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The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,682 ratings  ·  447 reviews
For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, a gripping novel that follows the extraordinary life of young Lucrezia Borgia, the legendary Renaissance Pope Alexander’s beautiful daughter. Was she the heartless seductress of legend? Or merely an unsuspecting pawn in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and her own survival?

Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias be
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Ballantine Books
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Jenny Yes, I have. This book is more personal - it uses the first person for Lucrezia so it has less of a sweeping overview than Blood and Beauty. It focuse…moreYes, I have. This book is more personal - it uses the first person for Lucrezia so it has less of a sweeping overview than Blood and Beauty. It focuses much more instead on Lucrezia's own feelings and thoughts. I found both of them very well written and engaging, and I really enjoyed this one. Sarah Dunant's book possible does the scheming and plotting better, as in this book Lucrezia often has a slightly outsider's view of her family's plans.(less)
Karen D.Trujillo Yes I have just finished it in 1 day. Fascinating book, a historically written book, accurate, it is enthralling. Lucrezia was 13-20 during the period…moreYes I have just finished it in 1 day. Fascinating book, a historically written book, accurate, it is enthralling. Lucrezia was 13-20 during the period of this book. So much has been written about her with a very anti-Borgia slant;she was a child of the Pope. Her family changed the history of the world due to the machinations of her father brothers and mother. She's always been portrayed as a evil murderous person. Her family was, was she though? There is so much fiction about her, but this is accurate, written from her point of view. I loved this book and I highly recommend it. (less)

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Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History has not been kind to the Borgias, much of which is well deserved. It is very sad, however, that Lucrezia got sucked into the mix. It is difficult remembering that she was only 13-20 yrs old when the events of this novel occured. This poor girl endured more tragedy in her adolescence than most people experience in a lifetime. Gortner, again, does a brilliant job in personalizing his characters and bringing them to life. 4.5 stars.
Kate Quinn
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Infamy is merely an accident of fate . . . [but] infamy is no accident. It is a poison in our blood. It is the price of being a Borgia."

First and last lines of the shiver-inducing prologue in Christopher W. Gortner's sumptuous THE VATICAN PRINCESS, a dark, troubling, sumptuous character dive into one of Gortner's most unique heroines. What struck me about Lucrezia Borgia as opposed to any of his other ladies (Juana la Loca, Catherine de'Medici, Isabella of Castile) is that for the most part, th
Sarah (Presto agitato)
The Borgias are one of history’s most notorious families. Rodrigo Borgia, eventually the corrupt Pope Alexander VI, was the patriarch, father of several illegitimate children including sons Giovanni (Juan) and Cesare, whose sibling rivalry may have turned murderous. His daughter Lucrezia was known for her seductive but toxic beauty. The Borgias inspired their contemporary Niccolò Machiavelli's book, The Prince, and have provided ample material to creative artists ever since, to everyone from Vic ...more
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lucrezia Borgia was the daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, later known as Pope Alexander VI. The Borgias are a much talked about historical family, mostly due to the political intrigue and corruption surrounding Rodrigo's Papal court. Yet this novel shows the family through Lucrezia's eyes, not Rodrigo's. Therefore we are granted the blunt perspective of a young girl growing to womanhood during turbulent times. I appreciated the honesty that Lucrezia's voice brought to the tale.
I have read novels about
Alice Poon
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it

This was an intensely enthralling read that transported me into the psyche of the protagonist. The novel is written from the perspective of Lucrezia Borgia in the first person. I’m usually not a fan of first-person narration, but it works surprisingly well in this novel, not to mention that the narrator is a male speaking in a female voice. There are a few graphic violent scenes that might not appeal to some readers.

The author successfully spins a possible theory and gripping plot about the much
Actually 2.5 stars

