Monday, July 6, 2009

Murder of a Medici Princess by Caroline P. Murphy

I was excited for this book until I saw that it was a bibliography. I am not a fan of them but decided I would give it a go. At first it was great reading; I was intrigued and excited to learn about Isabella Medici. However, as the book wore on it became less about her and more about her male relatives. Mainly her husband Paolo Giordano Orsini and her eldest brother Francesco Medici.

There were a few facts that I was fascinated to learn about. For one, her heritage and how she was related to certain people such as Catherine De Medici who was married to Henri II of France. I also found it interesting that Elizabeth Tudor was a possible bride for Francesco until it was discovered that she was partial to the "new" religion. Imagine a Tudor-Medici union! WOW! Two great families united would have set history on an entirely different course.

Reading about Florence was also a pleasure for me. I have been to Florence and found the city beautiful and full of history. It was fabulous to read about certain buildings and areas and be able to picture them in your head. It also made me understand a few more things about the city that I was unaware of before. I made sure to visit anything remotely related to the Medici name while I was there but this book let me realize what it was that I actually saw.

Isabella as a person also intrigued me. She maintained her independence even though she was married to a prince from Rome, continuing to live in Florence, in a home her father (The Grand Duke Cosimo) gave to her. She was able to live her life the way she pleased, and raise her two children the way she chose. It is unknown, however, if her two children are from Paolo or her long time lover Troilo (Paolo's cousin). She was definitely a daddy’s girl and could be considered spoiled.

As you can see the beginning of the book delighted me. However, after her father’s death, my interest began to waver. There was a lot of talk about battles and wars and diplomacy. The book needs these particulars in order to allow the reader to understand the world in which Isabella lived in, but they did not keep my attention. I struggled to finish and skipped over many parts that did not catch my eye.

Towards the end it picks back up as the deaths of Isabella and her best friend, and sister in law, Leonora are discussed. Both were murdered (hence the title of the book), though the exact details are not known.

All in all it was a fairly good book and I give it 3 pens.

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