Marie-Louise Victoire de Donnissan was born at Versailles into a noble and influential French family. At the age of 17 she married her cousin Louis, marquis de Lescure, whom she accompanied during his service in the "War in the Vendée," the civil war (1793-96) between royalists and republicans in the west of France during the French Revolution. During this time, under great hardship, she gave birth to twin girls, both of whom died. Although not an objective observer, the marquise was a witness to atrocities committed by both sides, and her memoir, first published in 1815 and reprinted many times since then, remains one of the most authentic records of these major events. After her first husband's death during the Vendée war, in 1802 she married another cousin, Louis, marquis de La Rochejacquelein (also spelled Rochejaquelein), with whom she had five children. In 1814, the couple took an active part in the movement to restore the Bourbon monarchy in and about Bordeaux.