I love historical fiction and I've enjoyed Rinaldi's work before. That said, I'm on the fence on this one.
I'm not sure if this was brilliantly written or not. I found myself intensely disliking the main character at times...And the whole tale was distasteful in the extreme...not necessarily because of the quality of the writing. I think it was the content.
As a reader, I guess I expect to like the protagonist in a book. Which, truth be told, is a little too rosy of an outlook to have. In fact, it's probably truer to real life than I'd like to think. Most likely, it's probably a brilliant piece of writing with some incredibly strong characterization.