AUTHOR | Maggie O'Farrell
Maggie O’Farrell is the author of Hamnet, and the memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am. Both of those were No. 1 Sunday Times bestsellers. Her many novels include After You’d Gone, My Lover’s Lover, The Distance Between Us, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, The Hand that First Held Mine, Instruction for a Heatwave, and This Must be the Place. For her writing, she has received such distinguished awards as the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the 2010 Costa Novel Award. The Marriage Portrait was selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club. Additionally, Maggie is the author of two children’s books and lives in Edinburgh.
Set in Florence in the 1500s, the novel centers around Lucrezia di Cosimo de’Medici, the artistic and largely obscure third daughter of the duke. Her life forever changes when her elder sister dies on the eve of her wedding, thrusting Lucrezia into a marriage to the ruler of Ferrero, Modena, and Reggio. As a young bride, Lucrezia finds herself in an unfamiliar court, amidst some not so enthusiastic about her arrival. Her husband is difficult for her to fathom: sometimes the playful sophisticate; sometimes an art appreciator; sometimes a ruthless politician. With her proximity to power, Lucrezia realizes that her paramount responsibility is to provide an heir for the Ferranese dynasty. Despite her rank and nobility, Lucrezia’s future truly hangs in the balance until then.
With succinct and beautiful language, Maggie O’Farrell creates a compelling and believable portrait of a woman who must use her mind and moxie to survive.