The Marriage Portrait: A novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
September 2022
13 hours 21 minutes
WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION FINALIST • REESE’S BOOK CLUB 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 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.
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Sivan B.

I didn't think I was going to like it. Because this author really slows down to describe every detail of everything. And her books are always inching toward someone's death. But despite myself I loved this book. I prefer it significantly to Hamnet. Both the book and the narrator were great.

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Gorgeously written

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Cynthia P.

Excellent book. Very entertaining.

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Loved it

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Great book

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Tracy B.

This was a great listen if you enjoy historical fiction. It is, however based on true facts:)

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Cheryl Z.

Fabulous, gripping story! What women had to live through!!

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Teresa H.

Historical Fiction at it's finest!

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Enjoyed the story. I enjoyed the way the author tied things together and was very descriptive. The book jumps around in the story and in a few places I felt it got a bit confusing but I stuck with it and eventually it all made sense. I also thought the plot was made clear early in the story so I was almost waiting for it to happen.

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Joy B.

For me, it was difficult to follow because she jumped around too much. After I finished the book, I had to listen to a 15 minute YouTube summary to fully understand. Great plot though! If you like historical fiction, give it a try.

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Hannah L.

The audio equivalent of gazing at a portrait by Bronzino. Fantastic!!

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