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Murder of a Medici Princess Paperback – May 18, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Murphy's book swoops and dazzles like the best fiction." --Entertainment Weekly
"This supple, smart account of a lesser-known daughter will engage modern readers as it vivifies both Renaissance Florence and an extraordinary woman who paid the ultimate price for flouting her era's traditional gender roles."--Publishers Weekly
"a fast-paced and detailed account of Italy's raciest princess."--Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Isabella de' Medici (1542-1576)was the daughter of Cosimo de' Medici, Duke of Florence. Murphy vividly chronicles Isabella's provocative, brief life (she was murdered at age 34), liberally drawing on quotes from letters sent by a variety of key figures...This enjoyable page-turner would make a fantastic biopic."--Kirkus Reviews
"In Murder of a Medici Princess, Murphy takes her readers on a compelling ride through the dark allure of Renaissance Italy, taking us deep into the drama of the Medici hierarchy in a story that brims with both beauty and corruption."--The Electric Review
"Caroline Murphy has brought to life an independent-minded Florentine princess and the loves, family conflicts, political plots and violence in which she was enmeshed. A gripping tale told with consumate historical skill."--Natalie Zemon Davis, author of The Return of Martin Guerre
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
But in spite of my misgivings, this turned out to be a stunning read. Caroline Murphy, author of a previous book on women and politics, has continued her stories of women who played an influental role in the backgrounds of Italian history. This time, the focus is on the city of Florence and the powerful Medici family.
Begining with the fall of the Medici, the book focuses on a member of the junior branch of the family who brought the glory back to Florence. Cosimo de' Medici was a consummate politican and manipulator, but also a fervid patron of the arts and architecture. With his wife, the beautiful Eleonora di Toledo (who was known as La Fecundissima) they had eleven children, many of them sons, but Cosimo's favourite was his daughter Isabella.
A middle child in a huge brood of offspring, she was closest to her brother, Giovanni, and they could be found together constantly, playing games and partnering each other in dancing lessons. Several paintings survive of the princess, a lovely dark haired child with expressive eyes and nearly a smirk on her lips as she surveys the world before her. Clearly she is her father's darling, and knows it. When it came time for her to marry, her father brokered a deal with the Orsini family, based in Rome, and a wedding to Paolo Giordano d'Orsini, a young man with an itch for power and money, and seemingly in love and adoration with Isabella to judge from his letters.Read more ›
Isabella was the third child of Cosimo I de' Medici, Duke of Florence (second cousin of Catherine de' Medici, the Queen of France) and Eleonora di Toledo (of Spanish nobility). The Duke and Duchess enjoyed a very happy marriage, and Isabella had a happy childhood and particularly an excellent education. In 1558 it was arranged for her to marry Paolo Giordano Orsini, a degenerate profligate from a prominent Roman family. He was created Duke of Bracciano on account of his Medici connections, but Isabella visited his castle only briefly. She opted instead to stay in her beloved Florence, where she lived a luxurious, celebrated life independent of her husband in Rome. (She had an affair, and he had many.) Her independence was possible because of her husband's indebtedness to her father and her father's influence--he was soon elevated to Grand Duke of Tuscany.
After Cosimo's death, his eldest son Francesco became the new Grand Duke and was much less sympathetic to Isabella. He reneged on Cosimo's promise to provide for Isabella's two children (Paolo was busy spending his children's inheritance in Rome), so Isabella stayed in Florence to negotiate the children's affairs. Paolo started asking her to join him in Rome, but she used the negotiations as well as her health as an excuse to refuse.Read more ›
I love History, I love historical fiction, I don't know what was missing from this - perhaps it is the Midwife's Tale of Florence, but I kept finding myself wondering who cared about this person and why was this book written? The point? The time period is a fascinating one, the contrivances of court and how things got done in royal society was so intriguing but Isabella never came into her own. I never heard her voice through Caroline P. Murphy. However, I do not regret reading it. It was a good book. But it was also a book I could put down easily and fell asleep reading it more than once. I loved the details but got lost once in awhile with the names, everyone seemed to be named the same thing. Isabella, the Medici Princess seemed so vibrant and full of life but the book never captures that as well as I kept hoping it would. Does anyone know is there a good historical fiction book out there about Isabella?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is not a story. It is a presentation of facts about Isabella Medici. There is no character development just a lot of information. It reminded me of a doctoral thesis. Read morePublished 28 days ago by L. K. Whitley
An incredible story of the venality of the Medici family. I guess that is what power can do to one.Published 2 months ago by Anna Bagnall
Interesting to read about. More of a factual book than a story.Published 5 months ago by Kerrie L. Good
This is a thoroughly researched book on Medici rule, patronage of the arts, and international diplomacy affecting the Grand Duchy of Tuscany during the Counter-Reformation. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jwbenson
Interesting history but not what I would consider a "page turner". Always like to learn new things though and the author did a good job explaining the back story that lead... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Anne
Interesting look at the functioning of the Medici family, specifically the decline after the death of Cosimo. It certainly makes the case for why it might have been murder. Read morePublished 24 months ago by bobofva
This is history as boring as it ever was presented. Also, it is fairly depressing since it is almost entirely lacking both in liveliness of character description and artistry of... Read morePublished on December 31, 2013 by Siddha108