Ms. Murphy has written an outstanding biography. It is full of first hand sources, contemporary letters, historical facts, educated theory and historical speculation yet it never once reads as dry or pontificating.
One – Isabella herself is a truly fascinating character.
Two – The Medici need to be investigated properly in order to gain any kind of perspective on them. Their reputation precedes them.
Three – I’ve been caught, like a few others, by a Google images search for Marie de Medici. Type in Marie de Medici and you will find this beautiful image…..
Only it is not Louis XIII’s mother. It is Leonora di Toledo de Medici, only daughter of Don Garzia di Toledo and Vittoria d’Ascanio Colonna and cousin to Isabella and her brother Francesco — who was Marie de Medici’s father.
Leonora and Isabella became close friends and both ended their lives at the hands of their husbands…one a Medici, one an Orsini.