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The Exchange of Princesses: A Novel

The Exchange of Princesses: A Novel

The Exchange of Princesses: A Novel

The Exchange of Princesses: A Novel


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Set in the French and Spanish courts of the eighteenth century, this novel is based on a true story about the fate of two young princesses caught in the intrigues and secrets of the moment
Philippe d’Orléans, the regent of France, has a gangrenous heart—the result of a life of debauchery, alcohol, power, and flattery. One morning in 1721, he decides to marry eleven-year-old Louis XV to the daughter of Philippe V of Spain, who is only four. Orléans hopes this will tie his kingdom to Spain. But were Louis to die without begetting an heir—the likeliness of which is greatly increased by having a child bride—Orléans himself would finally be king. Orléans tosses his own daughter into the bargain, the twelve-year-old Mlle de Montpensier, who will marry the Prince of Asturias, the heir to the Spanish throne.
The Spanish court enthusiastically agrees and arrangements are made. The two nations trade their princesses in a grand ceremony in 1722, making bonds that should end the historical conflict. Nothing turns out as expected. 

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590517024
Publisher: Other Press, LLC
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Chantal Thomas is a noted philosopher and writer. She has taught at a number of American universities and is the author of twenty-five works, including novels, histories, short stories, plays, and essays. Her internationally acclaimed novel Farewell, My Queen, a fictional account of Marie Antoinette’s final days in Versailles, won the Prix Femina in 2002 and was made into an award-winning film by Benoit Jacquot, and starred Diane Kruger. A film adaptation of The Exchange of Princesses, to be directed by Marc Dugain, is currently in the works.

John Cullen was the translator of many books from Spanish, French, German, and Italian, including Siegfried Lenz’s The Turncoat, Juli Zeh’s Empty Hearts, Patrick Modiano’s Villa Triste, Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation, and Philippe Claudel’s Brodeck.

Read an Excerpt

On the other hand, there is one person whose opinion is indispensable: Louis XV.  The fact that he’s only eleven in no way authorizes his subjects to disregard his views.  It should be an easy matter to coerce acquiescence from a boy of his age, but the Regent's not certain of success.  And without Louis XV's consent, the entire scheme will collapse. Broaching the subject of marriage to the young King, a nervous, melancholic, suspicious child, is not a prospect the Regent relishes. The King dreads surprises, from which he expects only catastrophes. When he was still very little, he fell ill and cried out to his Maman Ventadour, “I’m dead”; later, having experienced his first ejaculation, he will be convinced he's unwell and consult his valet de chambre.  Since he has spent by far the greater part of his young life in an orphan's solitude, his early childhood darkened by the succession of deaths in his family and by the malevolent rumors they nourished, his first reaction is mistrust.  This tendency is only enhanced by the fear he constantly reads in the eyes of his entourage, prominent among them his elderly tutor, Marshal de Villeroy: the fear that he too, the Boy-King, will perish.

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