His Last Duchess

His Last Duchess

3.2 49
by Gabrielle Kimm
     
 

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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

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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!

From the Publisher
A saucy account of Lucrezia de' Medici's ill-fated marriage, inspired by Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess."

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.

This strong first novel is marked by well-developed, memorable protagonists and a pacing that quickens and builds readers' anxiety as the story progresses.

I, personally, cannot wait to see what Gabrielle Kimm has next to offer.

It had lovely prose and was full of romance and suspense.

The book is well researched, well written with subtlety blended plot lines that will have you routing for Lucrezia as the book nears the end. It's a compelling read that I certainly think can't fail to please. I thoroughly recommend this as a very readable, enjoyable, and illustrative book about this famous family.

There are so many twists and turns that the reader will have a hard time figuring out how this one will end.

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!

Passion, heartbreak, illicit affairs and sorrow makes this a must read — fabulous!

Gabrielle Kimm rivals authors like Philippa Gregory and Jean Plaidy with her descriptive historical romantic style-especially where intrigue lies.

I immensely enjoyed this novel and very highly recommend it — guaranteed to please.

His Last Duchess has some wonderfully poignant moments, some very suspenseful moments and a great villain (her husband.) This is a well written historical fiction book, rich in detail and if you like this genre, you'll love His Last Duchess.

"His Last Duchess" is a unique novel in historical fiction. This is the kind of novel that will leave you feeling a range of emotions. One thing is for sure, you won't want to put it down!

The plot of this luscious tale intensifies with every page turn as the characters converge to an exciting climax. The tension mounts with every chapter, keeping me interested until the end. And who cannot resist a tale of love and lust sprinkled with the madness and desperation of an evil antagonist set in the luscious background of the Renaissance? I immensely enjoyed this novel and very highly recommend it — guaranteed to please.

I think all historical fiction fans will find this to be a worthwhile read. Step into the passions of sixteenth century. Follow a story of forbidden love and darkness that will haunt you.

I will say no more about the plot: your coffee will go cold reading this novel and I don't want to give anything away. Integral to its pace is the balance within its characters; there are no cardboard stereotypes here. Complex psychology is demonstrated in dialogue and actions appropriate to the period (to some extent Alfonso is a product of his time), but they are essentially, deeply human and in that sense are timeless.

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
Publication date:
10/01/2011
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
416
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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His Last Duchess 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it. What it lacks in historical depth it makes up with drama and romance.
danja More than 1 year ago
Great book with great story line. Stayed up late to finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
LHRoman More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Very likable, realistic characters in a very detailed, lush setting. I completely lost myself in this world.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ending was pretty disappointing. Not my favorite, but not bad.
jwilliams3 More than 1 year ago
I dont usually bother writing reviews. But I really enjoyed this book. And I'll deffinently read more by this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HISTORICAL FICTION IS ALWAYS A FUN READ AND THIS ONE IS NO EXCEPTION
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
SpyderRyder More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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My6kids More than 1 year ago
Book was good. Story line was interesting. Ending was cool!