The second duchess by Elizabeth Loupas

Second duchessOne of the best historical novels I have read this year. The story is a mystery based on the lives of real people – Barbara of Austria and Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara. She marries him aware that most of Europe thinks he murdered his first wife – but finds herself driven to investigate further.
Perhaps the best thing about the book is the character of Barbara herself. She is well drawn for modern tastes but also realistic as a figure from nearly five hundred years ago. Her relations with her husband are particularly compelling.

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