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The Marriage Portrait  By  cover art

The Marriage Portrait

By: Maggie O'Farrell
Narrated by: Genevieve Gaunt
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Publisher's Summary

The woman in the portrait is perfect. So why does she feel so terrified, so alone?

Florence, the 1560s. Lucrezia, third daughter of Cosimo de' Medici, is free to wander the palazzo at will, wondering at its treasures and observing its clandestine workings. But when her older sister dies on the eve of marriage to Alfonso d'Este, 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 to accept on her behalf.

Having barely left girlhood, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appears 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 uncomfortable finery for the painting that is 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 Ferrarese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, her future hangs entirely in the balance.

©2022 Maggie O'Farrell (P)2022 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

What listeners say about The Marriage Portrait

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    4 out of 5 stars

Another great book by this author

Satisfyingly well written
This is an atmospheric and believable story. Occasionally I found the jumping back and forth in time confusing, kept me on my toes!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-31-22

UNDERPAINTING

Beautiful in every way and excellent narration. 4.5 stars - not as good as Hamnet but still wonderful. I shed a tear at the end. Seeing the author tomorrow night.

12 people found this helpful

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  • daisyrock
  • 09-13-22

Too much animal cruelty for me to enjoy

I've got an hour or two into this and will return it as the animal cruelty is too much for me. The writing is wonderful, but it's too gruesome for me to listen to for pleasure.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Geraldine Darlington
  • 10-10-22

Disappointing

Narration was rather flat and lacked engagement. I suspect the book comes over better when read rather than listened to. On a practical note, the idea that an oil painting can be taken fresh from painting and put inside a book is not credible. Oil paint takes weeks or months to dry. Thickly applied it can take up to a year. Both book and painting would have been ruined .

3 people found this helpful

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  • 3kinbits
  • 10-01-22

Just stunning !she's done it again!

I loved Hamnet as it was so moving. We however are kept at arm's length whilst getting to know the delicious Lucrezia (who keeps small rodents in her hair and despite her containment is wry and perceptive). The language is as luscious as the countryside. The weaving of gas lightning, intrigue and murder keep the plot broiling. I gorged myself in a few sittings. In a gut wrenching twist o' farell delivers a denouement that is satisfying and imaginatively done.
At times the narrator is too laconic and detatched for my taste but there is a bewitching quality to her pronunciation.

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  • Nikki Y
  • 09-28-22

Fascinating

Amazing tale of the Medici family and an arranged marriage. Devoured it. Beautifully written story

2 people found this helpful

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  • M. Hoareau
  • 09-26-22

Atmospheric and interesting

I was utterly gripped from the start, and felt I was fully transported to 16th century Italy. Brilliantly performed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel L Cole
  • 09-21-22

Brilliant!

Another super Maggie OF! Great narration and tense to the end - even though we all know the conclusion in advance! Loved it

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-20-22

Highly tense and beautifully written

I am so relieved to have finished TMP. I feel like I have been on edge since I started it a few days ago! It has taken over my thoughts and the main characters would not leave me alone.
From Lucrezia’s birth, through childhood, into her marriage and beyond, I totally empathised with her. MO’F has created a whole, rounded person.
Absolutely beautiful descriptions throughout of places and clothes and people’s appearances, of food and room decorations and if the countryside. I could almost feel the fabrics under my fingers.
It will take me some time to recover from TMP!!!
Congratulations to Maggie O’Farrell!

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  • Carolyn L.
  • 10-20-22

fabulous

stunningly haunting, I loved the main character and how beautifully written the story was. Will read again

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-20-22

Fantastic!!!

Fantastic story, very engaging. Historical detail fascinating - a thoughtful variation on ‘my last duchess’ and rooted in a true story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-20-22

Another compelling story by Maggie O’Farrell

I loved Hamnet and so couldn’t wait for this audiobook. The language is beautiful and compelling. I was enchanted and can’t wait for other works by this fabulous author. Narrator was excellent. Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-01-22

Fabulous!

Brilliant novel and an excellent performance. I felt tansported to 16th century Italy! Can't wait to listen to more of Maggie O'Farrell's books.

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  • Tex
  • 10-17-22

wonderful story

lovely imagery and the narration was perfect for the era and worth every minute of listening

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  • Hayley
  • 10-01-22

A Masterpiece

Superb story and superb narration. I can’t decide whether I prefer this or Hamnet. A winner all round.

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  • Marcia Abboud
  • 09-30-22

Epic Historical Fiction

Another masterpiece from Maggie O'Farrell. What a brilliant tale she has written about 16th century Italian royalty. A time in history when being a man was the advantage, and being born a woman, royalty or not, was pretty much a miserable existence. A story of triumph and hope for Lucrezia, the stories main protagonist, who's end is not what you expect. I was addicted from the beginning and didn't want it to end. Great narration by Genevieve Gaunt who bought this story to life with visual splendour. I'm adding this one to my favourites.

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  • Kyliemilo
  • 09-23-22

Loved this

I loved this story so much that I listened to it in two days. I loved the lead character and the her story broke my heart.