The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell
Set at the heart of the treacherous political world of the Italian Renaissance, this is the masterful story of a young woman’s battle for her very survival, written with all the drama and verve that made Hamnet an international bestseller.
Lucrezia, Duchess of Ferrara, is taken on an unexpected visit to a country villa by her husband, Alfonso. As they sit down to dinner it occurs to Lucrezia that Alfonso has a sinister purpose in bringing her here. He intends to kill her. Lucrezia is sixteen years old, and has led a sheltered life locked away inside Florence’s grandest palazzo. Here, in this remote villa, she is entirely at the mercy of her increasingly erratic husband. What is Lucrezia to do with this sudden knowledge? What chance does she have against Alfonso, ruler of a province, and a trained soldier? How can she ensure her survival. The Marriage Portrait is an unforgettable reimagining of the life of a young woman whose proximity to power places her in mortal danger.
Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2023 A Reese’s Bookclub.