The Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d'Este, is rumored to have killed his first wife Lucrezia but on her wedding day, Barbara, his second duchess is determined to ignore those rumors. But Barbara finds her curiosity piqued and she decides that her safety lies in finding out the truth along with providing a heir. Lucrezia is an immobila, a spirit not yet moved on, who is unable to affect the living except to watch. Barbara suffers attempts on her life as she moves closer to discovering who killed Lucrezia but she may not survive long enough to learn the truth.
"The Second Duchess" by Elizabeth Loupas was a rich and sumptuous read, bringing history to life. The use of Lucrezia as an immobila was a creative plot device, she was able to give background and plot development without distracting. Barbara's spirit and strength was enjoyable but still suitable for the time period. Elizabeth Loupas has earned a place as one of my new favorite authors!
A rich, compelling historical novel-and a mystery of royal intrigue.
In a city-state known for magnificence, where love affairs and conspiracies play out amidst brilliant painters, poets and musicians, the powerful and ambitious Alfonso d'Este, duke of Ferrara, takes a new bride. Half of Europe is certain he murdered his first wife, Lucrezia, the luminous child of the Medici. But no one dares accuse him, and no one has proof-least of all his second duchess, the far less beautiful but delightfully clever Barbara of Austria.
At first determined to ignore the rumors about her new husband, Barbara embraces the pleasures of the Ferrarese court. Yet wherever she turns she hears whispers of the first duchess's wayward life and mysterious death. Barbara asks questions-a dangerous mistake for a duchess of Ferrara. Suddenly, to save her own life, Barbara has no choice but to risk the duke's terrifying displeasure and discover the truth of Lucrezia's death-or she will share her fate.