Monday, 9 August 2010

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: His Last Duchess - Gabrielle Kimm


When sixteen-year-old Lucrezia de' Medici marries the fifth Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d'Este, she imagines life with her handsome husband will be idyllic. But little does she know that he is a very complicated man. The marriage is fraught with difficulties from the start, and, as time passes, Lucrezia becomes increasingly alienated. For Alfonso, the pressure mounts as the Vatican threatens to reclaim his title should the couple remain unable to produce an heir. Only his lover Francesca seems able to tame his increasing fury. But Alfonso's growing resentment towards his duchess soon becomes unbearable, and he begins to plot an unthinkable way to escape his problems. Originally inspired by a Robert Browning poem, His Last Duchess gorgeously brings to life the passions and people of sixteenth-century Tuscany and Ferrara. It is a story you are unlikely to forget for a long time.


To be honest, this is a title that’s based on a poem and a pretty short one at that so there wasn’t really any background material to fall back upon for rounding the characters or for authenticity which unfortunately makes for a very weak title. This offering was not well written, the characters were pretty archetypal and to be blunt the author over padded this offering and not only made it something that really didn’t do much but took the story arc from plausible to improbable to the ridiculous. Personally I feel that I’ve been spoilt with historical fiction bodice rippers by authors like Philippa Gregory and really was given an inferior title by this author. Save your cash and vote with your pocket. If you have to read this offering borrow it from the library.

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