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

Extended Audio Sample Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King Audiobook, by Antonia Fraser
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,951 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Antonia Fraser Narrator: Justine Eyre Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2006 ISBN: 9780739339589
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The superb historian and biographer Antonia Fraser, author of Marie Antoinette, casts new light on the splendor and the scandals of the reign of Louis XIV in this dramatic, illuminating look at the women in his life.

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 before she gave birth to Louis XIV. A devout Catholic, she instilled in her son a strong sense of piety and fought successfully for his right to absolute power. In 1660, Louis married his first cousin, Marie-Thérèse, in a political arrangement. While unfailingly kind to the official Queen of Versailles, Louis sought others to satisfy his romantic and sexual desires. After a flirtation with his sister-in-law, his first important mistress was Louise de La Vallière, who bore him several children before being replaced by the tempestuous and brilliant Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan. Later, when Athénaïs’s reputation was tarnished, the King continued to support her publicly as Athénaïs left court for a life of repentance. Meanwhile her children’s governess, the intelligent and seemingly puritanical Françoise de Maintenon, had already won the King’s affections; in a relationship in complete contrast to his physical obsession with Athénaïs, Louis XIV lived happily with Madame de Maintenon for the rest of his life, very probably marrying her in secret. When his grandson’s child bride, the enchanting Adelaide of Savoy, came to Versaille she lightened the King’s last years – until tragedy struck.

With consummate skill, Antonia Fraser weaves insights into the nature of women’s religious lives – as well as such practical matters as contraception – into her magnificent, sweeping portrait of the king, his court, and his ladies.


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Quotes & Awards

  • Excellent...a pleasure to read throughout. The Wall Street Journal“Highly readable....with vivid wit, Fraser demonstrates that within the edifice of the monarchy there were deep crannies of ordinary affection.

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 2/15/2014

    " Really fascinating history of the French court. Full of scandal, world conquest and fountains. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate O'Mara | 2/10/2014

    " Louis the King, Louis the Lover, you'll enjoy reading about the life of this unforgetable monarch. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Aura | 2/5/2014

    " Not her best work. I adore Antonia Fraser and have read her work religiously - I would follow her almost anywhere, but this book is far below her usual high standard and had it been written by anyone else I would not have finished it. Because it was written by her, I kept hoping it would get better, but I'm sorry to report that it didn't. It was in dire need of another editorial read, serious copyediting, and ruthless cutting. This sounds, perhaps, nitpicky and persnickety, but the lack of fluidity of the narrative was so extreme that it actually distracted me from the engaging subject matter. That said, Fraser's ability to bring to life another era in a way that fascinates and enchants the reader doesn't fail her here, so I can't quite bring myself to give it one star. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meg | 1/14/2014

    " Short review: A+ or 5/5 stars for a wonderful look at the women in Louis XIV (The Sun King)'s life and how they were instrumental in the success of his reign. Such a wonderfully researched book that is both thorough and clear-headed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 1/7/2014

    " I was very disappointing. I would have liked to see the extravagance of the period better reflected in a very dry recitation of people. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 linda | 1/2/2014

    " 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." Fraser pulls it off in this book without seeming waffling or poorly researched, and every relationship documented -- from Louis and his mother to Louis and Madam Right Now -- is nuanced and rich. As much as I loved it, so much of the momentum for reading this book (especially in the second half) was motivated by personal interest in the subject, and not particularly driven by captivating storytelling. Partly that's a function of Louis getting older, slowing down, settling down with his secret morganatic marriage and ceasing his habitual tapping of every piece of available ass in court. Partly it's because the second half loses its tight narrative focus on Louis, having to spend a lot more time branching outward to cover the various tragic deaths of his dauphin, his other dauphin, the dauphiness -- essentially everybody at court. Fantastic, comprehensive reading if this subject is in your sweet spot, but not recommended for general curious audiences. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amber | 12/31/2013

