Misfit's Reviews > The Second Duchess

The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
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Jan 11, 2011

really liked it
Read in March, 2011

Barbara of Austria is the second duchess of Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara - his first duchess, Lucrezia de' Medici having died mysteriously several years before. Barbara may not be the great beauty that wife #1 was, but she's got brains and breeding and goes into the marriage with her eyes wide open and accepts her lot in life. Well sort of, because she's soon hearing unsettling rumors that Lucrezia may have met an untimely end and Barbara decides to investigate for herself, which is no easy task when one's every move is observed and reported back to one's husband. No surprise, but Barbara finds she's opened a bigger can of worms then she really wanted and she finds herself having a few too many close accidents. Could it be Alfonso himself who did in Lucrezia and now has the same plans for her? One of his jealous sisters? Or his brother the Cardinal? Or...

...I'm thinking you really don't want me to tell you, do you? It's a lot more fun to read it for yourself and see if you can guess. I enjoyed this book a lot, and found it a great change of pace and I'm hoping there will be more from Ms. Loupas in the near future. There are two narrators in this piece, one being Barbara and so as not to spoil the fun I won't name the other but trust me, you'll love the twist and the voice of both ladies, and that says a lot coming from one who doesn't normally care for first person narratives. Barbara's voice was very much what I would expect from a woman of her class and breeding, no foot stamping demanding *twu wuv* forever. No hysterical pouts when she doesn't get her way with her husband. How refreshing.

Ms. Loupas does a great job with her setting, giving the reader a good sense of time and place with realistic characters acting appropriately to their positions. All in all a very engaging read, a great mystery that keeps you guessing and turning the pages until the very end. Recommended.

FTC disclosure - I won a copy off of Librarything.
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Reading Progress

03/17/2011 page 20
5.0% "Damn, I think I like this." 1 comment
03/18/2011 page 40
11.0% "The husband " 5 comments
03/18/2011 page 57
15.0% "The first (and now dead) wife
Lucrezia de' Medici? " 1 comment
03/19/2011 page 97
26.0% "Barbara digs deeper into what happened to wife #1 and the Duke is none too thrilled [image error]"
03/19/2011 page 117
32.0% ""His voice was calm and pleasant, as if he had never threatened me, never beaten me, never forbidden me to leave the palace without his consent. As if one of my ladies-of-honor had not collapsed in convulsions an hour before, after eating a confection meant for me. I wondered what he would say if I refused, although of course I did not dare."" 2 comments
03/19/2011 page 198
54.0% "So just who did off the first duchess?" 2 comments
07/24/2017 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 74) (74 new)


message 1: by Paula (new) - added it

Paula Thanks for the heads up, I always forget about the giveaway program, Hope the UK is covered!


Misfit Good luck and hope UK is in it. I put in a purchase request at the library and it's just shown up on my holds list so they've ordered some.


message 3: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas Penguin's doing the giveaway and it says only the US is included. :( But I have some ARCs I'm going to give away in a couple of weeks on my blog and I'll send them anywhere! (she says recklessly. Heh)


Misfit Good for you, but be warned, international postage is expensive.


message 5: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas I'll figure out a way. :)

I sent an ARC to a reviewer in Canada a couple of weeks ago, and I think it was $9.00 and change. Filling out all the customs forms was almost more annoying than the price.


Misfit Elizabeth wrote: "I'll figure out a way. :)

I sent an ARC to a reviewer in Canada a couple of weeks ago, and I think it was $9.00 and change. Filling out all the customs forms was almost more annoying than the price."


The UK is a whoooooooooooooooole lot more trust me.


message 7: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas Just went and checked it on the USPS website. Looks like it would be about $30.00. Gulp. Well, I'm game. Bring it on, UK entrants!


Misfit Elizabeth wrote: "Just went and checked it on the USPS website. Looks like it would be about $30.00. Gulp. Well, I'm game. Bring it on, UK entrants!"

I hear OZ is even worse, the postage usualy costs more than the books and Amazon doesn't have Super Saver Shipping there. I'd die :/


message 9: by Jemidar (last edited Jan 11, 2011 11:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jemidar I'd love a free copy Elizabeth, but as I'm in Oz I'll save you the postage and just buy one :-).

