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The Marriage Portrait

Best Seller
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell
Hardcover $28.00
Sep 06, 2022 | ISBN 9780593320624

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  • Sep 06, 2022 | ISBN 9780593320624

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Product Details

Praise

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: TIME • GOODREADS

ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE NOMINEE

“[A] glittering, propulsive new novel . . . Few writers play as confidently with the nuts and bolts of language, and historical characters netted from the past. O’Farrell adroitly shrinks Lucrezia to her own vanishing point, even if the probable cause of the duchess’s demise was a pulmonary embolism rather than poison. O’Farrell’s creative license beautifully frames the chasms that open up between husband and wife, implicating an institution that has galvanized our canonical writers, including the Victorian poet Robert Browning, whose dramatic monologue ‘My Last Duchess’ was inspired by Branzino’s portrait of Lucrezia.” —Oprah Daily

“O’Farrell intelligently connects Lucrezia’s trapped circumstances with the art that her husband, a notable patron and collector, commissions to immortalize her . . . There is a blinding power to the heightened, almost fetishistic beauty of Renaissance art, this novel suggests as it portrays a world of far greater brutality and fierceness.” —Wall Street Journal

“[O’Farrell] has spun pure gold out of this tragic history . . . The Marriage Portrait builds a rich interior world while vividly re-creating an era, in this case the Italian Renaissance, a period overflowing with intrigue and pomp, rustling heavy fabrics and glowing frescoes, blood and lust and the desire for power.”Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“This duchess certainly looks and sounds and feels as if she were alive . . . O’Farrell has an uncanny ability to put us in Lucrezia’s very unusual shoes. One experiences, viscerally, Lucrezia’s exhaustion and terror when she is abandoned in a strange place a few hours after her marriage, her giddy excitement and expansive feeling of freedom in the early days of her marriage, her revulsion and fear as her husband’s ‘fury and contempt’ emerge . . . The final twist is so unexpected and so gorgeously executed that it brought this reader to tears. With it, O’Farrell demonstrates fiction’s ability to offer counter narratives to those of received history, to open before us imaginative abundance and a tremulous sense of possibility.”The Boston Globe

“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. O’Farrell and Lucrezia, with her ‘crystalline, righteous anger,’ will always be one step ahead of you.. . . O’Farrell [is] one of the most exciting novelists alive.”The Washington Post

“A transporting narrative revives a teenager mostly forgotten by history.” People Magazine

“Captivating . . . The Marriage Portrait is an emotionally intense read, lushly draped in atmospheric details . . . O’Farrell’s latest masterpiece presents a sumptuous portrait of a woman’s purposeful determination to break the bars of her gilded cage.”Christian Science Monitor

“Thrilling . . . As the novel’s two timelines draw together, O’Farrell builds intense suspense. As always, her prose is beautiful, her characters finely drawn, her story wonderfully surprising. Browning’s Alfonso might have closed a curtain over the portrait of his duchess to declare her his possession, but O’Farrell rips that curtain away and gives her a life.”Tampa Bay Times

“[A] poetically written, multilayered novel . . . O’Farrell creates another mesmerizing portrait of a Renaissance-era woman whose life is shrouded in mystery . . .  Historical-fiction readers will love the cultural details, while Lucrezia’s plight speaks to modern themes of gaslighting and women’s agency . . . O’Farrell shines at instilling elegantly described scenes with human feeling, such as Lucrezia’s wedding preparations and her sense of inner strength while viewing the sunrise transform the sky at Alfonso’s country villa. The author proves equally skilled at evoking suspense.”Booklist [starred review]

“A vivid depiction of the harsh manners and rigid expectations for women within ducal courts in 16th-century Italy . . . O’Farrell is a marvelous stylist, and The Marriage Portrait is full of the same kinds of intense details that made Hamnet come alive. Her characters are captivating and believable, and the landscape of Renaissance Italy is a veritable gift to the senses, so powerfully does O’Farrell evoke the sights, sounds and smells of forest, castle and barnyard.” BookPage, [starred review]

“A riveting tale about one woman’s fight for autonomy.” Real Simple

“Finely detailed. . . . This beguiling tale of power, politics and one woman’s fight for agency is yet another masterpiece by the author of Hamnet.The Globe and Mail

“Lush, provocative . . . A captivating portrait of a woman attempting to free herself from a golden cage. Fans of the accomplished Hamnet won’t be disappointed by this formidable outing.” —Publishers Weekly [starred review]

“A compelling portrait of a young woman out of step with her times . . . a vivid portrait of a turbulent age and a vibrant heroine.” Kirkus Reviews

Awards

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction LONGLIST 2023

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