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By GABRIELLE KIMM
RRP: $39.99, TPB, Sphere
A darkly seductive and luscious story of forbidden love set in 16th century Italy.
When 16-year-old Lucrezia de Medici marries the fifth Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d'Este, she imagines married 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 eventually Lucrezia decides to seek solace elsewhere. For Alfonso, the pressure mounts, for the Vatican is threatening to reclaim his title, should he and Lucrezia remain unable to produce an heir. He grows to resent his duchess and begins to plot an unthinkable way to escape his problems.
Originally inspired by a Robert Browning poem, Gabrielle Kimm has meticulously researched real events. Lucrezia and Alfonso were married in 1559. Three years later, she disappeared from the records . . . What really happened to her is still a mystery. This shimmering debut gorgeously brings to life the passions and people of 16th century Tuscany and Ferrara. It is a story you are unlikely to forget for a long time.
Gabrielle Kimm teaches English and drama at secondary school level. This is her first novel.