The King's Mistresses: The Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna, and her Sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin
by Elizabeth C. Goldsmith
Release Date: April 3, 2012
The little-known story of two spirited sisters who flaunted every social convention of 17th century Europe in their determination to live independently The Mancini sisters, Marie and Hortense, were born in Rome, brought to the court of Louis XIV of France at Versailles, and strategically married off by their uncle, Cardinal Mazarin, to secure his political power base. Such was the life of many young woman of the age: they had no independent status under the law, and were entirely a part of their husband's property once married.
Marie and Hortense, however, had another lifestyle in mind altogether. Abandoning their husbands, they took to the road, using the brand new post coach service to ferry them across Europe. Hortense was a famous gambler, the women often dressed and passed as men, and their scandalous behavior became a sensation.
Elizabeth Goldsmith has written a vibrant biography of two pioneering free spirits, feminists long before the term existed, who refused to be constrained by the morals, mores, and hypocrisies of their age.
About the Author...
Elizabeth C. Goldsmith is a professor of French and director of the study abroad curriculum at Boston University. She has written books on literature in the age of Louis XIV, focusing on letter correspondences and women's writing. She teaches courses on seventeenth-century theater and the novel, travel writing, and historical fiction.