C.W. Gortner is one of my favorite authors of all time. Ever since he wowed me in The Last Queen, on every release day of his novels, I always go to my local Barnes and Nobles right on opening time and purchase his newest selection, often before they even have time to put the book on the shelves. His books have always been a NEED rather than a WANT for me. After I bought The Queen’s Vow in 2012, I went on his website on the news section, which I check regularly, and saw that he
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
If you enjoy historical fiction and have never read a C.W. Gortner novel, than you need to fix that now. He's hands down a brilliant writer! In The Vatican Princess the author examines the life of Lucretia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI during the period of 1492-1501. Written in first person, Lucretia tries to set the record straight from the beginning of her father's ascension to the papal seat, her marriages and her relationships with her three brothers. But is Lucretia Borgia an innoc ...more
Jenny Q
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-vine
3.5 Stars. I'm not a big fan of the Borgias, but I love Gortner's books, so I had faith that he would find a way to make Lucrezia's story fresh and vibrant for me. However, it took me a while to get into this one, and I was worried I would not be able to recommend The Vatican Princess. I found it to follow the plotline of the first season of Showtime's The Borgias pretty closely, and I felt like I was just going over the same old ground. But about halfway through, Lucrezia starts becoming more o ...more
Steven Walle
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book. I shall give a full review at a later date.
Be Blessed.
The Lit Bitch
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C.W. Gortner is one of my favorite historical fiction writers! He always picks really unique women in history to write about and he always captures the essence of their story in a unique way.

Being a male author writing about women in history isn’t an easy deal especially……I know when I pick up the first book I read by him, I was skeptical because how can a man understand what a women is going through? But I was completely blown away with how well Gortner connected to the historic figures and cre
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I didn’t set out to read C.W. Gortner’s The Vatican Princess because I love the Borgias. I appreciate their role in politics, but I’ve never been particularly enamored with their legendary drama. Truth be told, my interest in the novel was inspired by the author who penned it. Gortner’s books hold a treasured place in my personal library and I couldn’t resist adding another of his volumes to my collection.

Historically speaki
Althea Ann
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Delivered, as expected, a tale of the Borgias, focusing on Lucrezia, following her character from an innocent girl of around age 12 to a mature woman. Lucrezia here is in line with the current idea of the historical character, (rather than the conniving poisoner I grew up with). She'll be somewhat familiar to watchers of TV's 'The Borgias.' Perhaps the book also seemed quite familiar to me as I read this one, which covers much of the same territory, not too long ago: ...more
Lucrezia and her family have always been a favorite subject of mine to read; I will never pass up a historical novel about the Borgias. So when I discovered that one of my favorite authors (C. W. Gortner) wrote a Borgia novel, you can imagine my hysterical excitement! Needless to say, I was not at all disappointed. I really and truly loved this novel.

As you know from the synopsis, the story revolves around Lucrezia Borgia. This novel brought to us a poignant look at her life. She was not a villa
Sarah Mac
My favorite kind of historical novel: plenty of OTT WTFery masquerading as Serious Fiction. :D

This feels like a cross between RAIN MAIDEN & the [Showtime] Borgias. The story is narrated entirely by Lucrezia, so there's a good bit of characters discussing the backdrop when she isn't present to witness -- a trope that annoys me unless, like RAIN MAIDEN, there's plenty of intense personal story to enjoy front & center. And there is. The author touches on those pesky incestuous rumors in a fairly be
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A captivating novel that weaves a coming-of-age story, politics, history, and drama of the puzzling Lucrezia Borgia. The book covers a snapshot of Lucrezia’s life. During these 7 years, the author concentrates on the brutal relationships with the men in her life. I think all of the Borgia’s scandalous rumors are in the novel: jealousy, revenge, blackmailing, lies, nepotism, drunkenness, murders, rape, incest, spying and more. I've heard this isn't Gortner best but I liked it. Hope to read his ot ...more
Ashley Marie
Ah, the Borgias. Such drama. Such intrigue. And I never did watch the show on Netflix, although I imagine Jeremy Irons made the most perfect Rodrigo Borgia.

This got better as it went along. I'm such a sucker for love matches in historical fiction, and Lucrezia/Alfonso gave me heart eyes like no other. By the sounds of the afterword, a full sequel could have been written based around Cesare's downfall.
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5/5 stars!

Gortner adds his twist to the "traditionally understood" Borgia story.

I've always felt that Lucrezia Borgia was a victim and a sacrificial lamb to her families cruel ambitions. It's nice to see an author writing about her in a more sympathetic light. Gortner makes you feel as if you were Lucrezia going through all her heartaches and life experiences. I felt like she was very relatable and Gortner made sure not to paint her with the same brush as the rest of her vile family.

I loved t
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by CW Gortner is a roller coaster ride through the often scandalous and always bawdy days of fifteenth century Italian history!

