November 14, 2022 7:56 AM EST

In the opening sentences of The Marriage Portrait, Maggie O’Farrell reveals that the protagonist—a teenage girl in late-Renaissance Italy—will be dead in less than a year, likely at her husband’s hand. Lucrezia, who’s 15 at the time of her arranged marriage to a duke, is hit with an eerie premonition about her fate, and begins to observe her husband, carefully noting the circumstances that will lead to her death. The novel—which follows O’Farrell’s 2020 hit Hamnet—shines with historic detail and elegant prose. —Angela Haupt

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