NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

THE BORGIA BRIDE

by Jeanne Kalogridis



"Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city's opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare's irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias' sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game." (From the back cover of the St. Martin's Griffin edition)

My only knowledge of the Borgia family prior to reading The Borgia Bride was a lot of malicious historical gossip that I always wondered about. Well, it turns out, according to Jeanne Kalogridis' author comments at the end of this novel, that the majority of it appears to be true. Excellent! Nothing like papal corruption, poisoning of rivals, fratricide, incest and dreams of military domination to pique a reader's interest!

And they're all here, folks. Stories of the Borgia family are not for the easily nauseated, and Kalogridis has never been one to sugarcoat the darker side of humanity. It's part of what I love about her writing, the grit. She isn't unnecessarily graphic, but you get enough to shock the unprepared reader. And you're never sure who is going to come out all right. Or if anyone will for that matter.

I thought it most interesting that Lucrezia was portrayed very sympathetically, sometimes much more a victim than the calculating, immoral murderess my limited understanding of her had led me to believe she was. There was nothing in the author note explaining why she chose to characterize her the way she did, so I can see I have some research to do if I want to discover if my past beliefs about Lucrezia were way off the mark.

I've been meaning to get to The Borgia Bride ever since I read Kalogridis' I, Mona Lisa a couple of years ago. With The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici coming in July (a book I cannot wait to get my hands on!!), this seemed like the perfect time to finally pull it off the shelf. It's a perfect summer read -- easy to lose yourself in and quick to get through despite its 500 page length. Between the two, I'd say I preferred I, Mona Lisa, but The Borgia Bride did not disappoint one bit.

Other reviews of this book:

Passages To The Past



21 comments:

Serena said...

wow, this sounds like a very dramatic novel.

Lezlie said...

Serena ~ When it comes to the Borgias, it would be difficult to *not* be dramatic. That family was a piece of work! :-)

Lezlie

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

Those Borgias are very naughty! This was a fantastic read...actually it was first review ever! My opinion of Lucrezia was also altered after reading it, I'd love to read more about her. I'm very excited to see what she does with another badass, Catherine de Medici!

Meghan said...

I really want to read this one. Nothing like true historical scandals to entertain!

Lezlie said...

Amy ~ I'll have to go back and see your review! I've been waiting for her Medici book since I heard about it last spring. The publication has been pushed back a couple of times because they decided to go hardcover with it. It sounds like it's going to be just amazing! I may not be able to wait for the library on that one. :-)

Meghan ~ Isn't that the truth? The Tudors, the Borgias and the Medicis. No end of steamy stories there!

Lezlie

zetor said...

Sounds a great book, will add it to my tbr list.

Belle said...

It sounds like a real-life historical soap opera. Great review.

Lezlie said...

Zetor ~ Definitely a worthy addition.

Belle ~ It was craziness! The author even says in the notes that she left out a whole lot of murders, poisonings, etc., so the reader wouldn't get bored with them all!!

Lezlie

Heather J. said...

This sounds like a fantastic book - it's going on the TBR list right now.

Marg said...

I read this a number of years ago now and really, really enjoyed it. I haven't picked up any of her other books, but I do think that the new one sounds really good!

Teddy Rose said...

Great review Lezlie! Thanks for the warning about the grit. I do think I would like this one and am adding it to mt. TBR.

Lezlie said...

Heather ~ I hope you like it when you get to it! :-)

Marg ~ If you haven't read "I, Mona Lisa" yet, you should add that one to your list, too. ;-)

Teddy Rose ~ Thanks! I like to warn about things like that. It can really bother some people, but if they're expecting it, it might not be a deal-breaker for trying the book or author.

Lezlie

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Yikes - I have this book on my shelves and your review just convinced me that I must read it NOW!

Lezlie said...

Michele ~ Go ahead and give in! It reads really quickly, especially on a sunny patio. ;-)

Lezlie

Linda/CT said...

Hi Lezlie, oh, I need to read these soon. They sound wonderful!! I love your reviews!

Lezlie said...

Thank you so much, Linda!

Lezlie

Literary Feline said...

I haven't heard of this one before but it sure sounds intriguing. Thank you for the great review, Lezlie.

joanna said...

I've always been intrigued by the Borgias, even though I know next to nothing. You think it would be understandable for someone without much background?

Lezlie said...

Literary Feline ~ You're welcome! I think Jeanne Kalogridis' books currently fly a bit under the radar, but hopefully her new book will bring her more attention. I think she's a wonderful author.

Joanna ~ Absolutely! This would actually be a great introduction to them. Borgia History 101, fiction style! :-)

Lezlie

naida said...

The Borgia Bride sounds interesting, great review :)

http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Lezlie said...

Naida ~ It was very interesting! I was glad the author didn't shy away from the juicier gossip. :-)

Lezlie