The Borgia name is infamous for many reasons; some real, others embellished. Here Lucrezia is the star as we see things through her eyes, starting when she's 12 years old. She is a true pawn in the political intrigues of her father & brothers and is expected to be happy with their decisions regarding her life. Throughout t
Meg - A Bookish Affair
4.5 stars. "The Vatican Princess" is the story of Lucrezia Borgia, a member of one of the most infamous families in history. The book captures the politics and salaciousness of the rule of the Borgias with great detail that pulled me in quickly. While this book covers a lot of the things that many history lovers know or have heard about the Borgias, Gortner breathes life into the story telling it from Lucrezia's perspective. She is quite young when the book opens so we get to see a lot of her li ...more
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 - rounded up here.

C. W. Gortner is a favorite of mine. He creates stories that breathe life into history, writing with emotion and feeling making the reader (me) connect with his characters. Some of his previous novels evolve around famous and unique women, Catherine Medici, Queen Isabella and her daughter Juana. It wasn't hard to get lost in these stories and some stayed with me long after I turned the final page. I will admit after The Last Queen to developing a distinct dislike for King
I am incredibly picky about fictional stories revolving the Borgia family. The Borgia family is one of my favorite history subjects (history nerd alert), and after being disappointed time and time again from Borgia fiction books, I had all but given up on the search. But I saw this new book being released, surrounding around the life of the elusive Lucrezia Borgia, and I decided to take a chance.

Ladies and gentlemen, this book has substance. I've found that historical fiction Borgia books almost
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C.W. Gortner does it again! After reading his novel of Coco Chanel, I really didn't think he could write a better one but this one is great! The daughter of the pope, Lucrezia is subject, not only to him but her two brothers who both seem to have low esteem which unfortunately they take out on their sister. Known in history as another Jezebel, this novel shows Lucrezia had little say over her life.
Although she struggles for control over her life, her efforts are largely unsuccessful which doesn'
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: italy, favorites, borgias
Amazing book about Lucrezia Borgia and her loved ones! It beautifully brings to life Renaissance Italy. The author stayed true to historical sources and gave the story many interesting twists. Full review you can find on my blog: ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: no
Welp! Sometimes I wish there were trigger warnings for books. Though I admit it's on me for not reading reviews, etc., for warnings. But also: was that (view spoiler) really necessary? I'm mad too because while it certainly wasn't going to be my favorite, I was relatively enjoying it. And the writing was rather okay. I think Gortner tended to rely on the "mythical" aspect of Lucrezia but I was willing to put it aside cause everything else was going fine. Until, ...more
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was beyond thrilled to be given the chance to read this latest book by Mr. Gortner. He is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. In The Vatican Princess he takes on the legendary Lucrezia Borgia. Was she the evil poisoner that history tells us she was or was she just a political pawn of her family? For what were women good for but making alliances? And babies.

The book picks up when Lucrezia is 13 and her father has just been elevated to the papacy as Alexander VI. Rome is a hotbed o
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are many books written about Lucrezia Borgia: some play her as a beautiful brainless harlot, others as a heartless poisoner who sleeps with her brother, and there are a few, which portray her as a woman in a difficult time and place, who does her best to be loyal to those she loves, and to her personal values. "The Vatican Princess" is one of the latter.

The book introduces us to a young Lucrezia, around 12 years old. Her father is about to become Pope, her elder brother (and father's favo
I cannot resist a book about the Borgia's. My collection includes everything from Sarah Bradford's Lucrezia Borgia and Cesare Borgia: His Life and Times, to over rated classics like The Family and underrated jems like Sins of the House of Borgia and The Borgia Bride. I never grow tired of reading something new about this family, and I'm always excited to see how these infamous personalities will be interpreted by New authors.

The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia was a solid novalizati
Carole P. Roman
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very human treatment about the Borgia family, author Gortner detangles the complex history of both the Vatican and Italy to explain the impact of this notorious family. Fraught with intrigue, dirty politics, and incest, The Vatican Princess offers an insiders look as to Gortner perceptions of the Borgias and the reign of terror. While Lucretia has often been painted with the same lurid brush as the rest of her family, Gornter creates a different person, a victim of her families ambitious machina ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 6 Aug 29, 2015 08:03AM  

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Bestselling author C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing, with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies. Raised in Spain and half Spanish by birth, he currently lives in Northern California. His books have been translated in over 20 languages to date.

He welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit him at for more information.

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