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Lucrezia Borgia and the Mother of Poisons

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  307 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
"Poisoner!" The bellowed accusation strikes into silence all those in Lucrezia Borgia's audience chamber.

Lucrezia has fled Rome to a loveless marriage with Alfonso, heir to the duke of Ferrara, to escape the rumors that she is utterly depraved---incestuous, a lecher, a poisoner. To her delight she is warmly welcomed in Ferrara, by the duke, by his court, by the people, ind
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Forge Books (first published September 1st 2003)
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Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked the Madgdaline books better. This was entertaining. I figured out the murderer about 1/2 way through the book. And Lucrezia and her husband's personalities were simplified to be mostly good people without any poltical interests. I think that if they had been more complex, they would have been more interesting but harder to be straight forward hero and heroine.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
I kept reading this book hoping it would get better. Unfortunately, it did not.
I found the book boring, although actually the history is interesting. The book is too wordy but says too little, it is tedious reading because it is both convoluted in its schemes and confusing in its details. I did like the information about the clothing, our clothes are so boring in comparison, even the current Royal's clothing is simple and boring compared to what royalty wore in the 1500's. Also, Lucrezia Borgia was a complex woman from a background that I feel needs more exploring. The boo ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
In this most engaging medieval novel of Lucrezia Borgia she attempts to solve a murder and is eventually successful. My knowledge of her is that her family arranged several marriages for her for political reasons. Her father was Pope Alexander VI. In this book she is portrayed as a thinking woman, something very unusual in her time, as well as being well liked and respected in her home in Ferrara, to her third husband Alfonso d'Este. The story takes place in approximately 1502-3 and the historic ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This excerpt of the first page of this book will probably be better than any explanation of why I could not read more than said first page:

"Lucrezia's mouth dropped open and her eyes widened with a shock that deprived her of the power to make any protest, for a moment of the power to think."

Oy vey!
Christa Sigman
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I love a story that grabs my attention from the beginning and keeps me wondering until the very end. This one did that. It also had the combined elements of romance, and historical accuracy. I honestly could not stop reading. When I had to stop reading, I kept thinking about it!
Jan 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
I read this a few years ago and it was one of those books that I kept at only because I needed to see if it got better. I was bored the entire book. Not for me.
Erika Williams
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lucrezia Borgia. Adulteress? Maybe. Poisoner and lover of Cesare and their father? Definitely not according to this novel. At first I found myself skeptical of a book portraying Lucrezia as an innocent victim, but I found myself enjoying it far more than some of the other Borgia novels I’ve read recently.

Here we have a Lucrezia who is nothing more than a pawn in her family’s schemes and a victim of malicious rumors that she is all too willing to escape. However, her retirement to Ferrara is shor
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
My Review: I stumbled upon this book one day while browsing a local used bookstore and I immediately snatched it up because it was about Lucrezia Borgia. With all the recent Borgia talk and never having read about them I knew I had to get this book.

This book is set in 1501 and Lucrezia Borgia has just married her third husband, Alfonso Ferrara. Bianca Tedaldo has just been murdered and Lucrezia is being blamed by none other than her husband Alfonso. Rumor has it that Donna Bianca is or was Alfo
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, mystery, fiction
One of the newish breed of mysteries in which a historical personage is imagined into a detective. This time we've gone back to Renaissance Italy where we find Lucrezia Borgia settling into her third marriage. Her husband is the heir to Ferrara, and while she admires him, their union is solidly political not a love match. Luckily, for her, she is pregnant which brings some safety of position.

However, the rumors of her past life in Rome have followed her, and when one of the court ladies is murd
Diana Sandberg
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Sigh. People whose opinions I trust have repeatedly praised this book, but I would only give it a middling rating. I found the characters mildly amusing but fairly thin and the mystery muddy. We scarcely met the perpetrator, the clues were fairly obvious, although there was one rather good red herring – I was sure all the to-do about Lucrezia and one of her women secretly acquiring wigs so they could go to a masked ball disguised more or less as each other was a prelude to the lady being murdere ...more
This book had some interesting parts...but they were mixed with some shifts in tone that bothered me.

I was expecting a more serious tone to this book, and too many times the heroine seemed more like she was playing at solving a murder. It was just odd. And the ending was irritating to me.

Not what I was hoping it would be.

Further, would it have killed them to provide some sort of dramatis personae to let us know who the hell was who? There were just way too many people to keep track of.

Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, especially the glimpse into 'the way things were' which always intrigues me in historical fiction. Obviously not for most menfolk, but the author describes Lucrezia's intricate dresses and the ways of the court in exquisite detail.
I'm not usually one for 'whodunits' and I suppose it's no surprise that I found the plot, characters and setting to be somewhat less well-conceived than I'd like. Still, altogether enjoyable and entertaining.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot of fun, and had history, a mystery, and a little romance. My only complaint is that why Lucrezia's husband accused her of murder in the first scene was never explained, although I can make a guess. I wish that this had been the beginning of a series, because the characters were believable and fully fleshed out, and I enjoyed imagining what life was like during the Renaissance in Italy.
Nathalie Nelson
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
It was fun to read but it can't be taken seriously. History has a completely different view of Lucrezia Borgia and I think history is more to be believed than this simplified, cleaned-up version of her. There was a mystery to be unravelled that added to the fun. I learned that in the fifteen hundreds dresses came with detachable sleeves and so the style of the dress could be changed according to which sleeves one used.
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: physical-copy
P. straightforward historical murder mystery. I can't speak to historical accuracy of it but I found it a fairly light read with some interesting tidbits about Renaissance Italian fashions and such. I liked the wholesome characterization of Lucrezia if only because it was a take on her I've never seen explored before. Not a bad way to pass a slow weekend morning or bus ride.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book that featured Lucrezia Borgia as the heroine as she tries to solve a murder at the court of the Duke of Ferrara. Although the murder itself was not a mystery the guilty party was and there were a lot of details throughout the book that I enjoyed.
May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, historical
I liked this book once I got into it. It was the first historical fiction book that was a mystery I had read. Was an entertaining twist on the regular historical fictions. Well worth the read.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This historical-fiction-mystery is a fun read. It's a good murder-mystery with plenty of twists and turns along the way. I enjoyed it very much.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Couldn't get into this one, either. Maybe due to Lucrezia Borgia fact burnout. I've been reading nonfiction about her, and maybe I'm just overloaded.
It's hard to imagine a boring book about Lucrezia Borgia, especially written by someone as talented as Roberta Gellis, but this is it.
Jun 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Fun enough, but not the best in this genre. Definitely fun to read about Lucrezia, though. I'm surprised there's not more about her.
Aug 11, 2011 added it
Boring & long winded, she spent most of the book repeating the same 4 things over & over until a sudden reveal at the end.
Holly Myles
Sep 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
More a who dunnit with Lucrezia Borgia trying to find out who murdered one of her ladies in waiting than a plain historical fiction novel.
Just ok.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
Not worth reading. Lucrezia Borgia was not known for being a mystery solving rich woman. sort of a historical Murder She Wrote but not as interesting. Silly book.
Carla Horan
rated it really liked it
Dec 03, 2010
rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2009
Jeanne Jenike
rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2011
rated it liked it
Aug 01, 2010
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Roberta Gellis has been one of the most successful writers of historical fiction of the last few decades, having published about 25 meticulously researched historical novels since 1964. She was married to her husband Charles for over 50 years and they lived together in Lafayette, Indiana with a lively Lakeland terrier called Taffy. She has one child called Mark.

Her page at the Internet Speculative

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