Book excerpt: "The Marriage Portrait" by Maggie O'Farrell

Book excerpt: "The Marriage Portrait" by Maggie O'Farrell

Sep 18, 2022 by Sunday Morning -

Key Facts

  • Sunday Morning September 18, 2022 / 8:02 AM / CBS News Maggie O'Farrell, the author of the acclaimed novel "Hamnet," returns with a historical thriller, "The Marriage Portrait" (Knopf), about a teenage girl, a member of the House of Medici, who fears her husband is plotting to kill her.
  • Her husband is sitting down, not in his customary place at the opposite end but next to her, close enough that she could rest her head on his shoulder, should she wish; he is unfolding his napkin and straightening a knife and moving the candle towards them both when it comes to her with a peculiar clarity, as if some coloured glass has been put in front of her eyes, or perhaps removed from them, that he intends to kill her.
  • They have travelled for most of the day, using what little daylight the season offers, leaving Ferrara at dawn and riding out to what he had told her was a hunting lodge, far in the north-west of the province.
  • The horses have been led away, she has removed her sodden cloak and hat, and he has watched her do this, standing with his back to the blaze in the grate, and now he is gesturing to the country servants in the hall's outer shadows to step forward and place food on their plates, to slice the bread, to pour wine into their cups, and she is suddenly recalling the words of her sister-in-law, delivered in a hoarse whisper: You will be blamed.

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