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

I cannot tell you what on Earth possessed me to read this book since Bourbon France always bores me witless, but read it, I did.  And, a lot of the time, was bored witless by the unbelievable shallowness of the French aristocracy.  No wonder the Revolution erupted in all of  its tumultuous horror just a few generations later.  I especially wanted to smack Madame de Maintenon when she bitched about the scarceness of bread while accompanying the King on campaign.  All the bread that could be obtained was being used to feed the soldiers, not certain aristocratic ladies.

As heartless as it probably sounds, I also wanted to slap Marie-Louise d’Orleans when she threw that protracted fit about going to Spain to marry the admittedly horrible Carlos II instead of remaining in France to marry the Dauphin, but a princess should know that she doesn’t get to choose her husband.  Despite the fact that she has my sympathy, as a modern woman, I also wanted to smack her silly for being an idiot.

And don’t get me started on all the bickering going on between the great ladies of the realm over precedence.  Picture me dramatically rolling my eyes.

This book, while certainly informative, was far from entertaining, but, then, like I said, I loathe Bourbon France.  To me, this book would have been a whole lot more interesting if Louis XIV’s relationships with the women in his life had been compared alongside those of his cousin, Charles II of England.  A sort of compare and contrast type thing.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars  (Because I can’t make myself give it a lower rating.  That would be blaming the book for my own stupidity in reading about a period that I already knew I disliked.)


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