The Marriage Portrait
‘I thought I had made myself clear,’ Alfonso murmurs, barely opening his lips. ‘I want something that conveys her… how to put this… her majesty, her bloodline. Do you understand? She is no ordinary mortal: treat her thus. Ensure, please, that the portrait reflects that, above anything else. I want everyone who looks upon this to know instantly what she is: regal, refined, untouchable.’
Florence, the 1560s. Lucrezia, third daughter of Cosimo de’ Medici, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and to devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of marriage to Alfonso d’Este, ruler of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father to accept on her behalf.
Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate her appears before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?
As Lucrezia sits in uncomfortable finery for the painting which is to preserve her image for centuries to come, one thing becomes worryingly clear. In the court’s eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferrarese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, the new duchess’s future hangs entirely in the balance.
About the Author
Maggie O’Farrell is the author of the Sunday Times no. 1 bestselling memoir I AM, I AM, I AM, and eight novels: AFTER YOU’D GONE, MY LOVER’S LOVER, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, which won a Somerset Maugham Award. She lives in Edinburgh.
The LitVox Bookshop
Our bookshop’s range grows by the day. Moreover, we pride ourselves on being able to track down and obtain any book our customers want. Our recommendations service is open for all to use. If we recommend books to you through this service, we’ll be able gather up those books and send them to you no matter where you are in the world. If you’re buying your books as a gift, we can gift-wrap them in a lovely bundle and send them wherever in the world you wish! We can even hand-write your greetings card with your personal message.
Remember that if you’re buying books as a gift, we also offer a wide-range of book prints, gifts and greetings cards for readers of all ages! Check out our print studio and gift-shop today. If you have any special requests for your order or need further gift inspiration, just contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re ready and waiting to help!