Isabella de Medici, daughter of Duke Cosimo I, ruler of Florence and Tuscany, comes to life in this book which reads like a fast paced novel. Isabella was a powerful, highly cultivated woman who led an unusual life, managing to avoid moving to her dissipated, spend thrift husbands estate outside Rome. The political climate changes, however, with the death of her protector, her father. Her older brother is now duke, and his animosity against his sister seals her fate. Isabella is strangled at the age 33, most likely at the instigation of her husband, and encouraged by her brother. The deed occurs shortly after the murder of her friend and sister-in-law, Leonora Medici.
Anyone who loves Florence and the Renaissance will quickly be drawn into this tale about the life and death of one of its brightest stars. The books descriptions and readable use of excerpts truly bring Isabella and her world to life.Caroline Murphys book is an easier read than Pomeroys, possibly because Murphy was able to draw upon a wealth of recently discovered sources. But the basic story is the same - the life and shocking murders of two socially well placed women who were both in their thirties.