The Secret Wife of Louis XIV
Françoise D'aubigne, Madame De Maintenon
ISBN10: 0374158304 ISBN13: 9780374158309 Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux Published: Sep 1 2009 Pages: 498 Weight: 1.84lbs. Height: 9.50" Width: 6.25" Depth: 1.50" Language: English
The Marquise de Maintenon, mistress of Louis XIV, was born in a bleak French prison in 1635. Her father was a condemned traitor and murderer who seduced the warden's daughter. Yet in her lifetime, Francoise d'Aubigne--armed with beauty, intellect, and shrewd judgment--managed to make her way from grimmest poverty to the center of power at Versailles, the most opulent and cutthroat court in all Europe. This is the extraordinary story of Francoise's progress from brilliant salonniere to governess for the king's illegitimate children and, finally, to the delicate position of Louis's secret wife and uncrowned queen. Louis, who as supreme sovereign believed he had entree to any bed he chose, would remain in love with her for forty years. Bursting with the gossip of such witty contemporary chroniclers as Madame de Sevigne, this exactingly researched biography is a pinnacle of the form. In vibrant, shocking colors, it paints a portrait of France in the process of becoming itself, and Europe in an age of violent change.