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



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MADONNA OF THE SEVEN HILLS

by Jean Plaidy



"In a castle in the mountains outside Rome, Lucrezia Borgia is born into history's most notorious family. Her father, who is to become Pope Alexander VI, receives his daughter warmly, and her brothers, Cesare and Giovanni, are devoted to her. But on the corrupt and violent streets of the capital it is a very different story: the Borgia family is feared, and Lucrezia's father lives up to his reputation as 'the most carnal man of his age'." (From the cover of the Arrow Books edition.)

I was gushing just the other day about the ability to get Jean Plaidy reprints from Book Depository. Madonna of the Seven Hills was my first purchase from there, and I'm so glad I took the plunge! I've read Jean Plaidy a couple of times before, and I still feel that she is great for that dose of "history lite" that I find I so often want. The stories tend to move quickly but highlight the important people and events.

One of the best parts of reading this version of Lucrezia Borgia's life is that my memories of The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis are so fresh in my mind. It was fascinating to compare how the two authors took the same set of facts and approached them in vastly different ways. For example, Kalogridis took the Borgia incest rumors head on, while Plaidy chose to portray the family as simply weirdly affectionate. They both agreed on the brutality of Cesare and Giovanni Boria and the corruption of Pope Alexander VI, but Plaidy hinted at it much more than blatantly showing their actions. Lucrezia's first pregnancy is told very differently in each book, but I believe the same man dies for it. (I can't check my Kalogridis book right now because a friend has it. Sorry!) Sanchia of Aragon, the heroine of The Borgia Bride, has a wildly different persona in Madonna of the Seven Hills. Both authors, however, cut Lucrezia some serious slack regarding her evil image. Now I'm wondering if she really was as bad as I've heard! Don't worry. I'll keep seeing what I can find out. :-)

Plaidy has split Lucrezia's story into two books, and I have Light on Lucrezia sitting right here to get to very, very soon. I already know how it ends, but it will be so much fun finding out how Ms. Plaidy gets there!



14 comments:

Lisa said...

This sounds good. I also like reading different fictional accounts of real people and events.

Lezlie said...

Lisa ~ Me, too! I enjoy seeing how different authors handle apects of the character's lives that are in factual question. Or just their use of literary license!

Lezlie

Veronica said...

I'm starting to become a big fan of Jean Plaidy. But it is discouraging that so many are out of print in the US.

Lezlie said...

Veronica ~ But we can easily get them through Book Depository there in the UK! You really should check them out. I've got 6 more on the way. Don't tell Peter. :-)

Lezlie

Marie Burton said...

One day I really need to sit down and see what Plaidy's I have and need.. and figure out what they are about. I have this one and had forgotten what it was about. I really need to read this one and the The Borgia Bride, which do you think I should read first?
I know nothing about the subject matter.

Booklogged said...

I know nothing about Lucrezia Borgia except her name and what you just told me. I'm going to check out the Book Depository and see if I can get my hands on this book.

Iliana said...

Interesting... I know that when I recently read a book about Juana the Mad of Spain (The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner) I really felt like I finally got to know more about her other than what I previously knew - which granted was little just that she was insane. So, you are right, it's interesting to see how authors choose to portray or highlight the person they write about. Definitely interested in reading these books you've mentioned!

Lezlie said...

Marie ~ Which one you read first depends on your personal taste. Plaidy would be the PG13 version and Kalogridis would be the R-rated version. :-) When it comes right down to it, I liked the Kalogridis book more, but I really like her grittiness as an author. Not everyone goes for that. Let me know which direction you decide to go and how you like it!

Booklogged ~ I thought I knew more than it looks like I do! :-) But this is fiction, so who really knows. I have a non-fiction book on the Borgias that I plan on reading very soon, so we'll see what it has to say. I can't wait to see your thoughts on this when you read it!

Iliana ~ The Last Queen was a wonderful book, wasn't it? I knew nothing about Juana at all, so that was my introduction to her. There is a book called "The Scroll of Seduction" by Gioconda Belli that is also about her, so I'd like to compare those.

Lezlie

joanna said...

You;ve definitely got me interested in Lucrezia Borgia and I just bought the Borgia Bride - you must be an expert on the subject now! ;-)

Lezlie said...

Joanna ~ Not yet, but I'm working on it. :-) I can't wait to see what you think of The Borgia Bride!

Lezlie

Trish said...

LOL! I totally forgot I was going to look up the Borgias. Now I don't need to--and now I'm adding a whole slew of books to look up. I'm not sure if I should thank you, or shoot you bad looks. :P

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ I'll happily accept either thanks or bad looks as long I as I get to hear what you thought of the books. :-)

Lezlie

Dar said...

This sounds like a good one Lezlie. I've just started reading Plaidy's novels and hope to read more in the future.

Lezlie said...

Dar ~ Plaidy is such a great author for historical fans to read. Just enough historical detail to feel like you learned something, and light enough to read as pure entertainment.

Lezlie