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The Borgia Confessions

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  118 reviews
'Under Palombo’s skillful hand, the entangled world of the Borgias comes vividly to life, exposing the dark facets of class structure and the all-consuming greed that comes with ambition--and love." - Heather Webb, internationally bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris and Meet Me in Monaco

During the sweltering Roman summer of 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has risen to
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Jennie Damron
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first time ever where I loved a book, but did not like any of the characters; real and fake. The writing was superb and the research and passion she showed in this work is incredible. I loved learning about the Borgia's. The family is fascinating in their quest of love and power, but not a single one had integrity or like ability. The character of Maddalena was well thought and believable, but I wanted to shake her sometimes. She would drive me half mad with her decisions and then ...more
Cesare Borgia (1475-1507) as a boy dreams of becoming a soldier and conqueror like the great Roman conqueror, Giulio Cesare. But his father has a different plan for him – to join the Church and follow in his footsteps. This strategic plan of Rodrigo Borgia is for him to reach his goal of becoming pope.

Rome, 1492: Maddalena Moretti is a maid serving in the Holy Father’s house. She takes great pride in it. Now, the death of the Pope Innocent brings her a step closer to another historical event of
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...

Alyssa Palombo’s The Borgia Confessions invites readers to explore the halls of the Vatican Palace, peek behind its decadent curtains, and glimpse its most exclusive chambers to understand the rise of notorious Borgia scion, Cesare.

Written as a sort of bad boy origins story, The Borgia Confessions illustrates Cesare’s world as well as the politics and personalities that shaped him into Machiavelli’s quintessential Prince.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rich, fascinating, and immersive!

The Borgia Confessions is a compelling, informative tale set in Rome from 1492 to 1498 that tells the story of Rodrigo Borgia’s children, primarily Cesare, the Archbishop of Valencia who entered the church to please his father against his own true passion for battle and desire to become a condottiere; as well as that of Maddalena, a pious, palace servant who was not only loyal and friendly but a temptation too strong to resist.

The prose is vivid and alluring. The
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hf, italy
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and appreciate the opportunity to read ahead of publication.
2.5 stars. I REALLY wanted to like this more. The first half moved pretty slowly for me, the 2nd half more interesting. The Borgia's are such a fascinating family in Italian history and I've read both non-fiction and fiction about them. This story didn't add much to what I already knew, nor did the imagined MC of Maddalena provide much interest for me. The chapters are short and alternate between
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
It is 1492 and we meet Rodrigo Borgia - Pope Alexander VI who has four children and a mistress.

The children must do what their father says so the Borgia family can become more powerful.

His son, Cesare, must become a cardinal when he really wants to be in the military.

His son, Juan, must go to the military when he really isn't suited for it.

His daughter, Lucrezia, is thirteen and must marry a man 20 years older than she is so two powerful families can advance together.

The fourth child, Jofre, was
Kathi Hanaka
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and the story of the Borgia's. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Alyssa Palombo's story of the Borgia's quest for power was enhanced wonderfully by her talent to use a historical setting and entwining it with a story of a servant having inside access to the Borgia's plots and schemes to gain power in Rome. Her research and attention to detail of the time period, allowed you to vividly imagine what it was like during the Renaissance. You could easily step into ...more
Adrienne Carrick
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is how I want to learn about history! This was a very fascinating look at the history of the church and how ambition and desire for power changed what it was meant to be. The author clearly did a great deal of research to make the story as authentic as possible.
Robin Loves Reading
I admit that I must have fallen asleep during history class at one point, because when I picked up this historical fiction for review, I was not prepared. I was not prepared to learn of Papal history in Rome during 1492. I was not prepared to discover that priests, Cardinals and even the Pope had wives and mistresses. I was not prepared for the lot of it. But I could not put it down - and read it from cover to cover - a fact that has already been disputed despite its length. But I digress.

Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Palombo's books are so well researched and this one is no exception. The Borgia Confessions takes a piece of history and weaves it into a story with interesting (yet very flawed!) characters and vivid details of the setting throughout. A great read for historical fiction fans!
Dan Curnutt
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an intriguing historical novel. The Borgia family is fully committed to the Roman Catholic Church. So much so that Cardinal Borgia wants to be the Pope and he wants his eldest son to be in the church and eventually take the role of The Pope when the time comes.

Now that may sound strange to most of us, how can The Pope have a son? Aren't the Catholic Priests Celibate? If so, then there can not be a "family" succession from father to son. But that is where things become tangled. It is
Jan 05, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: romance, historical
An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was particularly excited for this book. I took a medieval/Renaissance literature class during my undergrad, which taught me a lot about the Borgias and how the Catholic Church functioned in this time. (I also played an excessive amount of Assassin's Creed a few years back, which is obviously a 100% accurate historical record.) I haven't read a contemporary novel set in that era, so I was
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Everyone has heard of the infamous Borgia family who held a lot of power in Italy during the 15th century and Palombo dives even deeper into their tumultuous reign by telling us a story from Cesare's viewpoint as well as Maddalena, a servant to the Borgia family. Cesare, the Pope's son, isn't interested in becoming an Archbishop, but he knows that he has no choice as his purpose in life is to serve the Borgia family and his father. He wishes that he was given the task of controlling the ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
The Borgia family dominated Roman political and religious culture in the late 15th century. The family is mostly known for its ruthless and scandalous behavior and that is on display in this historical fiction retelling. The author does stick fairly close to historical research and stays away from the more salacious (and probably unlikely) gossip which provides an interesting yet entertaining glimpse into the private lives of the Borgias. There is more written about politics then I was expecting ...more
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“What is in your heart is of no use to me, nor to this family”..”It is what is in your mind that will serve us, and what I intend to make us of..”
I don’t seek out novels set in the Renaissance era so this was an unusual read for me. I wanted to go out of my comfort reading zone and am very glad that I took a chance on The Borgia Confessions. A wonderful read about the rise of power of the Borgia family and how the ambition and lust for power affected the family. Cesare is the center point
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved Palombo's VIOLINIST OF VENICE, but each subsequent book of hers I read, I like a little less. In her latest, Palombo exposes the corruption and evil of the Borgias through the eyes of a fictional maid that has an affiar with Cesare Borgia, the son of a pope and a cardinal. This book was about two and a half stars for me. There was too much politics and machinations of the papacy and the Borgia family - most of which was telling not showing, with Cesare and the pope discussing the ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-winners
Received an ARC of “Borgia Confessions” from the publisher through Goodreads. Alyssa Palombo has written a gem of a historical fiction novel about the 'infamous' Borgias, particularly focusing on Cesare. I was taken in from the first chapter and then chapter by chapter, thereafter.

