His Last Duchess

( 48 )

Overview

That's my last duchess painted on the wall...

Seduced by the hot sun and blinding passions of Renaissance Italy, sixteen-year-old Lucrezia de' Medici sees a gilded life stretching ahead. Her wealthy new husband handpicked her to be his bride, and his great castle in Ferrara will be her playground. But Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara quickly proves to be just as dangerous and mysterious as he is dark and handsome, and the stone walls of the ...

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His Last Duchess

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Overview

That's my last duchess painted on the wall...

Seduced by the hot sun and blinding passions of Renaissance Italy, sixteen-year-old Lucrezia de' Medici sees a gilded life stretching ahead. Her wealthy new husband handpicked her to be his bride, and his great castle in Ferrara will be her playground. But Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara quickly proves to be just as dangerous and mysterious as he is dark and handsome, and the stone walls of the castle seem to trap Lucrezia like a prison.

Only the duke's lover Francesca seems able to tame his increasing fury, as his desperate need to produce an heir drives him deep into precarious obsession. With her head full of heartbroken dreams, Lucrezia flees from him down a dangerous path that may cost her everything.

Step into the elegant world of the Robert Browning poem "My Last Duchess," as imagined by Gabrielle Kimm, where she brings to life the passions and people of sixteenth-century Tuscany and Ferrara. It is a chilling story of forbidden love and dark decadence that will haunt you.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Kimm neatly ties up all the loose ends while cleverly setting the stage for a spin-off. Poetry enthusiasts will be intrigued and historical fiction fans will appreciate the authentic Renaissance-era detailing.
Readin and Dreamin
It had lovely prose and was full of romance and suspense.
Debbie's Book Bag
There are so many twists and turns that the reader will have a hard time figuring out how this one will end.
Aisle B
His Last Duchess will grab you and be prepared for the twisted moments artfully crafted by Gabrielle Kimm. Trust me you don't want to miss this chilling tale from Renaissance Italy. The strokes of darkness and love combined make this a MUST READ!
Kirkus Reviews
A saucy account of Lucrezia de' Medici's ill-fated marriage, inspired by Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess."

In Browning's masterpiece, the Duke speaks of his last Duchess on the wall, painted by Fra Pandolf, "looking as if she were alive." In this, Kimm's second novel, she creates the circumstances that lead up to the ominous moment when the Duchess is dead and the Duke jealously guards the painting's likeness. The Duchess is Lucrezia de' Medici, the teenage heir to a considerable 16th-century fortune who is set to marry the powerful Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara. The excitement of the marriage ceremony is overshadowed by the misery of the marriage night—the Duke cannot perform. We learn it is no medical matter—the Duke's mistress Francesca has two of his children—but a matter of temperament. Lucrezia's innocent beauty prevents his "stiffening." He keeps trying, but his withering penis (it's practically a character itself) is beginning to turn him mad. The Duke's madness—a buzzing in his head, an obsessive fury and relief found only in the cool confines of the castle dungeon—is a modern take on Browning's villain, and makes the Duke credible. After two years of an issueless marriage to Lucrezia, the Pope is threatening to take away Ferrara if he does not produce a legitimate heir. Meanwhile, the Duke has hired Fra Pandolf to paint a large fresco and Lucrezia is unexpectedly taken with his assistant, Jacomo. The two begin an affair and plan to run away together, once they figure out how to solve the mountain of complications their escape would create. The Duke, more desperate and sadistic than ever, has decided to poison Lucrezia, but not before Fra Pandolf paints her portrait, so he can once and for all possess her. Far more erudite than the average bodice-ripper, the novel straddles the line between the gravity of historical fiction and the trite predictability of romance.

Few surprises, but a punchy end redeems the occasional awkwardness.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402261510
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 797,497
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Gabrielle Kimm is a graduate of the creative writing master's program at the University of Chichester. She is writing her second novel, The Courtesan's Lover, which features one of the characters of His Last Duchess as the heroine. www.gabriellekimm.co.uk

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 5, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book with great story line. Stayed up late to finish it.

    Great book with great story line. Stayed up late to finish it.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    Pretty good

    I enjoyed it. What it lacks in historical depth it makes up with drama and romance.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing Dark Romance!