Misfit, I couldn't live without a friend with a bookshop or The Book Depository with free worldwide shipping. Amazon and B&N's shipping has always been expensive, so I've only ever used them when I've absolutely had too, but because books are so expensive here sometimes the Amazon price plus shipping is cheaper or equivalent to the price we would pay if we walked into a shop to buy them. Plus there's more variety online :-).


Misfit Oh, I agree there are so many books out there and it isn't possibly for any one store to sell them all. Not even Chapters. If you ever get to Canada you must check them out. The one on Robson Street in Vancouver was to die for. Three storeys of books.

Robson Street is the Rodeo Drive of the North. Furs, cigars, shoes, fancy dresses, etc. Where do I shop and what do I bring home?

BOOKS!


Jemidar Ummm...what else would you buy???? ;-D


Misfit Jemidar wrote: "Ummm...what else would you buy???? ;-D"

Darn tootin' that's all I bought. I was in hog heaven, as in Canada you can find Chadwick and Barbara Erskine just laying around on the bookshelves.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* PLEASE...PLEASE...include Canada!? :(


message 14: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas Canada is absolutely in! Although you'll have to enter on my blog for one of the ARCs.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* You made my day Elizabeth! Thank-you! :)


Misfit Sandi wrote: "You made my day Elizabeth! Thank-you! :)"

Good luck Sandi, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Thanks Misfit..I really would like to read this one!
Trying to keep the purse strings tighter & do the library thing..but we know how that goes here! :(


Misfit Sandi wrote: "Thanks Misfit..I really would like to read this one!
Trying to keep the purse strings tighter & do the library thing..but we know how that goes here! :("


Same here, which is why I am so thankful to have such a well funded county library.


message 19: by Cryssa (new) - added it

Cryssa Misfit wrote: "Oh, I agree there are so many books out there and it isn't possibly for any one store to sell them all. Not even Chapters. If you ever get to Canada you must check them out. The one on Robson Stree..."

I can definately chime in here. I live in Canada and I work in a building with a 2 story Chapters. Running down for "coffee" is a whole new experience. Books as far as the eye can see and if they don't have it, they will order it free of charge. I guess we're spoiled here.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Downtown Toronto Cryssa? The Worlds Biggest Bookstore?


Misfit Sandi wrote: "Downtown Toronto Cryssa? The Worlds Biggest Bookstore?"

Oooh, I've seen pictures and Michele's been there. I wish...


message 22: by Cryssa (new) - added it

Cryssa Misfit wrote: "Sandi wrote: "Downtown Toronto Cryssa? The Worlds Biggest Bookstore?"

Oooh, I've seen pictures and Michele's been there. I wish..."


OMG! That place was heaven when I was growing up. Back then, we only had small bookstores and it was hit and miss if you wanted to find something. That was the first of its kind. Now we have Chapters/Indigo bookstores everywhere and they are all huge.


Gaile So much snow in Canada, they need books to pass the winter!


message 24: by Cryssa (new) - added it

Cryssa I'm not denying it. LOL. Letting me loose in Chapters is like letting an alcoholic loose in a liquor store.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Cryssa wrote: "I'm not denying it. LOL. Letting me loose in Chapters is like letting an alcoholic loose in a liquor store."

SO true Cryssa! too funny! I live a half hour from The Worlds Biggest Book Store...too tempting!!!


Misfit Cryssa wrote: "I'm not denying it. LOL. Letting me loose in Chapters is like letting an alcoholic loose in a liquor store."

I know, that's how I was at the Chapters on Robson. I spent hours there.


Misfit Just spotted this on Librarything's ER giveaways. Go and enter if you are a member.


message 28: by Cryssa (new) - added it

Cryssa Thanks, I'll look into it.


message 29: by Elizabeth (last edited Feb 08, 2011 07:19AM) (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas Next Saturday, the 19th, I'll post the giveaway for two signed ARCs on my blog, with international entries welcome! Be there or be square. :)

ETA: Actually it's a week from Saturday. Duh.


message 30: by Jewel (new)

Jewel You guys are so lucky for getting books from a library, where I am I have to buy all my books, from another city.
Even when I used to work in a library still couldn't get what I wanted, it was a college library! And we had lots of limitations and censorship issues for fiction.

