Fatal Legacy – Lindsey Davis

Fatal Legacy - Lindsey Davis
Fatal Legacy – Lindsey Davis

Back to 1st Century AD Rome and some Flavia Albia sleuthing, this time into an unpaid bar bill which soon develops into a much more complicated case.

I found it hard keeping track of all the characters in the two warring families, partly because there are a lot of them but mainly because of how Roman personal names work; siblings and parents / children all share some of the same names.

Author page: Fatal Legacy – Lindsey Davis

Shrines of Gaiety – Kate Atkinson

Shrines of Gaiety - Kate Atkinson
Shrines of Gaiety – Kate Atkinson

London in the Roaring Twenties: women empowered by their experiences of the Great War, men scarred emotionally and physically.

Are the nightclubs ruled over by Nellie Coker Shrines of Gaiety or Dens of Iniquity? Both, really.

Another smashing novel from Kate Atkinson that blends the worlds of Jackson Brodie and the Todd family.

Author page: Shrines of Gaiety – Kate Atkinson

The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell

The Marriage Portrait - Maggie O'Farrell
The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell

Another wonderful historical novel by Maggie O’Farrell.

We are in 16th century Italy, still a patchwork of Dukedoms and city states, where Lucrezia de’ Medici, the third daughter of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Eleonora of Toledo, La Fecundissima, has been married  to Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara.

As the bride in this dynastic marriage, Lucrezia replaces her elder sister, Maria, following Maria’s death. Lucrezia is 13 at the time of the wedding in 1558. Three years later she is dead.

It’s wonderful and fascinating how a novelist can take such a slight array of facts and create something so rich and absorbing, and yet still so intensely personal.

Whilst it is written in a very different style from Hamnet (no tears were shed in the reading of this novel), the elaborate prose suits (Maggie O’Farrell’s) Lucrezia’s inner voice – she observes the world with an artist’s eye and experiences life and emotion in extremes,  as many teenagers do – and the richness of Italian Renaissance art.

I know nothing about Robert Browning’s famous poem My Last Duchess. The Marriage Portrait does not exist; but this portrait by Alessandro Allori does:

Alessandro Allori - Lucrezia de’ Medici - North Carolina Museum of Art.jpg

Other reviews:

Author page: The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell