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The Borgia Mistress (The Poisoner Mysteries #3)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  959 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Mistress of death Francesca Giordano--court poisoner to the House of Borgia--returns to confront an ancient atrocity that threatens to extinguish the light of the Renaissance and plunge the world into eternal darkness. As the enemies of Pope Alexander VI close in and the papal court is forced to flee from Rome, Francesca joins forces with her lover, the brilliant and ruthl ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2012)
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Maria Dylan Hello Andrea. I've been searching for an answer to this question as well. I can't find any information on Sara Poole at all.
I hope she does write…more
Hello Andrea. I've been searching for an answer to this question as well. I can't find any information on Sara Poole at all.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Well now, THAT was one hell of an ending. Didn't see the Cathar heresy popping up. Still, I was hoping for an epic confrontation between Francesca and that mad monk Morozzi. That means there jus HAS to be another novel in the works.

Granted, the appearance of Mother Berndette and her knowing Francesca's history wasn't all that surprising and of course I'd long suspected her motives. However that didn't get in the way of the breakneck pacing and of my admiration of Francesca. She really is a marve
Sep 17, 2015 Lucijaa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own

It's dark in completely new level, which is kinda refreshing.
Francesca's character is very opposing. She isn't deceiving herself about her dark nature. She is not afraid to do as she pleases and is not worrying what other people think about her, which is impossible to say for other people in that time. And most important, she's not so girly.

I hate it when they are too girly.

I realy like Cesare and his Pocco joke. He is always there for her and he always pops out out
Mar 15, 2015 Slađana rated it really liked it
Treći nastavak romana o Francesci Giordano, dvorskoj trovačici pape Borgije vjerno prikazuje povijesne činjenice i likove, te uvlači čitatelja u napeti misterij o obitelji Borgia, dijeleći njihove intimnosti i intrige koje ih obavijaju.
Vrlo dobar povijesni triler, preporuka!
Sep 25, 2013 Becca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was bloody amazing. Renaissance Italy is now officially my favourite genre of historical fiction, followed closely by Renaissance England – sorry, Philipa Gregory. You can’t make me love Tudor and Renaissance England more than I do Italy. The world of Renaissance Italy is fascinating, wonderful, beautiful, colourful, vicious, and downright sexy. And The Borgia Mistress encompasses what I love most about any historical fiction in Renaissance Italy; the families, be it the Medici, the Sf ...more
Jan 03, 2017 Desiree rated it liked it
This third book in the Poisener Mysteries was a bit of a disillusion. I found the link to the Cathars highly unbelievable, the plot very predictable (I new almost right from the beginning when Francesca enters the gates of Viterbo who would be the assassin) and it annoyed me that a new storyline is started before the old one (with Morozzi as the bad guy) has finished.
Furthermore I learned that the series is discontinued after this book, with both storylines unsolved.
Jun 25, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-releases
Author Sara Poole continues her Borgia novels in The Borgia Mistress, the continued adventures of Borgia family poisoner Francesca Giordano. These days, the Borgias are quickly becoming the hot new property in the historical fiction world. Propelled by the Showtime series The Borgias, it seems like more and more novels try to work the Borgia name in to their titles of the sake of a perceived connection (that especially seemed to be the case with this series when it jumped from Poison to Borgia B ...more
Apr 20, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
“The Borgia Mistress: A Novel” by Sara Poole is a historical fiction story that takes place in Rome around the year 1493. The lead character, Francesca Giordano, is the court poisoner to House of Borgia and Rodrigo Borgia who becomes Pope Alexander VI. Francesca’s father was a prisoner to the House of she was raised in the household along with Borgia’s son, Cesare Borgia, who eventually becomes Francesca’s lover. Francesca has to unravel a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart Pope Alexander’s ...more
Jun 26, 2013 Elaine rated it liked it
Facts taken from this book.

Jove---the Supreme Being in the universe. He who commandeth and controleth all. He is to be respected and revered, His will is to be obeyed always.
15th century, Rome, the Pope was called Jove.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter) or Jove is the king of the gods and the god of sky and thunder
Jove is probably an anglicization of the Old Latin Jovis which translates into English as Jupiter, the Roman King of Gods. In eighteenth and nineteenth centu
This was overall an enjoyable read that left me wanting more.

Compared to the previous two books in this series, I wasn't terribly impressed; the adventure plot was rather too predictable (especially for those that prefer the Chekhov's Gun school of plot-writing), and I felt there was too much wishy-washy "oh my life is hard, I am such a bad person, wah wah PTSD and family and relationship dramaz!!" on Francesca's part. The supporting characters that Poole developed so well over the last couple
Aug 29, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
This book left me with more questions than answers. First and foremost among those is; will there be another book? The Borgia Mistress introduces a new very formidable enemy, while the previous one is still at large. I must admit I was hoping for a grand showdown between Morozzi and Francesca, but that does not occur in this book. I liked learning more about Francesca's past, but I think this book would have made a great fourth book in the series, after she relinquished Morozzi, rather than a th ...more
Deborah Pickstone
3 1/2 stars

Something went wrong!This trilogy was all going so splendidly....silly, but splendidly entertaining. The bad guy escaped in the nick of time in book 2 with a Mwahahaha!!!

Suddenly, in book 3, he didn't even get a mention and instead a new bad 'guy' was imported. Aside from all kinds of nonsense about the Cathars - well, I gave Ms Poole license to entertain me despite previous historical howlers, so I guess I have to overlook this nonsense too - why did the story do a 90 degree turn and
Aug 19, 2012 Denise rated it it was amazing
As the enemies of the new Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) close in, he is forced to flee Rome. His poisoner, Francesca Giordano, goes with him. Her Jewish friend, David, tags along in the disguise of a court jester. He has informed her that his spy network has discovered that there is a new (and highly sophisticated) assassin on his way to kill the Pope. Such an event would throw all of Europe into chaos as the various power struggles ensue. It would also allow Savonarola--a religious fanatic ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to start this off by saying that while I was reading most of this book, I was falling asleep...not by any fault of the author, I'm just extremely pregnant, and as soon as I lay down, it seems that my mind doesn't want me to stay awake to read!

That being said, I thought this was another excellent installation in Poole's Poisoner Mysteries. In this book, Francesca befriends an abbess who has information about her mother's death, but things aren't what they seem. Francesca's sexual relations
Sep 07, 2014 Michelle rated it liked it
(3.5 stars) The third book in the Poisoner mystery series has the court on the move to protect the Pope from his enemies. Francesca is still searching for the ones responsible for her father's murder and she is continuing to have issues sleeping and is haunted by her dreams. Things become more tense as several servants are found dead, of unknown cause. She worries that a new poisoner may be around. Francesca's past comes to the forefront as she meets a woman, now a nun, who knew her mother. As s ...more
Nov 02, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
In the third book of this historical fiction series about a young woman who took up the position of poisoner in the service of the Borgia family after her father's murder, Francesca has to deal not only with a highly skilled and as yet unknown assassin reported to be on the way to Viterbo, where the pope and his family are currently staying, but also with learning the truth about a deeply traumatic experience from her childhood and the repressed memories of it that are surfacing in her increasin ...more
Sep 08, 2015 Kris rated it liked it
In the conclusion to her Poison Mysteries series, Poole manages to place Francesca in her most personal struggle yet. By taking her away from all that is comfortable and familiar to her (including both scenery, characters, and facts), Francesca is truly at the mercy of her own demons. The most compelling aspects of this read were watching her develop and discover who she is within her own heart and mind rather than the murders and mysteries that are surrounding her which seemed more of a seconda ...more
Jun 22, 2013 Mazohyst rated it it was ok
Is this the last book in this series? I am sure it isn't but I wish it was. I'd be perfectly happy if this series ended right here. Yes, the main conflict hasn't been resolved, there are many loose ends, etc. But I don't think Poole should have dragged this on for this long.

