Antonia Fraser is the author of many internationally bestselling historical works, including Love and Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, which was made into a film by Sofia Coppola, The Wives of Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot, and Perilous Question: Reform or Revolution? Britain on the Brink, 1832. She is also the author of Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter. She has received the Wolfson Prize for History, the 2000 Norton Medlicott Medal of Britain’s Historical Association, and the Franco-British Society’s Enid McLeod Literary Prize. She was made a Dame of the British Empire for services to Literature in 2011.
“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.” —The New Yorker“Entertaining and instructive....we must still be grateful to Antonia Fraser for devising so excellent a companion with which to lie back and think of France.” —The New York Times“Engaging...the sumptuously illustrated Love and Louis XIV focuses on the diverse array of women who ‘lit up the court of the Sun King.’” —The Washington Post
Internationally acclaimed biographer and historian Fraser has written another fascinating and accessible biography. Her focus is on the private life rather than the power and political achievement of that larger-than-life sovereign, Louis XIV of France. Beginning with his relationship with his mother, Anne of Austria, Fraser argues that the happiest moments of Louis's life were associated with women. She details many (though admittedly not all) of his liaisons, interweaving the narrative with rich historical insights about the customs of court life, including practices regarding contraception, sexuality, and sexual initiation. A secondary theme is the apparent contradiction between the enormous power that the Catholic Church held over conscience and behavior at the time and the king's clearly immoral actions. Absolute kings, as God's representatives on Earth, were expected to behave better than their subjects, and Fraser shows how Anne of Austria worried about her son's promiscuity and his salvation. Fraser also wonders about the extent to which Louis's paramours might be termed victims, and she tries to uncover the perceptions that they had of themselves and of their relationship with Louis. She stresses his generosity and courtesy to them and his enjoyment of female company outside the bedroom. A glossary of principal characters and a chronological political summary help general readers understand the historical context. Recommended for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/06.] Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"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." -The New Yorker"Entertaining and instructive....we must still be grateful to Antonia Fraser for devising so excellent a companion with which to lie back and think of France." -The New York Times"Engaging...the sumptuously illustrated Love and Louis XIV focuses on the diverse array of women who 'lit up the court of the Sun King.'" -The Washington Post