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The Pope's Daughter: The Extraordinary Life of Felice Della Rovere
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The Pope's Daughter: The Extraordinary Life of Felice Della Rovere

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  337 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The illegitimate daughter of Pope Julius II, Felice della Rovere became one of the most powerful and accomplished women of the Italian Renaissance. Now, Caroline Murphy vividly captures the untold story of a rare woman who moved with confidence through a world of popes and princes. as well as diaries, account books, and chronicles of Renaissance Rome, Murphy skilfully weav ...more
Hardcover, 359 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2004)
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Marita
The Pope's daughter in this instance is Felice della Rovere, the illegitimate daughter of Giuliano della Rovere, Pope Julius II.

Pope Julius was intent on not being seen in the same light as his infamous predecessor, Alexander VI, known as the Borgia Pope. What Julius did not want was to flaunt his illegitimate offspring, but preferred to have her brought up away from her parental home, and when she was eventually brought to Rome she lived separately from the Pope's household.

However, the rather
...more
Grace Tjan
This book is about that other papal bastard, not the infamous Lucrezia Borgia, of whom numerous biographies --- some more salacious than others --- have been written in the last five hundred years. Apparently, this book is also the only biography of Felice della Rovere that has ever seen print. It’s easy to discern why --- compared to Lucrezia, who (among other things) is accused by some of having an incestuous relationship with her father, Pope Alexander VI, Felice lived the relatively dull, vi ...more
Harry Allagree
If anyone should've been made a cardinal in the 16th century Catholic Church, it should've been Felice della Rovere, bastard daughter of Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, later Pope Julius II ! Caroline Murphy's portrait of this remarkable woman is well-written, well-documented & fascinating enough to keep me up until 2AM reading it! I would love to have known Felice, a truly "self-made" woman who defied the tremendous societal odds against her and rose to be the most powerful woman, or at lea ...more
Jess
3.5 stars

A lot has been written and said of Lucrezia Borgia, the most unfairly maligned daughter of Pope Alexander VI. Almost five centuries after her death, biographers and writers of fiction continue to revisit her story in an effort to pick apart or embroider upon the many rumours and legends surrounding her life. Far fewer talk about the daughter of Alexander's successor; many do not even know of her existence. But though Felice della Rovere did not attract the same scandal as Lucrezia, her
...more
Bubbles
There are many things I could say about this book. Unfortunately, not all of them are good. Let’s start with the goods things. She is obviously very passionate about her subject matter, in this case Felice della Rovere. Another impressive aspect about this book is Caroline Murphy strives to bring to life an important Renaissance figure who has faded into obscurity despite being fairly prominent during her day. While she was not as infamous as Caterina Sforza or the other pope’s daughter, Lucrezi ...more
Louise
This is the second book I've read by this author. I hope Caroline Murphy keeps researching Renaissance women and writing books.

In both this book and "Murder of a Medici Princess" the author assembles a lot of information and presents it in a way the lay reader can really enjoy. Chapters in both books are chronological which helps the lay reader understand the complexity of the historical setting. Some chapters describe the episodes of the subjects' lives, in others there are lifestyle descriptio
...more
Joseph
If you're interested in the early 16th century history of the papacy, as it relates to the web of relationships formed around power and influence exerted by Pope Julius II and his successors, then this may be a good read for you. The interesting “twist” in this story is that Felice, as the daughter of a pope, is inserted into a male-dominated world as a pawn in a game of family alliances formed through marriage, in this case with the powerful Orsini family of Rome. Rather uncharacteristically, h ...more
Cristina Contilli
"Nel Cinquecento che un ecclesiastico avesse figli non destava scalpore. Così Felice, nata nel 1483 e figlia illegittima del cardinale Giuliano della Rovere e di Lucrezia Normanni, crebbe indisturbata non lontano dallo sguardo del padre."

"Si sposò a soli quattordici anni, ma presto rimase vedova. Quando il padre divenne pontefice come Giulio II, rifiutò ben cinque offerte di matrimonio e accettò di risposarsi solo con un uomo che politicamente ed economicamente le offriva le maggiori opportunità
...more
Andrew Hansen
I have really enjoyed this book. Granted, I had to read it marathon mode for a history class. This was an amazing book to me, not so much because of Felice della Rovere, (although she is an amazing woman) but just all the background information it provided of many prominate people from the time period, and many that were recognizable. I didn’t realize so many Renaissance people had been alive at the same time of Fellice Della Rovere such as Micholangelo, and Leanardo—just some common ones. This ...more
Martyn Lovell
This history book tells the life story of a woman who grew from unusual origins to positions of power and influence in an era when that was tough for a woman.

The fundamental subject matter is interesting. It gives a view into life in the 1500s, into the relationship between religion and politics in the era, and into the role of women in society at that time. In addition, the character at the center of the novel is without doubt fascinating.

The style of writing is quite dry. This is more of a his
...more
Terri
The life of Felice della Rovere is fascinating. She is a strong willed women who made her place in history although she was born the illegitimate daughter of Pope Julius II. She lives in the time of the Medicis, King Francis I (France) and King Henry VIII. Murphy details the life of Felice as it relates not only to her position in the Italian social structure but also how Italy and the papal politics interplay with all other countries.

