Alyssa's Reviews > The Second Duchess

The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
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's review
Mar 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction
Recommended for: anyone who likes historical fiction, mystery
Read on May 05, 2011 — I own a copy

The problem that I find with reading historical fiction is that half the time I’m bogged down by too many facts and trying to keep up with too many characters to fully enjoy the story. However, I found none of those problems with this book and in fact I managed to finish it in one sitting because it was just such a riveting read. The book is narrated in alternating POV of the second duchess, Barbara of Austria and her deceased predecessor, the duchess Lucrezia de Medici. When the second duchess started to ask uncomfortable questions about the circumstance behind Lucrezia’s death, she finds herself the subject of several assassination attempts which further strengthened her resolve to investigate Lucrezia’s death.

In addition, story focuses on the second duchess’ relationship with her husband which is atypical of aristocratic patriarchal society although I was a bit shocked about the domestic abuse incident. I never knew it was acceptable behaviour back in that polite society era for a man to beat up his wife, but anyhow, that wasn’t the focus of the story and the Duke did grow to become a more endearing character by the end of the book.

What I really enjoyed about this novel was that it read like a delicious gossip: did the Duke kill his first wife? Do you think the second wife is going to find out the truth? Will she get killed in the process? So what happened to the first wife anyway, and why did someone kill her? Those were the questions I had on my mind and this novel did a splendid job weaving an intricate story that answered all of those questions.

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