The Marriage Portrait - Tuesdays from 12th March
The Marriage Portrait - Tuesdays from 12th March
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The Marriage Portrait - Tuesdays from 12th March

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Read and discuss this wonderfully descriptive and poetic story that brings the Italian Renaissance to life


  • Join this book club and gain extra motivation to read in English
  • 7 hours of live classes to help you develop fluent speaking in English
  • Discuss a gripping historical story set in the Italian Renaissance 
  • Be corrected by an expert English teacher to remove errors and mistakes

Practise and develop your English online in this 7 week English book club course using The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell.  Each week you read some chapters, discuss them in class and improve specific areas of vocabulary or grammar while also examining literary aspects of the novel.  Personalised feedback improves your grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

The Book Club book

The Marriage Portrait brings the Italian Renaissance to life in both its beauty and savagery.  In the winter of 1561. Lucrezia, Duchess of Ferrara, is brought unexpectedly to a country house by her husband, Alfonso.  Lucrezia understands that he is planning on killing her.  What can the sixteen year old, who has lived a sheltered life inside Florence's grandest palazzo, do to protect herself against her unpredictable husband? In The Marriage Portrait Maggie O'Farrell reimagines the life of this young noble woman in an elegant telling of this story based on historical facts, and the poem The Last Duchess by Robert Browning.

'In O'Farrell's hands, historical detail comes alive' Spectator

Geoff says:

"Maggie O'Farrell is the author of Hamnet, winner of the Woman's Prize for Fiction.  This book was shortlisted for this prize, and is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, as well as a Guardian book of the year. It is rich in description, full of powerful vocabulary and some scenes feel like we are looking at a renaissance painting."

Only 8 places available.  Click Add to Cart to reserve your place.

The book
  • Genre: Historical fiction; biographical fiction
  • Language: British English; Modern
  • Suitable for: people used to reading in English - Advanced
  • Text: Original
  • Length: Average - 106,145 words
Dates & time
  • Tuesdays from 12th March - 23rd April
  • 18.30 CET (Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Rome & most EU)
  • 17.30 (UTC+0/GMT+0) London, UK, Portugal
  • 19.30 Greece, Ukraine
  • 20.30 Turkey*, Saudi Arabia*

    *Times are 1 hour earlier due to UK daylight saving after 28/03

      Age 18+
      Online class size Maximum 8 participants, on Zoom, using break-out rooms for increased speaking and discussion
      What you learn
      • To confidently speak and debate with others
      • To overcome any gaps by paraphrasing or rephrasing
      • To eradicate errors in grammar and pronunciation 
      • To develop and extend areas of high level vocabulary
      • To be immersed in the natural patterns of English syntax
      • To gain a deeper understanding of cultural issues
      • To perfect & enhance your English through summarising
      Your teacher
      • Geoff Hardy-Gould, BSc, MBA, CTEFLA, DTEFLA. 
      • Over 20 years' experience of UK language schools. 
      • Speaker at:  2024 IATEFL Conference; 2023 IATEFL TechLit! Exploring crossovers between technology and literature; 2022 Extensive Reading Foundation; 2021 TESOL Italia