Louis XIV is one of the best~known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man ~ the man before Versailles?
After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get—including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.
But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karleen Koen is the author of Now Face to Face and Through a Glass Darkly, which was a New York Times bestseller and featured a much older Alice Verney (known in that novel as the Duchess of Tamworth). The author lives in Houston, Texas.
I remember taking French History when I was in college and being totally smitten with the story of Louis XIV, there was just so much decadence. Have you seen pictures of Versailles? The pompadours and powders, oui! And, dude, what was up with the man in the iron mask? That’s probably one of the most enduring legends from the reign of Louis XIV and still there are no definitive answers about the who or why…
Meticulously researched, this book has everything ~ mystery, intrigue, romance, lust, politics ~ too bad I couldn’t keep it all straight. The cast of characters is way too large and, even with the guide at the front of the book, it was hard to keep track of who did what with whom and how they were related to the king. But I don’t necessarily fault Koen, I think the confusion is probably reminiscent of the confusion of the court itself. Seriously, during a time when even your own brother may have been plotting against you, how can there not be a bit of discombobulation? That being said, there’s just too much going on in this book.
I’d recommend this book for someone who has a decent grasp of French history or is at least more than casually familiar with the story of the Sun King. As for me, I simply couldn’t get in to this book.