Oh where to begin?
First, ignore the description on the back of the book. It’s incredibly misleading and a few lines are down right inaccurate.
Second, it’s a NOVEL. No one is claiming this book is historically accurate and certainly not treating it as a textbook, so try to look at it as any historical fiction should be looked at – some real names, faces, and places, and a few real events or facts that the author based their STORY around. Novel…fiction…no it’s not an accurate portrayal of any figure. It’s not supposed to be. There’s a whole big section labeled “non-fiction” in overly sized letters at any all bookstores if that’s what you’re looking for. You remember bookstores, right?
Next: The word ‘incest’ is right there on the cover. So if you’re a little prudish or thats not something you want to spend time reading about, you were warned. Not to say I wasn’t completely skeeved out by the scenes surrounding Lucrezia and the male, uh, members of her family, but it wasn’t the main focus of the book. It’s used to move along a plot point and bring our heroine, Sancha, to certain realizations, but its not the focus of the book.
I think that to allow yourself to enjoy historical fiction based on real people, you have to take it all with a giant grain of salt. If you’re going to read a book like this, or say…The Other Boleyn Girl, for instance, and be all “OMG I can NOT believe these people actually did all this stuff,” do some research beyond the blurb in the author’s notes and see what’s historically accurate and what was the creation of the writer. Before telling everyone that Daddy Borgia was more than a little handsy with his only daughter or that Sancha and Lucrezia were suddenly TOTES BFFs, look into a bit.
Cesare is dark and twisted. If you were unsure of that, no worries! You’ll be reminded about 700 times throughout the book. Sometimes in reference to his looks, his expressions, etc. Sometimes in reference to the wee bit of a problem he had with murdering anyone who dared cross him. Oh, and he’ll fall in love with a simple glance at a pretty face. I mean, who hasn’t had a cardinal tripping over himself to marry you simply because you made eye contact? We’ve all been there, right? First world problems, y’all.
3.5 of 5 stars over all for me. A lot of historical novels tend to read the same – heroine ahead of her time fights against family wishes, the gender roles of the time, and the rules of being royalty, all while being the fairest in the land. A familiar song and dance? Sure, but there’s something deserving of at least 3 stars when a writer can create a whole world and pull you inside of it when you have nothing in your real world to draw similar experiences from.
Not a must read but it killed a couple days and held my attention in between watching too much HGTV and Ghost Adventures. (See! We all have dirty little secrets!)
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