While this book is vastly better than the second, it definitely is not on the level of the first. I still do not enjoy Francesca's character, however, some of her circumstances intrigued me, especially her history. While a lo
Jul 25, 2012 kelly rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book as a light fun summer read. Some of the issues I had with the first two books (too much description of clothes and food, boring narrative, etc) are better. Francesca is becoming a much more interesting and multi-dimensional character, although her constant rambling about her dark nature or whatever is a little annoying (and where I have a seen her back story before . . . hm). I was really enjoying the book until I completely called the ending about half-way through and spent ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Quadrophenia718 rated it really liked it
I kind of adore the Poisoner mysteries. They're pretty much what I am hoping to get -- and generally don't -- when I read Philippa Gregory. They're engaging, well-written, entertaining, sexy, and great fun. Sure, it's easier working with invented characters in a historical setting than trying to get in the minds of actual people, but Sara Poole doesn't try and couch her characters in "certes" and "forsooths" in an effort to toss in period inappropriate dialogue. It makes for a much better read. ...more
Nov 10, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it
I am continuing to enjoy the Poisoner Mysteries series, although this third one is my least favorite of the three so far. What I love about the series is: Francesca with her dark side always fighting with her good side; the characters that I have come to love reading about; and the mystery steeped in some sort of ancient religious historical significance, although the mystery part in this one was somewhat predictable. We learn more in this book about Francesca's past and how it has shaped her in ...more
Paul Burnette
Nov 24, 2015 Paul Burnette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Complex heroine. Twisted, truthful tale. Sara Poole turns out her heroine Francesca again in this second of her series about the poisoner to the infamous Roderigo Borgia and sometime-lover to the almost equally infamous Cesare Borgia with 30 chapters of intrigue and surprises as the intrepid narrator winds us ever tighter into her spirited quest for the murderer of her father, those who threaten Rodrigo, and those who conspire to outlaw the Jews. More importantly, we come to understand as France ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this volume of The Poisoner Mysteries and would recommend it to anyone who likes some mystery AND romance thrown into their historical fiction. The characters, to me, are well-developed and even in their weakest moments, strong. They are utterly human, and in that respect, they are extremely believable. The story is paced appropriately, and it's so interesting and twisty that I honestly found it difficult to put the book down. For anyone who can get into it, it will be an EXT ...more
Jul 31, 2012 Sue rated it liked it
I picked this book up on a whim in the library because I thought it looked interesting. Although it is a clearly a novel, at least some of the characters were real. I wish I could give it a 3.5 because I thought it was well-written and entertaining. I just thought the ending was a little too far-fetched for me. It was interesting to read about the power struggle between Pope Alexander VI and Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, "Their most Catholic Majesties". It was also interesting to read how the ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it
I love this story, but this was my least favorite of the three to date. I really like the fact that the main character Francesca is flawed, but this book actually felt like the point was flagrant and pointless sex scenes. This book was set outside of Rome and was absent of many of the characters that show the "redeeming" parts of Francesca. I thought the story was interesting but, as mentioned already, was greatly lacking the depth that the other two books have. I'm really hoping the next is bet ...more
Lyndsay MacDonald
Feb 18, 2015 Lyndsay MacDonald rated it liked it
I wanted to like this novel a lot more than I actually did. I will say, the second half picked up.. but the main character irritates me, with her constant repetition of her "dark nature", "dark profession", the "darkness inside me." I struggle to come to terms with the fact that she's a woman, employed by the Pope to protect him and do away with his enemies, and by her own admission she knows very little of healing substances or the opiate powder she abuses. How can someone be skilled in substan ...more
Kim McGee
Jun 22, 2012 Kim McGee rated it liked it
I always enjoy books about those wicked Borgias and The Borgia Mistress is no exception. Sara Poole handles the court intrigue like an expert and we are witness to the dirty politics, spies and allegiances
between the power hungry Spain, France and Pope Borgia's unlimited ego. The main character in all this is Francesca who is the Vatican's poisoner, sometimes lover to Cesare Borgia and court confidant. Her task is not only to taste all of the Pope's food and keep everyday objects clean of hidden
Jun 27, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Another gripping installment in the Poisoner novels--I'm starting to really get into this historical thriller genre.
In this novel Francesca's decent into what she considers to be madness is seemingly more realistic than previously, perhaps because we are finally given some background information as to why she is the way she is. The revelation of what happened to her mother has opened up a whole new mystery for the reader, and once again I find myself looking forward to the next novel. It's fun
Jul 03, 2012 Hermine rated it really liked it
I was looking forward to reading this because of the previous books in the series, but this one disappointed a bit.

The story was predictable. For me I lost the excitement and anticipation I feel with a good thriller. I never got to the point where I couldn't put the book down because I had to know what happens next. With this book I felt like I knew how it would end so it was just a matter of finishing the book. That's not how I like my books. I want suspense but never got that here.
Mar 13, 2014 Marlee rated it liked it
While I still enjoyed this book, I didn't like it as much as the first two in the series. It seemed to deviate a lot from the plot of the first two and didn't even touch on Morrozzi, the main antagonist from them. Instead, Poole introduced an entirely new antagonist without completing the existing plot lines. Overall, I will say that I enjoyed the series but wish I hadn't been left with so many questions and loose ends when I finished.
May 31, 2015 Mycoton32 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
En bref, ce dernier tome clôt parfaitement cette saga que j'ai aimé de la première à la dernière page. On voyage au travers des complots, on a l'impression d'être dans la peau de Francesca, on vit ses peurs, ses doutes, ses attentes aussi fort qu'elle et on la quitte avec un petit pincement au cœur, triste de la laisser. Une saga historique pleine de rebondissements et aux personnages attachants !
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 15, 2015 06:50PM  
  • Lucrezia Borgia and the Mother of Poisons
  • The Scarlet Contessa
  • Sins of the House of Borgia
  • Cesare Borgia: His Life and Times
  • Poison in the Blood: The Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia
  • Keeper of the King's Secrets  (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker, #2)
  • Empress of the Seven Hills (The Empress of Rome, #3)
  • His Last Duchess
  • The Madonna of the Almonds
  • The Second Duchess
  • Light on Lucrezia (Lucrezia Borgia, #2)
  • Lucrezia Borgia
  • Sovereign of Stars (The She-King, #3)
  • Out of the Black Land
  • The Sumerton Women
  • At the Mercy of the Queen
  • The Secret of the Glass
  • Crusader's Torch (Atta Olivia Clemens, #2)
Sara Poole is the pen name of a NY Times bestselling author who is branching out to write historical novels.
Her long-time fascination with Renaissance Italy and with the Borgias in particular has led her in this new direction. It corresponds nicely with her interest in botany as especially regards the poisonous plants flourishing all around us. Sara lives in the Northeast with her husband and a m
More about Sara Poole...

Other Books in the Series

The Poisoner Mysteries (3 books)
  • Poison (The Poisoner Mysteries, #1)
  • The Borgia Betrayal (The Poisoner Mysteries, #2)

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