The King's Way

by Françoise Chandernagor. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $15.95. This novel purports to be the memoirs of Françoise d’Aubigné, daughter of a well-connected black sheep, widow of the subversive poet Scarron, governess to a bevy of royal bastards, and, ultimately, as the Marquise de Maintenon, the morganatic wife of Louis XIV. She was undoubtedly a remarkable woman, admired in her day as a wit, a scholar, and a beauty. Ms. Chandernagor has not done very well in recreating her heroine’s wit, although translation from French to English may have weakened the effect of certain ripostes, but on the whole, the book is history the easy way, and it makes agreeable reading.