Book Review: The Marriage Potrait by Maggie O’Farrell

This is my second book by the author and I had high expectations going into this one because I was really captivated by my last read by her titled ‘Hamnet’.

The ‘Marriage Portrait’ follows Lucrezia, the daughter of the Grand Duke of Florence as she is married off to Alphonso, ruler of Ferrara, Moderna and Regio in the place of her late sister, Maria. Having barely left childhood, Lucrezia is flung into a world quite different from what she knows and the most mysterious of them all is Alphonso, her husband. She finds that she has to play a role which is expected of her as she is now the Duchess of Ferrara or she might be in grave danger, even death. Set In Renaissance Italy, this is the retelling of the short but somewhat eventful life of Lucrezia de Medici.

I listened to the audio book version of this book and I believe it made my experience better. The exquisitely descriptive and poetic style in which this author writes her stories is fascinating. I was consumed by the story right from the beginning and I couldn’t wait to discover how this unassuming little girl would end up after her mind warns her of the impending danger ahead. Although as a character, I didn’t quite connect with the teenage Lucrezia as much as I did the child, Perhaps, it was because my expectations were that she would be a more fearless or bolder person than she was presented. However, when I began to put my teenage self in her shoes, I realized that she was really a brave one.

It is books like this that keep me hooked on the historical fiction genre and I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.

In a nutshell, I really enjoyed this one and I highly recommend to all historical fiction lovers.

Rating: 4 Stars

Published: September 6, 2022

Pages: 355

Genre: Historical Fiction



Maggie O’Farrell (born 1972, Coleraine Northern Ireland) is a British author of contemporary fiction, who features in Waterstones’ 25 Authors for the Future. It is possible to identify several common themes in her novels – the relationship between sisters is one, another is loss and the psychological impact of those losses on the lives of her characters.

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