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THE SECOND DUCHESS by Elizabeth Loupas

By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 18 March 2011

The mailman delivered an ARC of THE SECOND DUCHESS by Elizabeth Loupas, so it sat on the coffee table for a few days in the periphery of my attention. This is a case where the cover influenced me a good deal.

A red-haired young woman in vibrant period dress stands in the windy shadow of a castle.

Well, could be a romance. I don’t usually read those--I can’t stand all that drawn-out panting, but this woman looks regal, not sexy. Probably it’s an historical; don’t usually read those either--possibly the past feels too much like backstory.

Eventually, that picture gets to me; one evening, I’m curious enough to start reading . Not many days later, I finished the book. Point One: pick a good time to start, you’ll give up many things to keep reading.

As you’ll find out in the first paragraph, it’s rumoured the first duchess was murdered by her husband. The Duke, after all, is related to Lucrezia Borgia. So a family tree in the front matter informs us where also includes a map of Ferrara in 1565. Very useful.

She’s an amazing woman, this duchess. We are drawn into her story and we cannot let her go--there’s nothing outdated about this story: it's fierce and fiery.

Immensely satisfying.

One of the best books I’ve read this year.

by Elizabeth Loupas