Maggie O’Farrell’s—The marriage portrait *****

Maggie O’Farrell’s—The marriage portrait *****

In mid-1500 Florence, Lucrezia is the least favoured child of the grand duke and duchess. Her older sisters either tease her or ignore her, her brothers are indifferent. Her sister, Maria is about to marry Alfonso, grand duke of Ferrara, but an illness intervenes, causing her death. Alfonzo’s roving eye remembers tiny Lucrezia and negotiates their marriage. Lucrezia is far too young, but her father sees this as a wise political move and she is married to the duke by age fifteen. Is she old enough and wise enough to survive the turmoil within his court? And what of the rumours that the duke has never conceived a child in all is amorous endeavours? Will her life be in danger if she can’t become pregnant?

This well-written novel is loosely based on historical characters and facts. I was spellbound from page one where Lucrezia is aware that she is probably going to be murdered. I rate this as the top book I’ve read so far this year.


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