The book centres around the Sun King and his relationship with numerous and fascinating women. Naturally dividing into five parts it will concentrate on the King's mother, Anne of Austria, to whom he was devoted; his first important mistress, Louise de la Valliere, who bore him several illegitimate children; Athenais Marquise de Montespan, who ...Read MoreThe book centres around the Sun King and his relationship with numerous and fascinating women. Naturally dividing into five parts it will concentrate on the King's mother, Anne of Austria, to whom he was devoted; his first important mistress, Louise de la Valliere, who bore him several illegitimate children; Athenais Marquise de Montespan, who acted as unofficial Queen of Versailles until her involvement in the affair of poisons, and of course Marie Therese, his wife; and Madame de Maintenon, governess to the illegitimate royal children. The fifth part concentrates on his relations in old age with his daughters, granddaughters and the wife of his grandson. It will vividly bring to life the vast edifice of Louis XIV's court - the magnificence, artistic splendour, elaborate ritual and in some cases, absurdity and misery.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-08-07 Prolific royal biographer Fraser (Marie Antoinette) has assiduously researched her measured yet engrossing study, shedding welcome light on the galaxy of influential women who orbited the dazzling Sun King. The most important woman in Louis XIV's life, in Fraser's telling, was probably the first-his mother, Anne of Austria. The voluptuous, pleasure-loving but pious and dignified queen regent inculcated Louis with the notion that he was a godlike miracle who was nevertheless accountable to the deity for his sins. As this narrowly focused history suggests, Louis was constantly trying to reconcile his gargantuan sexual appetite with his duty to his people and his God. Louis gave up his first love, the bold and amusing Marie Mancini, to marry his graceless first cousin, the Spanish princess Maria Teresa. A serious flirtation with his charming sister-in-law Henriette-Anne, sister of England's Charles II, ended when Louis fell for Charles and Henriette's decoy, the timid virgin Louise de La Valliere. In sexual thrall to the intelligent, magnetic Athenais, the Marquise de Montespan, the king intriguingly threw her over for Francoise Scarron, the puritanical governess to their bastards. Lastly, Louis gave his heart to his spirited granddaughter-in-law Adelaide, who died of measles within days of her husband, the Dauphin. (Oct. 17) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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