I would recommend it as a must read for all Borgia fans, and certainly all readers looking for a well-written novel which will hold your interest from page 1 to the end, and have you looking for more.
Sheila Siarkiewicz
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love historical fiction and reading new authors. The Borgia Confessions is the best book about the Borgias that I have read so far. While it is a fiction book a lot of it is factual. Alyssa Palomar did some amazing research. The story is told by Cesare Borgia and Maddalena. I enjoyed reading this book and had a hard time putting it down! I look forward to reading more books by this author. If you're a fan of historical fiction then you have to read this! Highly recommend!
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2019
A well written, well researched book! The book alternated chapters and I found each storyline interesting. I enjoyed the book and liked the characters even tho I didn’t agree with the things they did. Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin’s press for the early copy.
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When it is snowy and cold outside, superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL

I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do .

During the sweltering Roman summer of 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has risen to
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC through a Goodreads Giveaway, and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.

I didn’t know much beyond the myths about the Borgia family prior to picking up The Borgia Confessions, but I was glad to have the opportunity to read this book after enjoying Alyssa Palombo’s previous release, The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel, which I also got through a GR Giveaway. And I enjoyed this one just as much, if not more.

Palombo’s depiction of Cesare is a great example of
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this as an ARC from and Goodreads Giveaways.

First line: The day I learned of my father’s plans for me, I was but nine years old.

Summary: In the summer of 1492 in Rome Cesare Borgia sees his father rise to the become the newest pope. Cesare has been forced to follow his father into the church but he knows that he is destined for something more. He has a strong military mind and passion to rule. However, his father is blinded by his ambitions to consider what Cesare wants.
Laura (laurasloaninglibrary)
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it, publisher-arc
Thank you St. Martin's Press for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 4/5
Rationale: The book was well-written in very “period” language, was clearly well-researched, and had enough drama to keep me captivated.

𝗪𝐡𝐨 𝐈’𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐭𝐨: Historical fiction fans who also love romance novels. Once you get past Part I, this one laid it on THICK with the steam

𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐝: When I picked up this novel, I was certainly not prepared for what I was getting myself into. I was
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sherri Lewis
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*** I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review

This book is told from the alternating viewpoints of Cesare Borgia, eldest son of Rodrigo Borgia, and Maddalena Moretti who is a servant at the Vatican. As Rodrigo Borgia rises to power to become Pope, he forces Cesare to become the Archbishop of Valencia. Cesare is resentful of his younger brother Juan who lives the life he wishes he had. When he meets Maddalena, there was an instant attraction. Maddalena must
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I grew up having some knowledge of the Borgia family, having studied European medieval history a bit in high school advanced classes. The author did a wonderful job between her research of history and some of her own creative licenses, to give the readers a peek into the world of The Borgias. Their father set out to create a dynasty for his children, and very nearly succeeded. The difficult thing is remembering how young they all actually were. For example, Cesare was an eighteen-year-old ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
BOOK REVIEW: 4.5/5 stars rounded-up. This book is so good! It is intriguing, lustful, suspenseful, sensual, and has a really great mixture of fact and fiction. Every time I picked up this book, I felt like I was truly in the world of the Borgias.

This is the first book I have read by Alyssa Palombo, and I can’t wait to read more! You can tell she did an incredible amount of research, and she really knows her subject. Her writing is extremely vivid and poetic. She truly brought the time period,
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
As with other books by Ms. Palombo, the thoroughness of research and her love of the subject - and writing - shines through. Her stories are woven so well together that you easily lose yourself in the pages.

Taking on a subject like the Borgia family is no easy task as we have all heard of them yet you can't help but ask how much do we truly know. Well, The Borgia Confessions contains quite a bit of their actions - both personally and within the church. It's a truly intriguing story and leaves
Jodie Marie
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I like how the author wrote from two different first-person points of view. It gives a more rounded version of the story. At times the parts about politics got a little dry and hard to follow. I was really drawn in by Maddalena's inner struggle between her faith and her desire as she was pulled further into the Borgia's lives. I felt like I could personally feel her conflict and heartache. Very well written!!
This was an excellent, excellent book! There were a lot of chapters, but they were short, and I flew through the story. While I had some knowledge of the Borgia family prior to reading this, Alyssa Palombo was undoubtedly able to provide a fresh take on Cesare's life. I really enjoyed reading about sweet Maddalena. Alyssa is an author I repeatedly recommend for great historical fiction -- every one of her novels are great, and this one stands strong.

Thank you, Netgalley, for this arc.
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My name is Alyssa Palombo, and I am a writer living and working in Buffalo, NY. I attended Canisius College in Buffalo, where I majored in English and creative writing with a minor in music. I’m a classically trained mezzo-soprano who also dabbles in playing piano. When not writing, I can usually be found reading, hanging out and laughing way too hard at nonsensical inside jokes with friends, ...more