Wednesday, July 31, 2013
BLOOD & BEAUTY by Sarah Dunant
Who hasn't heard salacious stories about the Borgia family? There was Rodrigo Borgia who made payoffs to cardinals and their families to become pope about the time Columbus was discovering America. He had a wife, several children by her, a mistress and more children, was enormously fat and emotional but also shrewd and conniving.
We've also heard the stories about his son Cesare and his daughter Lucrezia. Cesare a warrior and Lucrezia a lovely young woman married off to men she didn't know for political alliances, but rumored to be promiscuous.
The Borgia's sound like the main characters in a modern soap opera. The problem for author Sarah Dunant in her research to sort out the truth was that any of their peers who wrote about them had an ax to grind. We just can't know what the truth is.
This left Dunant to write a novel in which she tried her best to be true to what she knew and felt about her characters. Her portrayals of the pope and his two older children are some of the best characterizations I've read. The complex pope seems to defy depiction but yet Dunant manages. She writes Lucrezia as a sympathetic and smart young woman who knows her only choice in life is to be used for political advantage. Cesare is larger than life and loves only Lucrezia.
I loved this novel. Apparently there is to be a sequel to continue their story and I can hardly wait to read that too.
Highly recommended novel
Source: Amazon Vine