The Exchange of Princesses

The Exchange of Princesses

Book - 2015
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"Set in the French and Spanish courts of the eighteenth century, this novel is based on a true story about the fate of two young princesses caught in the intrigues and secrets of the moment Philippe d'Orleans, the regent of France, has a gangrenous heart--the result of a life of debauchery, alcohol, power, and flattery. One morning in 1721, he decides to marry eleven-year-old Louis XV to the daughter of Philippe V of Spain, who is only four. Orleans hopes this will tie his kingdom to Spain. But were Louis to die without begetting an heir--the likeliness of which is greatly increased by having a child bride--Orleans himself would finally be king. Orleans tosses his own daughter into the bargain, the twelve-year-old Mlle de Montpensier, who will marry the Prince of Asturias, the heir to the Spanish throne. The Spanish court enthusiastically agrees and arrangements are made. The two nations trade their princesses in a grand ceremony in 1722, making bonds that should end the historical conflict. Nothing turns out as expected. "-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Other Press, [2015]
ISBN: 9781590517024
Characteristics: xii, 332 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Cullen, John 1942- translator


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Oct 31, 2015

This Halloween, there will be a lot of little girls (and grown women) dressing up as princesses. And why not? You get power, plenty of pretty clothes, a handsome prince, and wealth beyond belief. What a lovely dream.

Unfortunately, that dream often turned into a ugly nightmare in real life, as Thomas Chantal shows in his new novel, "The Exchange of Princesses." Ten year old KIng Louis (the King Louis who reigned between the Sun King and the King Louis who was executed in the French Revolution) will need a queen, so his regent, Phillipe d'Orleans, has a brilliant idea. Phillipe will send one of his daughters to Spain to marry Dom Luis, the heir to the Spanish throne, so she will become queen of Spain. Meanwhile, Spain will send one of Dom Luis's half sisters to marry KIng Louis and become queen of France.

Well, it sounded good at the time. The five year Spanish infanta is sweet and pretty, but that is not enough to win her twelve year old husband's interest, let alone his love. On the other hand, young Dom Luis is smitten with the French Princess before she even arrives; however, she finds him disgusting and the Spanish court dull. She is sullen, rebellious, and defiant (in other words, a typical teenager) who would rather play hopscotch and jump in fountains than wear formal gowns and learn foreign languages. What seemed like marriages made in heaven turn into matches made in Hell for two Princesses.

If you like Phillipa Gregory, or C.W. Gortner, then you'll love this funny, albeit heartbreaking look at a forgotten corner of history.


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