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Louise de la Valliere by Alexandre Dumas
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Louise de la Valliere (1847)

by Alexandre Dumas

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A slight improvement over the silly melodrama that was Ten Years After but still filled with a fair bit of unnecessary fluff. I can now see why these books may have appealed to 19th century readers: Dumas goes to great pains to perpetuate what we now know as "the soap opera". The D'Artagnan Romances are a soap opera. It has all of the right elements: characters in love/conflict/alliance; a plot that is drawn out in small doses over a huge swath of time; some repetition of information to refresh the reader's memories; and the whole heart-ache angst bit. I am not a big fan of soap operas so that is probably why I am struggling a bit with this one. Characters who pose and posture and don't really seem to get down to the business at hand without monologuing try my patience. The good news is that Louise de la Valliere did have some good bits that now have me looking forward to reading the last book in the series, The Man in the Iron Mask. I just wish the journey to this point had not involved some 3,600 pages of text. Dumas was as prolific a serial writer as Dickens, if that can be imagined! He must have been paid by the word, just like Dickens' was. ;-)

Now, onwards to The Man in the Iron Mask. ( )
  lkernagh | Dec 26, 2014 |
Well it took me months, but I finished it. Does that mean I’m out of love with Dumas and the d’Artagnan romances? No, but I won’t hesitate to call Louise a slog. I read a biography snippet on Dumas that said his success bred an extravagant lifestyle that he had to write furiously to maintain. That causes me to view Louise as a bit of writer’s block. A lot is described and worried over, but not much actually happens as if Dumas was just filling in time until inspiration struck, which thankfully, it did. Not until very near the end though and the stuff in between is just straight-up boring. As a set up, it’s needlessly long, but necessary (I’m sure) to understand the how and why of the next installment which is The Man in the Iron Mask.

Every time any of the “four” (as they are called by others in the book) got together it made me smile. Especially to read of little expressions, looks or signals they would use to silently communicate as well as if they’d spoken aloud. Take this - “D’Artagnan answered Athos’s look by an imperceptible movement of the eyelid;” Oh there’s something afoot for sure. Or the part where Porthos tells his host (M. Fouquet) that he has broken his chair and that if he doesn’t get up immediately, he will fall to the floor. I can’t help but love those little bits that Dumas sprinkles in like hiding candy on Easter morning.

Because the focus of this book isn’t really the “four”, but basically three, the whole tone changed. Partially that’s why it was a slog. Raoul, Louis and Louise are very young and act accordingly. Though King of France, Louis admits, late in the book, that he’s really just a child (after d’Artagnan makes him a speech about the place of men of honor in his service...a great speech, btw, d’Artagnan has become quite the orator). All through the book he acts like one and so do the other two. Raoul is just a love-struck ostrich with his head in the sand, afraid of confrontation. Louise is a little girl hiding behind her mother’s skirts to avoid responsibility. In a way, it reads like a typical romantic comedy, full of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, but it’s not overt because of the language and the fact that there are a lot of tortured scenes and detail. That and the few other plot threads weaving in and out keep it from being a focused tale. I’m glad I read it though and will give myself a bit of a break before embarking on the final bit of the saga. ( )
  Bookmarque | Jun 26, 2013 |
1264. Louise de la Valliere, by Alexandre Dumas (17 Mar 1974) This is the fourth of the five volumes in the D'Artagan cycle. The first is The Three Musketeers, which I read with great enthusiasm on 19 Nov 1972, the second is Twenty Years After, read with even more appreciation on 25 Nov 1972, and the third is The Vicomte de Bragelonne, read on 22 Dec 1972 with lesser enthusiasm. I found Louise de la Valliere dull, dull, dull. It is all about the idiotic efforts of Louis XIV and Louise to become lovers. I found it irritating, since Louis XIV had a wife and Louise is presented as supposedly a worthwhile person. ( )
  Schmerguls | Mar 14, 2009 |
Illustrated with a frontispiece in photogravure, each illustration has tissue guard printed with caption. Very attractive binding in black cloth with floral decoration on covers and spines in light green and orange. Spine titles are gold, most very bright, a few slightly rubbed
  Fantamas | Dec 9, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alexandre Dumasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burnham, I.G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coward, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McSpadden, J. WalkerPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, Henry LlewellynTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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During all these long and noisy debates between the opposite ambitions of politics and love, one of our characters, perhaps the one least deserving of neglect, was, however, very much neglected, very much forgotten, and exceedingly unhappy.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192834657, Paperback)

Louise de la Vallière is the middle section of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, or, Ten Years After. Against a tender love story, Dumas continues the suspense which began with The Vicomte de Bragelonne and will end with The Man in the Iron Mask. Set during the reign of Louis XIV and filled with behind-the-scenes intrigue, the novel brings the aging Musketeers and d'Artagnan out of retirement to face an impending crisis within the royal court of France. This new edition of the classic English translation is richly annotated and places Dumas's invigorating tale in its historical and cultural context.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Louise de la Valliere is the middle section of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, or, Ten Years After. Against a tender love story, Dumas continues the suspense which began with The Vicomte de Bragelonne and will end with The Man in the Iron Mask. Set during the reign of Louis XIV and filled with behind-the-scenes intrigue, the novel brings the aging Musketeers and d'Artagnan out of retirement to face an impending crisis within the royal court of France.… (more)

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