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The Marriage Portrait: A novel av Maggie…
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The Marriage Portrait: A novel (urspr publ 2022; utgåvan 2022)

av Maggie O'Farrell (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,6428210,716 (3.96)111
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 to devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Moderna and Regio, 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 make her way in a troubled 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.… (mer)
Medlem:kent23124
Titel:The Marriage Portrait: A novel
Författare:Maggie O'Farrell (Författare)
Info:Knopf (2022), 352 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek, Ska läsas
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Marriage Portrait av Maggie O'Farrell (2022)

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Lucrezia, third daughter Cosimo de' Medici, finds herself betrothed, then married to Alfonso, heir to the Duke of Ferrara when her older sister, his original choice, dies. The story flits between her early life in Florence and her early married life. Underneath, throughout her marriage, her conviction that she will be killed by her apparently loving husband bubbles away. She's a Duchess now, her father-in-law having died. She's only 15, moe than 10 years younger than her husband. Although she's been brought up privileged, her new status brings with it loneliness and challenges. Virtually her only constant friend is her maid.

O'Farrell paints the pictures of her privileged life in such a way that we can hear, see and smell the scenes that surround her: her father's exotic menagerie; her husband's castrati singers; the sumptuous clothing; the simple bowls of fruit which she examines with her painterly eye - she is a talented artist.

This tale is a mixture of fact, of weaving in allusions learnt from Browning's poem My Last Duchess, from myth and fairytale and from gothic horror to create an engaging and highly pictorial story, which goes a long way towards helping us understand what it might have been to be Lucrezia: child, noblewoman, wife. ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
I read this novel while we were in Florence and so that may have affected how much I enjoyed it. By day I was wandering around the city and then meeting in my head again in the evening. This is set in 16th century Florence and based on the life of a real young woman, although little is known about her. Young Lucrezia, due to the death of her sister, is promised in marriage to Alfonso, a wealthy ruler. The Lucrezia Maggie O'Farrell chooses to show us is an artist, intelligent and energetic. Her parent's do not listen to Lucrezia's objections to the marriage by their difficult daughter. Alfonso is only interested in producing heirs and as Lucrezia's mother had been so productive he thought this would be an equally productive union. Maggie O'Farrell sets up a tense story, moving back and forth in time as Lucrezia sees the two faces of Alfonso, his kindness and his brutality and comes to understand the man she has married. The beauty and art of Renaissance Italy are in these pages, as well as darkness and cruelty. Lucrezia is well-drawn and I was so glad Maggie O'Farrell gave her the ending she did. ( )
  CarolKub | Mar 3, 2024 |
I read this book after reading another of Maggie O'Farrell's books, Hamnet, which I absolutely loved. This is another historical fiction based in 16th century Italy and follows Florence, the third daughter of the grand duke who is forced to marry.

This story was eye opening to the treatment of women in Renaissance Italy and the brutality of the elite. I really liked that O'Farrell brings the arts to her novels and uses them as an interweaving thread throughout. This one, as the name suggests, is steeped in portraiture which I found quite interesting. I learned that portraits were secretly painted by teams, with each person specialising in a different aspect and the final portrait being accredited to "the famous artist" who quite often did little of the actual work.

I story is written as a suspense but I found it dragged. There are some good twists though and the writing is beautiful. ( )
  Incredibooks | Mar 1, 2024 |
Beautifully written. Loved it. Feb 24 ( )
  ChristineMiller47 | Feb 18, 2024 |
I never expected to not like a book by Magggie O'Farrell. In fact I bought the book blind just by author and title--last time I do that. I found the theme dreary and the narrative way too long. All the detail did not manage to transport me to another time, it just sent me straight to yawns. ( )
  amaraki | Feb 11, 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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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 to devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Moderna and Regio, 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 make her way in a troubled 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.

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