Jerelyn's Reviews > The Second Duchess

The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
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Jan 20, 12

bookshelves: renaissance-16th-century
Read from January 15 to 19, 2012 — I own a copy

The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
It is always so gratifying to find a new author that really understands the historical fiction genre, someone that does not sex up or dumb down the story. Loupas tells us the story of the Archduchess Barbara of Austria who marries the Duke Alfonse of Ferrara. Despite the whispers that he had killed his beautiful young wife Lucrezia de’ Medici, Barbara comes to the ducal court to further both her brother the Holy Roman Emperor’s ambitions as well as her husband’s.

She doesn’t expect to be loved she knows she is not beautiful in truth she only wants to have a chance to live a life out of the cloister, and to have children. This is a part historical fiction part mystery and it is told in a unique way. First person in 2 parts, there is Barbara’s voice and surprisingly Lucrezia’s she is in between worlds for in fact she has been murdered and wants to see the villain punished.

The story begins as Barbara arrives in Ferrara the morning of her wedding day. The woman sent to dress her hair whispers to her; “He murdered his first duchess with his own hands, they say.” Barbara knows this she has heard it often enough. It is too late now anyway there has already been a proxy marriage; this day is just a formality. The duke is a cold, arrogant, controlling ass, and you can almost believe he did kill his first wife. Barbara has to know, if he did he or didn’t, she sets out to find out the truth. Only to be warned never to mention the first duchess by name, and to stop her meddling if she doesn’t, she too might share Lucrezia’s fate. But everyone and I mean everyone talks about her all the same.
I think that Loupas does a great job creating the atmosphere of a treacherous court in Renaissance Italy, she does take some liberties, with the known facts but to her credit she is very upfront about this in the afterwards. 5 stars, and I can’t wait to read what is next for Elizabeth Loupas, this is an author to watch.
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Reading Progress

01/18/2012 page 113
29.0% "I can see why everyone has liked this book. very good so far." 2 comments

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