Wednesday, October 5, 2011

His Last Duchess by Gabrielle Kimm

I received a review copy of this novel from Sourcebooks. This in no way affected my opinions.

I very much enjoyed this novel that takes place in 16th century Italy. Inspired more by Robert Browning's poem than actual history, His Last Duchess tells the story of Lucrezia de' Medici, daughter of Cosimo I de' Medici and the ill-fated first wife of Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Modena and Ferrara.

Seeing as how Lucrezia was 16 at the time of her death, we see her as a very spirited young woman. Her death has always been clouded in mystery, so I was interested in how Kimm was going to end her life in this novel. While I pretty much guessed the end (a lucky guess, I think), I found it to be very clever. And while it's most likely not what happened, I was still was satisfied with it. I'd like to think that's what happened.

Alfonso was a very dark and disturbing man, and I was very much troubled every time I had to see things from his point of view. I very scared for Lucrezia, and knew doom was coming once she fell in love with a young painter.

I loved the side characters and am happy to see that Kimm's next book tells the continuing story of one of them. I'm looking forward to it.

Folks who love fiction about Renaissance Italy should be intrigued by this book. It had lovely prose and was full of romance and suspense.


Holly said...

Will definitely have to pick this one up. I love the cover! I think this would be great to read first and then follow up w/The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas (story of the 2nd wife).