Jean Teulé ‘Montespan’

I’m not normally an avid reader of historical fiction, but was tempted by the author Jean Teulé, an established French author and the subject matter Montespan, the husband of the famous favourite of Louis XIV of France. As Jean Teulé explains, in the century where Versailles is built, there are 5000 people who live in Versailles, in and around the king and only two toilets. It was thought that sickness could enter through the skin and so famously Louis only ever washed once in his life. If he took a fancy to your wife you had no choice but to accept this and be well payed in return. This was the background to the book.

The Marquis of Montespan is famous for not having accepted this situation, and for continuing to love his wife for the whole of his life. He was what was known as a cockuld, a man with an adulterous wife, a cockuld was thought of as having horns, his first action was to decorate his carriage with horns for all of Paris and Versailles to see, this book is about a power struggle between an all powerful King and his subject,

His wife eventually has ten children with the king before being cast aside for his next choice as favourite.

This book takes a mostly forgotten historical figure and dresses him as a hero, there were even songs about him at the time.

I found this book a fun read and historically interesting. The book is published as Monsieur Montespan in English in 2011, and as The Hurlyburly’s Husband in 2013

I would recommend this as a fun read or as in my case listen in the car!

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