without dragging, fast-paced and highly interesting; great read and gives just enough to understand the context with the events that unfold without detracting from the main subjects.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, 2018, factual
Honestly, I've always enjoyed history but my new found interest in Louise XIV is a result of loving the TV production of "Versailles" and wanting to know a bit more about the facts underpinning the entertainment!

I opted for this Antonia Fraser book to begin because I find her style to be engaing and I enjoyed her biography of Marie Antoinette a few years back also, I liked the idea of her focussing on the women of this era and I was pleased to read about all the generations that touched upon
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE THIS BOOK. historical ladies are my favourite thing so a whole book about them is the best thing that could have happened to me.

i got to read about amazing ladies like anne of austria, athénaïs de montespan or françoise de maintenon, and i also learned a lot about louis xiv himself without having to read a biography fully about him

so yes, 5/5 for this book. read it if you come across it, you won't regret it!!
Helen Carolan
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A second read of this one and it's still terrific.I love Ms Fraser's books so this is a no brainer for me. Telling about the life of the sun king and the women in it, from his mother Anne of Austria, his cousins,his wife and of course his mistress. Great read.
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Louis XIV loved a lot of women in his lifetime!
Dec 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
H.J. Moat
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty big heavy book, and I started reading it right at the start of the summer, when Love Island was on. I am not embarrassed to say I watched every episode of that show and I would often do so before going to bed and reading this book. What's funny is that intellectuals deride Love Island constantly, saying it's trash for the culturally braindead, but I don't think a single one would say the same for getting stuck into Love and Louis XIV. And yet I realised that they are both ...more
Feb 03, 2010 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 ...more
Feb 15, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Claire M.
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
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
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jill Hutchinson
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is exactly what the title of the women in the life of Louis XIV, from his mother through his various dalliances to his mistresses (official and otherwise). There is enough history to keep it from being gossipy but Lady Antonia doesn't skimp on the personal details.
The life at the court of the Sun King was so bound by court etiquette that one misstep could evoke the displeasure of the King, and result in banishment or in the case of women, being sent to a
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 ...more
Absolutely fascinating but a little too short for my liking in a biography like this. In fact, the only thing holding this book back from a 5 star rating is the length. Antonia Fraser never disappoints.

Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Quite dry, couldn't stay hooked. Made it halfway and then had to stop.
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
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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
“Mignon' said the King, 'soon you are going to be a great king'. But he also told Anjou, in a memorable phrase
'Try to remain at peace with your neighbors: I have loved war too much...”
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