    The beginning started slow for me, but I like to give an author a couple chapters to lure me into finishing the entire book – and Gabrielle Kimm did that. I thought the mild start served a purpose; it shows Lucrezia’s innocence and gentle heart. As she matures, she maintains some of that innocence and discovers what she desires in life, and a spouse. Her husband, the Duke, is a dark character and becomes this ominous shadow that makes this romance different from many others I’ve read.

    Honestly, I had doubts about this story for a few chapters, but I was glued to this book for the last hundred or so pages and couldn’t put it down. I was surprised by the emotions this book invoked. I loved Lucrezia, her naivety, and compassion. The Duke made me uncomfortable, had me on constant alert, and became this character I despised. There were certain sections where I wondered why the author created these other characters, but I grew to care about each of them, and they were vital to the story. Gabrielle Kim did a magnificent job tying up all the loose ends and settling any “what happened to so-and-so” questions I had.

    Very good read!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    This book was pretty good. I would recommend if you have some t

    This book was pretty good. I would recommend if you have some time on your hands. I liked the location/time period it was written for. I just kept feeling like something else should happen, so I guess it could use a little more depth. Some parts of it seemed out of place, and I found it hard to get through those parts. Overall, though, a nice story, with a decent ending.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Gracey-7

    I couldn't make it thru 50 pages of this book. Who wants to read about a grown man trying to be with a 16 year old girl. So disgusting! I will be deleting this book out of my library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    Wonderful, tension-filled romance

    Thoroughly enjoyed this. Very likable, realistic characters in a very detailed, lush setting. I completely lost myself in this world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Okay this is my first review.. because this is the first time th

    Okay this is my first review.. because this is the first time that i
    have felt compelled to write one... DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK WITHOUT READING
    SAMPLE FIRST. I ready the prologue and the first paragraph, and was
    done. I felt the author tried to use "big words" and was
    constantly repetitive in order to make up for her lack of talent. I
    understand using descriptive words. And i Don't expect to know every
    word but when i have to look up about 3 words in a single paragraph..
    thats taking it too far

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Not so good...

    The story had great potential, but did not live up to it. There were many scenes in the book where I was very anxious to see what happened next, but disappointed when it just became long and "dragged" out and I just wanted it to be over! There was also a scene that was kinda "sick"- (ie. dead girl). The ending was also "short & sweet"; would liked to have seen more to "wrap it up" better, so to speak. I would give this author a 2nd try (if it's free) to see if there were improvements to her writing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Waste of $$$$

    I did not like this book at all. A waste of good money. Story was about a deranged Duke and his abuse of his young bride, AND Pet dog. The bride then has an affair with an artist. I plan on deleating this book ASAP!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    A good book!

    This was a good book! Gabrielle Kimm is a wonderful author who spins a great historical story. I did find times in the story where I begin to feel a little antsy...and wished she would push forward with the plot. But overall, a good book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Not bad

    The ending was pretty disappointing. Not my favorite, but not bad.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2012

    I dont usually bother writing reviews. But I really enjoyed this

    I dont usually bother writing reviews. But I really enjoyed this book. And I'll deffinently read more by this author!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Liked it

    HISTORICAL FICTION IS ALWAYS A FUN READ AND THIS ONE IS NO EXCEPTION

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    Facinating

    This book was difficult to put down. Alfonso both intrigued and disgusted me. I enjoyed learning about this time period through the light of these historical characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    This book was just ok.

    His Last Duchess was just an ok read. It was clear the author did her research on the process of frescos. I don't think the little side stores tied together very well in the end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    Thoroughly enjoyed it; couldn't put it down.

    This is the first book I've read of Gabrielle Kimm, but won't be the last! It was a page-turner -- I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I thoroughly enjoyed His Last Duchess.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good Read

    Good historical romance. Don,t care if the setting is time period correct its a Novel not a History book. Well worth your time to read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Read it!

    Book was good. Story line was interesting. Ending was cool!

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Great Book

    I highly recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    left some questions

    I really liked this book but it did leave some questions as to what had happened to some characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews

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