Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV

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9780307716576: Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV

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 . . .

Meticulously researched and vividly brought to life by the gorgeous prose of Karleen Koen, Before Versailles dares to explore the forces that shaped an iconic king and determined the fate of an empire.

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Review :

Guest Reviewer: Jean M. Auel on Before Versailles

Jean M. Auel is an international phenomenon. Her Earth's Children® series has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide and includes The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage, The Shelters of Stone, and The Land of Painted Caves. Her extensive research has earned her the respect of archaeologists and anthropologists around the world. She has honorary degrees from four universities and was honored by the French government's Ministry of Culture with the medal of an "Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters." She lives with her husband, Ray, in Oregon.

I’ve enjoyed Karleen Koen’s writing since I first read Through a Glass Darkly many years ago, so I was delighted to have the chance to read her latest, Before Versailles. Louis XIV is a fascinating monarch and Koen has rendered him perfectly in these pages: he’s smart, dashing, cunning, manipulative--everything one expects from a King, even one as young as twenty-two. Koen has wisely chosen a few months in 1661 during the early reign of Louis in which to tell this story; these are perhaps the most decisive months of his monarchy and she shows opposing forces pulling him in many directions as he makes his decisions, as well as his reasons for making them. I was intrigued by the lives of the women closest to him: Louise de la Baume le Blanc, the young beauty who is just learning the ways of the court when she is seduced by the King, and the gorgeous Princess Henriette, Louis’s brother’s wife who loves the taste of danger and isn’t above flirting (perhaps a bit too much!) with the receptive King. I loved reading about Louis’s mother--the lover of Louis’s former advisor Cardinal Mazarin--a profound influence in his political decisions. Karleen Koen leaves us wondering if she can be trusted? Koen also dramatically weaves in a scary and mysterious subplot involving a boy in an iron mask, a poor child who could ruin everything for the young and virile King.

Lush descriptions jump off the page and into the imagination and by the time you’ve finished, you’ll feel you’ve lived a few intimate months with these vivid characters. If you’ve not yet visited the chateau de Fontainebleau or seen the magnificent gardens of Versailles you’ll be planning your own tour de France soon after reading the last page, inspired by Karleen Koen's fascinating research and intriguing exploration of the young Louis and his entourage. I strongly encourage you to read Koen’s latest, Before Versailles.

Vive la France!

Jean M. Auel

About the Author :

KARLEEN KOEN is the New York Times bestselling author of Through a Glass Darkly, Now Face to Face, and Dark Angels, an Indie Next List Bestseller and a BookSense pick. She lives in Houston, Texas. 

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Description du livre Crown, U.S.A., 2011. Hardcover. État : New. Etat de la jaquette : New. 1st Edition. Crown, 2011. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "In this magnificently written and researched novel, Karleen Koen brings to vibrant life the early years and loves of the future Sun King."--Jean M. Auel author of The Clan of the Cave Bear & The Land of Painted Caves "A baroque cornucopia spilling over with intrigue, passion, jealousy, ambition, and rich historical detail, Before Versailles offers a glittering glimpse of the crucial months that shaped Louis XIV into Europe's most powerful monarch."--Eleanor Herman, author of Sex with Kings " Before Versailles presents a grand yet intimate glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and royal at the court of the young, virile King Louis XIV. Words to describe the cast of characters cannot do them justice: moral yet decadent; powerful yet endangered; larger than life yet completely human. But there is an apt word to describe Karleen Koen's latest novel: Brilliant!"--Karen Harper, author of The Irish Princess " Before Versailles captivated me from start to finish! With exquisite finesse, Karleen Koen weaves history and myth into a sumptuous portrait of young Louis XIV, his intrigue-laden court, and the passionate, ambitious, often dangerous women who loved him."--C.W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici "Following solidly in the footsteps of Dumas, Koen ( Dark Angels ) reveals independent-spirited Louise to be a modern heroine in period costume, and, with her focus on the time just before Louis becomes the unrivaled Sun King, she finds the era ripe for intrigue and romance, not to mention possible sequels."- Publishers Weekly "[T]his is a powerful, rich telling of a few months in the life of King Louis XIV. How clever to pick these particular months when so much is changed. . . . It's enthralling, fascinating and wonderful story telling. Karleen Koen does it again. Can't go wrong reading anything of hers. Bravo!"- Romance Reviews "Rich with detail and action."-- Library Journal, starred review.Remainder dot. N° de réf. du libraire 005767

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