Athenais: The Life of Louis XIV's Mistress, the Real Queen of France

Athenais: The Life of Louis XIV's Mistress, the Real Queen of France

by Lisa Hilton

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

In her superb new biography, Hilton chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, known as "the real Queen of France," who reigned as official mistress to Louis XIV during the most glorious period of "the splendid century."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316778510
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/14/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 816,742
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.86(d)

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Athenais: The Life of Louis XIV's Mistress, the Real Queen of France 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a well-written biography AND French history. Madame de Montespan was a beautiful cortesan, and mistress of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Her rise and fall is well-detailed in this excellent book. The inside (and not always flattering) look at the lavish court of Versailles and its nobility makes for great reading.
anutany on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed nicely written prose and beautiful imagery of Hilton¿s book I found that it was strewn with catty and low-brow comments that were of huge detriment to the biography of Athenais. Because of the open bias towards the Marquise it is hard to regard this book as a serious historical work. According to the author, the same sources who disapproved of Athenais were jealous of her good looks and influence while their disapproval of La Maintenon was very legitimate. La Maintenon was called a treacherous and hypocritical friend because she replaced Athenais in king¿s affection whereas when Athenais did the same thing to Louise de La Valliere it was done because of the Louise¿s ¿infuriating lack of dignity¿. In short, any woman who was a threat to the idyllic double-adultery affair of La Montespan and Louis XIV was prosecuted by Lisa Hilton by unflattering sobriquets and snide comments. Marie-Therese, a shy and pious wife of the king was stupid, had a ¿lumpy Habsburg nose¿ and in no way, shape or form added to the ¿gloire¿ of Versailles. Louise de La Valliere was a simpleton who could not chose her friends well and schemed to win Louis back. La Maintenon is hypocritical old shrew who is jealous of beautiful and witty Athenais.I found this lack of objectivity very jarring and immature as well as disrespectful to the reader. In the end I resolved myself to regard ¿Athenais, The real Queen of France¿ as a historical fiction since it was hard to give much credence to the historical research given the amount of misleading information that was presented in this book.
lington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I admit that I bought this book because I was mildly interested in Louis XIV and it had a beautiful cover. It is one certain example where it is perfectly acceptable to judge a book in this manner, however, as I was pleased to discover.This is the artfully woven story of one of the Sun King's mistresses; it tracks her relationship with the King, her influence in the realm, and the long-standing effects of what amounts to her "reign" as Louis's favorite. Glittering and gorgeous throughout, it's a captivating story. The writing is slightly inclined toward a female audience, but any male interested in the period would obtain equal enjoyment from it. Educational in an unpretentious, gentle way, "Athenais" is written with all the passion Lisa Hilton has for the subject. And that is a considerable amount.
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