    " Even if I weren't a total history nerd, I'd still have to recommend this book. Well-written, humorous, insightful - in short, everything I have come to expect from Antonia Frasier. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alecia | 12/23/2013

    " Probably my least favorite Fraser biography so far. It was a good read, as always, but interested me less than some of the others. Would still recommend! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Russamun82 | 12/19/2013

    " What a busy king. I was also convinced that Le roi did remarry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rae | 12/9/2013

    " I enjoyed this book. I thought that it might be fluffy, seeing as it is a popular history, but I was pleasantly surprised. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 SlushTurtle | 12/4/2013

    " 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathlyn | 11/1/2013

    " One of those books where 3 stars doesn't do it justice but 4 stars is probably too generous! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 5/3/2013

    " What a player! Very enjoyable and it's nice to get the female perspective from history that this book includes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meagan | 4/29/2013

    " I like history and Fraser makes it wonderful to read about. Interesting to learn about the life of the Sun King and especially the women involved. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sbaird | 3/18/2013

    " It is interesting how many women influenced Louis XIV. I enjoyed this Fraser book immensely. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 3/11/2013

    " I was never into Versaille and the silly society there, but this book was a revelation - not just a biography of a king but an exploration of his world viewed by the many women in and out of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sophie | 12/4/2012

    " Interesting and well-researched account of the life of Louis XIV and the women in his life - his mother, wife and several mistresses. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 10/8/2012

    " Give me another six months, and I'll be an expert on European royalty. This is one of the best accounts out there. It chronicles the life of Louise XIV, and the women that shaped his life. I found it fascinating, never tedious, and extremely well-researched. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica | 9/2/2012

    " nice twist on a bio of Louis. A good mix of his life and the ladies. You were able to get a sense of what was going on in the wider world (wars, etc) without getting bogged down in the details. And, interestingly in view of my thoughts on Mistress of the Sun, they were all that afraid of everything. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laura Duggan | 7/28/2012

    " After reading everything in sight while at the beach for a week I was left with only this to read. It may be the only book I have not finished. I found it boring and the amount of minor characters to be stifling, especially when adding in the crazy long French names and nicknames. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie | 10/6/2011

    " Good history, got a little tired of Louis and all his women. I didnt get a great feel for who he was besides that "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meg | 4/20/2011

    " Short review: A+ or 5/5 stars for a wonderful look at the women in Louis XIV (The Sun King)'s life and how they were instrumental in the success of his reign. Such a wonderfully researched book that is both thorough and clear-headed.

    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashleigh | 3/25/2011

    " Somewhat boring and not what I expected. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 1/3/2011

    " Very well written history of the women of Louis' Court. As Karleen Koen says, he was the rock star of his time. It also explains the intricacies of French Royal Titles. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaylynn | 12/27/2010

    " Fraser makes history read like an interesting novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Russamun82 | 12/15/2010

    " What a busy king. I was also convinced that Le roi did remarry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee | 9/27/2010

    " Actually, I listened to the CDs as I drove around a lot. A good listen, at that. I only started to lose interest when it moved into his grandchildren, and I began having trouble keeping track of who was who in my head. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie | 6/27/2010

    " Good history, got a little tired of Louis and all his women. I didnt get a great feel for who he was besides that "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 S.S. | 4/29/2010

    " As a work of fiction, this is pretty dull. AS history it is filled with political and romantic intrigue. Loved the details on the women in the Sun King's life, but the politics of the court shine. "

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About the Author
Author Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser is the author of Mary Queen of Scots, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Faith and Treason, among other novels. She is also famous for her Jemima Shore series of mysteries. She and her husband, Harold Pinter, live in London.

About the Narrator

Justine Eyre is a classically trained actress who has narrated dozens of audiobooks and has a prestigious Audie Award and seven AudioFile Earphones Awards under her belt. Eyre is multilingual and known for her great facility with accents. She has appeared on stage, with leading roles in King Lear and The Crucible, and has had starring roles in four films on the indie circuit. Her television credits include Two and a Half Men and Mad Men.