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Review: The Marriage Portrait

Setting: Florence and its environs
Period: 1544 to 1561

Masterfully written, this is the tale of the little-known (and heretofore little researched) Lucrezia Medici, daughter of Cosimo I and Eleanora di Toledo, who died at the age of 17, at the hands of her husband, Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara.

Or did she…?

The author, Maggie O’Farrel, offers a happier ending for Lucrezia, which is plausible, given the lack of evidence and mystery surrounding the exact nature of her death. I, for one, choose to accept it.

Lucrezia is also the subject of Robert Browning’s poem, My Last Duchess.