I enjoyed the "story" but Murphy has intertwined so much deta
...more
Jim Puskas
A remarkable story, providing wonderful insight into the complex and often chaotic workings of late renaissance Italy, at a time when cardinals and popes were as much temporal potentates as churchmen and internecine rivalries for power and wealth frequently erupted into vicious local wars. The central figure, Felice della Rovere is an extraordinary woman who despite the scandalous nature of her origin rises to a position of personal power and prestige as much through her own personality, intelli ...more
Gibson Bush
The apostrophe in title should have been a warning. (The Pope Is Daughter?) The book reads more like a text book than a novel. I love reading historically based novels, the closer to the truth the better. But this work is filled to the brim with footnotes and most all new characters are introduced with an extensive family tree and the family connection to the clergy and ultimately to Felice. I didn't make it halfway through the book. The depth of the ancestry research written into the story was ...more
Mauri
I don't have much in the way of time anymore (she says as she adds three more books to 'currently-reading') but I gave it the old 50-page try. Actually, in this case, the 69-page try.

Bottom line, Felice della Rovere was most likely a very interesting woman of her times, but not enough of her remains on record for her to be 350-page book interesting. In some cases, it felt like the author was stretching and conjecturing a little too much. Also, the short chapters, which at first made this book g
...more
Jeanette
The Pope's daughter not as well known as the Borgia variety. It's a difficult read and will not be for everyone. But it is a creditable non-fiction survey of her life and influences. No easy path to tread, IMHO.
Margaret Sankey
Meticulous reconstruction by an Art Historian of the life, properties and political machinations of Felice della Rovere, daughter of Pope Julius II. Unlike the better-known but largely passive papal daughter Lucrezia Borgia, Felice was a take-charge chatelaine of strategic property, friend of Castiglione, patron of Michelangelo, ally of the Medici popes and survivor of the Sack of Rome in 1527. This book rescues a major but undeservedly obscure female figure of the 16th century Italian Renaissan ...more
Anne Broyles
Another incredible Italian woman, Felice della Rovere was a force to be reckoned with. She was the illegitimate daughter of Pope Julius II (not so surprising in that time), watched Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel, was immortalized by Raphael’s frescoes and lived at the time Saint Peter’s was built. This is a somewhat scholarly book filled with a huge cast of characters, but made for good reading while I recently visited Rome.
Connie Johnson
This book is a cross between a PhD dissertation and biography,but still a very enjoyable read...it is very well documented with multiple citations. An amazing story of Felice Della Rovere, a popes daughter. Excellent historical perspective on a Renaissance Rome, which I particularly enjoyed having just returned from a visit there.
Laura
Fabulous book written in nice size chapters.

Felice de rovere deserves to be much better known she lived through the sacking of rome was intertwined with the medici, was a pioneer independent business woman and who would fight to give her children everything. Inspirational! A fantastic read well written
Milli
This book was fascinating. I bought it on my Kindle either for free or one of those "less than $2" deals, so I guess my expectations weren't too high. An easy-to-read and thorough narrative. Felice deserves more recognition as strong, powerful woman of her time. She's, well, pretty badass.
Jack Laschenski
1580's. Rome. A set of totally corrupt Catholic Church bosses.

A Woman was smarter than most of the men.

And yes, she was Pope Julius' daughter.

Most Popes and Cardinals had children in those days.

Paid for by alms of the poor.

Enter the Reformation - and all of history will change.
Daisy
I thought it was going to be a novel. It is not. The author seems to have done a good job at reviving an obscure woman of the renaissance. I wonder how many more Felice della Rovere there were in Renaissance Italy, and how many "popes children" there actually are.
Jenny Stewart
Well researched, intriging rennaisance details, written much like a text book. Prefer historical fiction.
R.J.
This author wrote a lengthy book about a woman of which we know very little. I think this was a great example of stretching out a little bit of knowledge into a 200 pg book. It was well done actually. Though for an Oxford Press book i noted several typos throughout.
Laura
Very interesting account. I learned a lot about a world I'm not too familiar with. The author is an art historian, and included many descriptions of paintings, sculptures, and architecture, which really isn't my thing. Other than that I enjoyed it.
Mona
This was a fascinating look at a woman who was able to administer to her own affairs without the benefit of a male overseer in a time when women could not do such a thing. It was really unheard of. She did live an extraordinary life.
Noel
If you are interested in the Italian Renaissance, this book is a must. The story of a remarkable women, the illegitimate daughter of Pope Julius II, who became the most powerful woman in Rome.
Rachel
I started this but I was reading several other books at the time so I didn't finish before it was due back at the library. I love the history in it! So I will check it out again to finish!
Chantal E. R. H.
5th book of 2010. Extremely interesting book about an extremely interesting woman I didn't even know existed. I would love to read more of Caroline Murphy's biographies.
Rena Jane
This is a well-written biography. I enjoyed the picture of 16th century Rome and life it portrays. Felice was definitely a strong and influential woman in her time.
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