His Last Duchess, Paperback
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


When sixteen-year-old Lucrezia de' Medici marries the fifth Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d'Este, she imagines 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, as time passes, Lucrezia becomes increasingly alienated.

For Alfonso, the pressure mounts as the Vatican threatens to reclaim his title should the couple remain unable to produce an heir.

Only his lover Francesca seems able to tame his increasing fury.

But Alfonso's growing resentment towards his duchess soon becomes unbearable, and he begins to plot an unthinkable way to escape his problems. Originally inspired by a Robert Browning poem, His Last Duchess gorgeously brings to life the passions and people of sixteenth-century Tuscany and Ferrara.

It is a story you are unlikely to forget for a long time.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical romance
  • ISBN: 9780751544503



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I really wanted to give this a higher rating, I really did but sadly, the one thing that prevented a higher grading allocation was the writing. This is in no way the fault of the author. I just couldn't get into the writing. His last duchess tells the story of a young de' Medici heiress, Lucrezia married to the Duke of Ferrara - Alfonso D'Este. At a tender age of 16, she could easily imagine herself settling into marriage with the perpetually black-clad Duke. However, Lucrezia soon finds herself disillusioned and stuck in a loveless marriage. The cast of characters, I have to admit,were vivid and well-drawn. Alfonso, was dark and brooding, with demons of his own nagging from all sides. He was an interesting character to read about though unsympathetic. Lucrezia, even with the Duke's constant scrutiny or fractious side, was irrepressible in spirit and generous with largesse. The talented and ever-loyal Jacomo, who indubitably plays a large part in the story as well.My biggest complaint is that the first 100 pages or so was prurient and hard to get through. Fortunately, it does get better after that. Even if I did not enjoy this as much as I thought I would, I still think it is a well-written book and would recommend to those who love historical fiction. Who knows? This might be the book for you.

Review by

Facts: 16-year-old Lucrezia de Medici marries 5th Duke of Ferrera, Alfonso d' Este. The Vatican threatens to reclaim their title if the couple remains unable to produce heir. 3 years after marriage, Lucrezia vanishes from Earth and pages of history. Robert Browning wrote an immortalising poem called 'The Last Duchess'. This novel is fictionalised account of marriage of Lucrezia and Alfonso - where Duke wants to get rid of Duchess who has 'unmanned' him in their marriage bed. Duke of Ferrera marries twice after and remains without a legitimate heir, as a result his Duchy is indeed reclaimed by Vatican.