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The Marriage Portrait (2022)

af Maggie O'Farrell

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1,781879,838 (3.96)116
En uppslukande historisk roman om en ung kvinnas kamp f©œr ©œverlevnad[Bokinfo]
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» Se også 116 omtaler

Engelsk (79)  Spansk (3)  Hollandsk (2)  Tysk (1)  Catalansk (1)  Galicisk (1)  Alle sprog (87)
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This historical fiction brings a teenaged Medici daughter, Lucrezia, to life as a strong willed girl whose defiance creates disturbance in the household of her father, Duke of Tuscany, and in the kingdom of her future husband, Alfonso, the Duke of Ferrara, in 1560. Lucrezia would rather paint than to become skilled at the womanly arts that will make her a typical woman in a royal court, powerless and decorative, married off to strengthen alliances. When her elder sister dies of a fever, Lucrezia is chosen to replace her as the bride of Alfonso, desperate for an heir. He is mercurial and surrounded by loyalists who despise the young Duchess. When Alfonso decides to have Lucrezia's portrait painted, everything shifts as she struggles to regain some agency and to survive the plot against her, as she is barren after a year of marriage. She is a brilliant heroine and the interior of her mind and the exterior riches and rivalries of court life are vividly rendered. ( )
  froxgirl | Jul 15, 2024 |
The Marriage Portrait is a historical fiction based on the life of Lucrezia de' Medici, daughter of Cosimo I de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany who was married to Alfonso II d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara, at age 16 and two years later was dead. History records her as having died of tuberculosis but rumours abound that she had been poisoned by her husband. Maggie O’Farrell takes the scant information about Lucrezia’s life and creates a character, a captivating setting and draws us into her tale.

The story begins in 1561 with the teenage Lucrezia fearing for her life, that her husband is about to kill her. It then pans back to the story of how she got to this point. Lucrezia grew up as the third daughter in a wealthy family in Florence. Lucrezia has a passion for animals and for art. She shares a secret bond with a captive tiger her father brings to Florence, an essential element of herself represented in the sad and fierce creature. Her life changes dramatically when her older sister dies and Lucrezia is chosen to replace her in her engagement to the Duke.

Alfonso begins the story as an observant and gentlemanly character but soon his ruthless and controlling side becomes apparent. Lucrezia rapidly becomes a caged creature, her worth measured by her ability to produce an heir for a man hitherto unable to produce one. As the tension increased I found myself rooting for the young and underestimated Lucrezia. Despite the difficult subject matter this was an engrossing read. ( )
  mimbza | Jun 10, 2024 |
3.5 stars ( )
  Abcdarian | May 18, 2024 |
Beautiful writing that really brings the setting (place and time) to life. I loved that aspect of it.

I'm a genre reader. This book doesn't do it for me in terms of plot or character. And the ending hit me wrong, and now I'm angry at the whole book. ( )
  caaleros | May 17, 2024 |
Definitely my favorite one by the author. ( )
  RaynaPolsky | Apr 23, 2024 |
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That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive.

                    ROBERT BROWNING, “MY LAST DUCHESS”
The ladies . . . are forced to follow the whims, fancies and dictates of their fathers, mothers, brothers and husbands, so that they spend most of their time cooped up within the narrow confines of their rooms, where they sit in apparent idleness, wishing one thing and at the same time wishing its opposite, and reflecting on various matters . . .

                    GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO, THE DECAMERON
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Lucrezia is taking her seat at the long dining table, which is polished to a watery gleam and spread with dishes, inverted cups, a woven circlet of fir.
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No one, she believes, has ever kissed her in her sleep before. She likes to place a palm over the place, after he has left the room, as if to keep it there, to stop it floating off into the air , like pollen.
She has access suddenly to the private, hidden life of the castello, the wrong side of its embroidery, with all the knots and weave and secrets on display.
The animal was orange, burnished gold, fire made flesh; she was power and anger; she was vicious and exquisite; she carried on her body the marks of a prison, as if she had been branded exactly for this, as if captivity had been her destiny all along. (p. 21)
Liquid was her motion, like honey dripping from a spoon. (p. 43)
Sofia was listening, leaning on, as if every syllable Lucrezia spoke was a fragile airborne filament of gold, to be caught, not permitted to float away. (p. 82)
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