The Hurlyburly's Husband

The Hurlyburly's Husband

4.5 2
by Jean Teule

"A bawdy romp one minute, a gruesome tragedy the next."—The Sunday Telegraph

The Marquis de Montespan and his new wife, Athénaïs, are a true love match—a rarity amongst the nobility of seventeenth-century France.

But love is not enough to maintain their hedonistic lifestyle, and the couple soon face huge debts. When Athénaïs

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"A bawdy romp one minute, a gruesome tragedy the next."—The Sunday Telegraph

The Marquis de Montespan and his new wife, Athénaïs, are a true love match—a rarity amongst the nobility of seventeenth-century France.

But love is not enough to maintain their hedonistic lifestyle, and the couple soon face huge debts. When Athénaïs is offered the chance to become lady-in-waiting to the Queen at Versailles, she seizes this opportunity to turn their fortunes round.

Too late, Montespan discovers that his ravishing wife has caught the eye of King Louis XIV . . .

Prize-winning author Jean Teulé lives in Paris, France.

Product Details

Gallic Books Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.20(d)

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The Hurlyburly's Husband 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
The Hurlyburly’s Hus­band by Jean Teulé is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book about the Mar­quis de Mon­tes­pan and his new wife, Athé­naïs who becomes the pre­ferred mis­tress of King Louis XIV. The novel was spent many weeks top­ping the French charts and was trans­lated by Ali­son Ander­son. The Mar­quis de Mon­tes­pan his new wife, Athé­naïs are in love – a minor­ity among the nobil­ity in 17th Cen­tury France. How­ever the cou­ple faces huge debts due to their lifestyle, but their prob­lems and sta­tus seem to be almost over when Athé­naïs becomes lady-in-waiting to the Queen at Versailles. The beau­ti­ful, intel­li­gent and viva­cious Athé­naïs becomes the lover to King Louis XIV, the Sun King, but unlike other hus­bands who sees this as an oppor­tu­nity, the Mar­quis is heart­bro­ken and sac­ri­fices life and for­tune to make his stand. The Hurlyburly’s Hus­band by Jean Teulé is a funny and touch­ing book, it tells the story of the Louis Henri de Par­dail­lan de Gondrin, mar­quis de Mon­tes­pan instead of the one most peo­ple famil­iar with, that of his famous wife. Françoise-Athénaïs, mar­quise de Mon­tes­pan, bet­ter known as Madame de Mon­tes­pan, was the most cel­e­brated lover of King Louis XIV, had seven chil­dren from his seed and, for a while, was the de-facto queen. Mr. Teulé stays away from the most com­mon pit­fall in his­tor­i­cal fic­tion sto­ries – judg­ing the char­ac­ters by today’s stan­dards. He goes to great length to explain that by Athé­naïs agree­ing to become the king’s lover was not an act uncom­mon at the time. If the king wished to bed one’s wife, it would be pru­dent to accept and even worth­while as it would ele­vate the family’s sta­tus and ensure riches. Not agree­ing would have the oppo­site con­se­quences, some which would be severe. How­ever, the story is about the Mar­quis de Mon­tes­pan and his love for his wife. A love so great he would dare defy the king, turn away money and pres­tige. The char­ac­ter of Athé­naïs is not depicted as a woman of loose morals, just one who does what is expected of her and who loves the rich lifestyle. She is not a card­board char­ac­ter and the king is not only attracted to her looks, but also her per­son­al­ity and intelligence. The author does an excel­lent job bring­ing to life the court of King Louis XIV, he does not paint it in rose col­ored glasses. Beyond the riches and glam­our, the court was a filthy, dirty place where nobles would uri­nate where they’re stand­ing, defe­cate on the side and the king him­self has been known to only bath once dur­ing his life. It took a while for the book and char­ac­ters to grow on me, at first Mar­quis de Mon­tes­pan annoyed me, but I soon learned to appre­ci­ate the char­ac­ter and the author’s effort. I learned much from this book about French his­tory and cul­ture, which made the read­ing plea­sur­able and worthwhile.
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
unique historical fiction Françoise Athénaïs married Louis Henri, marquis of Montespan. A few years later, Athénaïs became lady-in-waiting at the court of Versailles. There, she attracted King Louis XIV’s attention, and ended up actually his most famous mistress. History has usually ridiculed le Montespan has the most famous cuckold of all times, as he dared oppose the king. In The Hurlyburly’s Husband however, Jean Teulé develops the whole story into a real tragicomedy, highlighting first the ardent love between Athénaïs and Louis-Henri. They never have enough of each other. The only shadow to their love is money, or the lack there of, as they live way above their means and waste it away very quickly. Hoping to get some victory and great reward, Louis-Henri goes to war, but it ends up being a great disaster. Chapter 6 presents a typical French graphic scene, with some black humor characteristic of Jean Teulé. So to remedy to their financial situation, she accepts to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen. When she tries to tell her husband the danger she may soon fall in, he doesn’t get it. When he finally discovers her wife got pregnant by the King’s doing, he starts publicly criticizing the Sun King. Everyone around him tries to tell him how lucky he is, to have his wife so pleasing to the king, that he can take advantage of the situation, as so many husbands before him did, and finally become really rich. But Louis-Henri wants to prove to that society that real love does exist, and he does all kinds of crazy things to protest and remain true to their love. To the end of his life, he remains faithful to his love, and tries by all means to have his revenge against the king, as the stubborn Gascon he is -in France, they do have a reputation to be very stubborn! I really enjoyed a lot the originality of the novel, as comedy and tragedy are intertwined to present the story from an unusual facet. As a reader, I wanted at the same time to laugh at Louis-Henri and cry with him. The style is often totally hilarious, under the guise of seriousness. It can thus be super romantic or awfully gruesome. And the ending of the book is completely macabre. There are scenes of utter derision, for instance in chapter 18, 39, or when Louis-Henri witnesses what the King does with his mistresses, through a spyglass (chapter 43). There’s even a funny passage of self-humor on page 225. The author describes the Seigneur de Teulé as “that wretched nobleman -a ruffian and a counterfeiter”. But note that the author himself is called Teulé! All the main historical elements are present, including the controversial and maybe legendary one of Athénaïs taking part in black masses to try to keep the love of the King, and the famous Poison Affair, maybe orchestrated by her with the help of the infamous “La Voisin“, fortune teller, poisoner, and alleged sorceress. The 17th century is supposedly the dirtiest period in French history, and you can really smell the stench between the lines! The hygiene of the time was horrendous, and Teulé conveys this quite well. The English title of the novel comes from the name of one of Athénaïs’s hairdo, called à la hurluberlu. Fascinating interview with the author at the end of the book, as well as reading group questions. VERDICT: I highly recommend this unique historical fiction. Hilariously funny, gruesome, macabre, and graphic, it is a worthy witness to great French modern literature revisiting famous and infamous royal history.