Title: The Second Duchess
Publisher: New American Library
Publish Date (UK) 21st April 2011
Genre: Historical fiction/mystery
Guest Reviewer: Blodeuedd
Barbara of Austria is brought to the city-state of Ferrara to marry Alfonso d’Este, the duke who is whispered to have murdered his first wife Lucrezia de Medici. No one has accused him but everyone still knows it had to be him. Barbara is not as beautiful or young as his first Duchess was, but she is clever and she knows that if she is to live here she must know the truth. Little by little she uncovers truths about Lucrezia’s many lovers, and someone is not happy that she is digging around and wants her to share the same fate.
This is based on real person that have lived. Lucrezia died young and people whispered things, even though now people think she might have died of TB. Barbara is also told to have been ugly, no way to put that nicely. Using the truth, and a poem by Robert Browning, Loupas creates a wonderful story.
This is also a mystery. Barbara talks to people and tries to make sense of what she hears. She puts the puzzle together to find the truth about what happened four years ago. She is a wonderful heroine who slowly finds her place at the court. The book is mostly told through her voice but at the end of every chapter Lucrezia comes in with a short story about what she has seen lately, she is sort of a ghost. The voice is perfect; a young woman who was all about lust, but still did not want to die. I can’t say I like her since what she did was wrong, but I understand her more and more.
The book was wonderful and rich. I was captivated by the story and wanted to know more. It was a mystery but at the same time not, and Loupas did well with putting in a mystery within this historical tale. It is a book I recommend to lovers of historical fiction and I hope the author will write more books.
Blodeuedd is an avid reader of fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fiction and all sorts of romance subgenres. Currently her favourite authors are Robert Jordan, Patricia Briggs, Gail Carriger, Michelle Moran and Suzanne McLeod (among many many more). When not reading you’ll find her in front of the computer blogging away over at Books for Life. She resides in Finland.
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