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"The world of Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life--I'm captivated by this knowledgeable author's take on the controversial Borgias."--Alison Weir, New York Times bestselling author of Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen "Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization of these turbulent times make for a fascinating read."--Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth I
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-12-21
- Reviewer: Staff
The latest from historical novelist Gortner (after Mademoiselle Chanel) is a lurid, old-school story that revolves around Lucrezia Borgia, the doted-upon illegitimate daughter of the notoriously corrupt Rodrigo Borgia, who was Pope Alexander VI. As she grows into her teen years, Lucrezia becomes a pawn in her familys political schemes. After being married off to a near-penniless man who seems more drawn to her vicious eldest brother, Juan, Lucrezia finds herself lusting after both her brother Cesarea reluctant cardinal with ambitions beyond the churchand her sister-in-laws brother, Alfonso, with whom she shares an interest in books. Family dastardliness and intrigue soon turn Lucrezias life upside down, as she becomes pregnant and tries to have her loveless marriage dissolved after several violent incidents. Gortners book features several anachronisms for the late 1400s, such as the protagonists sympathy for exiled Jews, but the narrative is also unapologetically pulpy and titillating. Ultimately, Lucrezia is pitted against the men of her powerful family, who expect her loyalty in the face of their ruthlessness. Cesare tries to win his fathers love as he sets about conquering land and crushing Borgias enemies, and everyone becomes a bit paranoid. Gortners story makes for an engaging tale. (Feb.)