Maggie O’Farrell reimagines the life of a young woman whose proximity to power places her in mortal danger.
The Marriage Portrait is a dazzling evocation of the Italian Renaissance in all its beauty and brutality.
In the winter of 1561, 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 16 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 chance does she have against Alfonso, ruler of a province, and a trained soldier?