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Francoise d'Aubigne, born in a bleak provincial prison, her father a condemned murderer and traitor to the state, rose from the depths of poverty to life at the vortex of power at Versailles. Married at fifteen to a tragically disfigured and scandalously popular poet, in his salon Francoise encountered all the brilliant characters of the seventeenth century's glitterati. After her husband's death, she led the life of a merry widow in the colourful Marais quarter of Paris, before becoming governess to the King's growing brood of royal batards. This is the extraordinary story of one woman's daring journey from beggar-girl, West Indian colonist and salonniere to royal mistress and thence, in secret, to the compromised position of Louis' uncrowned Queen. Through the rags-to-riches tale of the marquise de Maintenon, Veronica Buckley reveals every layer of the vibrant and shocking world that was France in the age of Louis XIV.
Veronica Buckley was born in New Zealand. Wide-ranging studies in several countries led to her work in diverse fields from music to the computing industry. After doctoral research in history at Oxford, she turned to full-time writing. She lives in Vienna with her husband, writer Philipp Blom.