The Marriage Portrait

A novel

    • 4.1 • 434 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

REESE’S BOOK CLUB DECEMBER PICK • NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • The author of award-winning Hamnet brings the world of Renaissance Italy to jewel-bright life in this unforgettable fictional portrait of the captivating young duchess Lucrezia de' Medici as she makes her way in a troubled court.

“I could not stop reading this incredible true story.” —Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club December ’22 Pick)

"O’Farrell pulls out little threads of historical detail to weave this story of a precocious girl sensitive to the contradictions of her station ... You may know the history, and you may think you know what’s coming, but don’t be so sure."The Washington Post

Florence, the 1550s. Lucrezia, third daughter of the grand duke, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the 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 just as quick to accept on her behalf.
Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now enter an unfamiliar court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her new husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appeared to be 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 constricting finery for a painting intended 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 Ferranese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, the new duchess’s future hangs entirely in the balance.
Full of the beauty and emotion with which she illuminated the Shakespearean canvas of Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell turns her talents to Renaissance Italy in an extraordinary portrait of a resilient young woman’s battle for her very survival.

Fiction & Literature
September 6
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Marzipan24 ,

Still good work

I love Maggie O’Farrell and have read all her fictional work. Giving the “end” at the beginning made me apprehensive throughout the story and slow my reading down very much because I loved the main character so much. But in the end I still appreciate O’Farrell’s writing and wound up liking the end.

Great Music Luvr ,

Gripping story, vivid writing

Turns out this is my 3rd O’Farrell book in less than a year (Hamnet and her memoir essays the others). She’s got a knack for creating vivid details and weaving fascinating stories. Brava!

Willowtreephoenix ,

Wrongly reviewed and overrated

This book has one good thing and that's the occasional imagery. It follows an unlovable protagonist through a journey on which she experiences no character growth. Reading it is dull and the ending will make you feel angry. I mean it genuinely when I say that this book is a waste of time.

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