France's iconic queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous "Let them eat cake", was alternately revered and reviled during her lifetime. For centuries since, she has been the object of debate, speculation, and the fascination so often accorded illustrious figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this essentially lighthearted child was thrust onto the royal stage and commanded by circumstance to play a significant role in European history.
The self-proclaimed Sun King, Louis XIV, ruled over the most glorious and extravagant court in 17th-century Europe. Now, Antonia Fraser goes behind the well-known tales of Louis' accomplishments and follies, exploring in riveting detail his intimate relationships with women.
Marie Antoinette's dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still 'la reine mechante', whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: 'let them eat cake'. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny.
"10/10, will read again. "
Celebrated playwright Harold Pinter and critically acclaimed biographer Antonia Fraser lived together from August 1975 until his death 33 years later, on Christmas Eve 2008. Must You Go? is an eccentric, hilarious, and often moving testimony of their life together, based partly on Antonia Fraser's own diaries and also her own recollections of their fascinating life together. It is, above all, a compelling love story.
"Good writing; bad narration"
The former King of England, Edward II was murdered in Berkeley Castle, near Gloucester, England. In 1326, Edward's wife, Isabella of France, led an invasion against her husband. The following year, Edward was made to renounce the throne in favor of his son Edward. This was the first time that a king of England had been dethroned since Ethelred in 1013.
"Excellent introduction of British History"
Perilous Question features an eventful, violent often overlooked period of British history. On 7th June 1832, William IV reluctantly assented to pass the Great Reform Bill, under the double threat of the creation of 60 new peers in the House of Lords and of revolution throughout the country. This led to a total change in the way Britain was governed, a two-year revolution that Antonia Fraser brings dramatically to life.
This audiobook centres around the Sun King and his relationship with numerous and fascinating women. Naturally dividing into five parts, it concentrates on the King's mother, Anne of Austria; his first important mistress, Louise de la Valliere; Athenais Marquise de Montespan, who acted as unofficial Queen of Versailles; Marie Therese, his wife, of course; and Madame de Maintenon, governess to the illegitimate royal children.
"Insightful and enjoyable "
Antonia Fraser vividly portrays the vast edifice of Louis XIV's court between the years 1643 and 1715. Brilliantly exploring the rich dynamic that existed between Louis XIV and the many fascinating women who ornamented his personal life, Fraser examines not only Louis' mistresses, but also the wider story of his relationships with women in general.
More than 400 years after her death, Mary Queen of Scots remains one of the most romantic and controversial figures in British history. Antonia Fraser's classic biography of her won the James Tait Prize when it was first published in 1969. It became an international best-seller and was translated into nine languages.
With a narrative that grips the reader like a detective story, Antonia Fraser brings the characters and events of the Gunpowder Plot to life. Dramatically recreating the conditions and motives that surrounded the fateful night of November 5, 1605, she unravels the tangled web of religion and politics that spawned the plot.
Antonia Fraser deals with each woman in turn with sympathy - the sympathy they deserve for having had the unenviable fate of being Henry's wife. Inevitably, there was great rivalry between them; there was jealousy too: the desperate jealousy of queens who found themselves abandoned, but also the sexual jealousy of the king who discovered himself betrayed. The story Antonia Fraser tells is romantic and cruel, funny and sad, dramatic and enthralling. This is historical biography at its best.
"Wonderfully read and very interesting"
Antonia Fraser's memoir describes growing up in the 1930s and 1940s but its real concern is with her growing love of history. The fascination began as a child when her evacuation at the beginning of the war to an Elizabethan manor house became an inspiration for historical imaginings - and developed into an enduring passion; as she writes, 'for me, the study of History has always been an essential part of the enjoyment of life'.
With a narrative that grips the reader like a detective story, Antonia Fraser brings the characters and events of the Gunpowder Plot to life. Dramatically recreating the conditions and motives that surrounded the fateful night of November 5th 1605, she unravels the tangled web of religion and politics that spawned the plot.
"What was "The Gunpowder Plot" all about?"
Internationally best-selling historian Antonia Fraser's new book brilliantly evokes one year of pre-Victorian political and social history - the passing of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. For our inconclusive times, there is an attractive resonance with 1832, with its "rotten boroughs" of Old Sarum and the disappearing village of Dunwich, and its lines of most resistance to reform.
The subtitle of this wonderful memoir declares its contents: this is 'my life with Harold Pinter', not Lady Antonia Fraser's complete life, and certainly not his. In essence, this is a love story and as with many love stories, the beginning and the end, the first light and the twilight, are dealt with more fully than the high noon in between. The result is a marvellously insightful testimony to modern literature's most celebrated marriage.