And a BIG thanks to Elizabeth for including international, most of the giveaways are not.


Misfit Elizabeth, let us know when the giveaway is up on the blog.

Jewel, I am very very very lucky to live in King County. They end up getting just about everything. Plus my local branch is barely a block out of my way.


message 32: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas I will!


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Jewel..your not alone I have the worst library I swear! I *sigh* when I see the books Misfit can get from her library :( Ive tried to get some of those books & they look at me as if Im from another planet.
And yes..thank you Elizabeth for including us..not many authors will..and even if I dont win..its on my Amazon.ca wish list ready to order! :)


Misfit Sandi wrote: "Jewel..your not alone I have the worst library I swear! I *sigh* when I see the books Misfit can get from her library :( Ive tried to get some of those books & they look at me as if Im from another..."

King County rocks.


Misfit Give away spotted over at Amy's blog. US and CA only. Details here, http://www.passagestothepast.com/2011...


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Thanks Misfit! :)


Misfit Sandi wrote: "Thanks Misfit! :)"

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.


message 38: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas And my international giveaway is still coming up this Saturday, the 19th! I'll post the links and details on Saturday itself.


message 39: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas More giveaways! I think everybody's seen the one on Passages to the Past? If not, go to www.passagestothepast.com.

Also, today only, former agent and publishing guru-ess Colleen Lindsay is giving away one book... to enter, all you have to do is follow me on Twitter by 5pm Eastern time. Not surprisingly, I'm @elizabethloupas. :)


message 40: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Loupas I've posted the ARC giveaway post to my blog here:

http://www.elizabethloupas.com/2011/0...

Two signed ARCS, international entries welcome. Open to comments through midnight CST next Friday 2/25.

I do just want to thank you all so much for your interest in my beloved Duchess. :)


Misfit Elizabeth wrote: "I've posted the ARC giveaway post to my blog here:

http://www.elizabethloupas.com/2011/0...

Two signed ARCS, international entries welcome. Open to comments th..."


Thanks for letting us know Elizabeth. Go and enter now and good luck. I'll wait for the library copy and take one "competitor" out of the mix.


message 42: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Chevrestt Is there any way to PREVENT Harriet from reading a book? I'm dead serious. When my book comes out next year, I don't want Harriet within twenty feet of it. Does she read ebooks? Am I safe?


Misfit Tara wrote: "Is there any way to PREVENT Harriet from reading a book? I'm dead serious. When my book comes out next year, I don't want Harriet within twenty feet of it. Does she read ebooks? Am I safe?"

I swear no one is safe from that woman.

PS, I just checked into librarything. I won a copy. Woohoo.


message 44: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie Wow, Harriet is inching up toward Review #24,000


Misfit I know, it seems like just yesterday she hit 20K :D


message 46: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Chevrestt I hate that too. (Reviews that complain about price) I think it is ok to bellyache about price, as long as your remark is mentioned in a valid review. The review should not be strictly about price though. Grrrr.


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

I've been reading up on this Harriet woman (I use Amazon UK so hadn't crossed paths) and am amazed at how much time people spend bashing her and following her about online! Even if her reviews are dubious, what does it matter to people? I guess the US Amazon is a far more competitive place?

Tara, you're publishing a book? Congratulations!!! :)


Misfit Lauren wrote: "I've been reading up on this Harriet woman (I use Amazon UK so hadn't crossed paths) and am amazed at how much time people spend bashing her and following her about online! Even if her reviews are ..."

Harriet watching is a major entertainment sport at Amazon. From her inexplicable sentences, to downright getting the books completely wrong.


message 49: by Iset (new) - rated it 4 stars

Iset Misfit wrote: "Oh, I agree there are so many books out there and it isn't possibly for any one store to sell them all. Not even Chapters. If you ever get to Canada you must check them out. The one on Robson Stree..."

That's nothing. The Waterstones across the road from my university has five storeys of books. :D It's heaven. Sometimes I spend my time between lectures in there just soaking up the atmosphere or making a guilty purchase (guilty because of my thin wallet as a student).


Gaile Tara wrote: "Is there any way to PREVENT Harriet from reading a book? I'm dead serious. When my book comes out next year, I don't want Harriet within twenty feet of it. Does she read ebooks? Am I safe?"

Who is this Harriet?


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