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The Borgia Confessions

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  136 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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Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oh my goodness, I loved this book! In The Borgia Confessions, Alyssa Palombo travels back to Italy in the late 15th century as Pope Alexander VI becomes head of the Church in 1492. The events that follow are told from the perspective of an illegitimate son, Cesare, who becomes a Cardinal in the Church and Maddalena Morretti, a widowed country girl that becomes a servant in the House of Borgia. As the
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
The Celtic Rebel (Richard)
Original ~ Informative ~ Entertaining ~ Twisted ~ Haunting ~ Great World Building ~ Realistic ~ Easy To Read ~ Page-Turner ~ Steamy - Wonderful Characters

I have always had a historical fascination with the scheming Borgia family and when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. I was really happy when I won it in a giveaway.

Alyssa Palumbo has been added to my favorite authors list because she did a really good job here of portraying the political schemes of the Borgias that keeps you interested
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
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.
The Lit Bitch
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Alyssa Palombo since her very first book. I think she is absolutely a fresh voice in historical fiction and I am always down to read one of her new books.

Last year her book on Katrina Van Tassel was so fun and I was eager to see where her next story might take place. When I saw that it was in Italy featuring one of the most notorious families in history, I was so here for it!

Palombo always does a marvelous job researching her novels so that they please history fans but they
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
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.

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
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.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
FANTASTIC! SUPERB! Full review to follow.
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
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.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I was provided an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was well written, and you can tell that the author did her research. I had alway heard of the Borgia's but I never really knew much about them. I learned a great deal from this book, and it prompted me to look up more about them and the actual events that took place. I always knew that the church was corrupt, but this take the hypocrisy to another level

This book takes place in the 1490s, when Rodrigo
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

Officially the first book I've read that's set before the 1800s, The Borgia Confessions was an extraordinarily well-researched depiction of the infamous Borgia family during Rodrigo Borgia's reign as Pope in the 1490s. Fictional storylines weaved with factual events, characters were pulled from their place in history and reanimated at Palombos hand; made flesh again to relive their sordid tales and commit their heinous crimes.

I'm not the first to admit that I knew
Jan 05, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: historical, romance
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
This and other reviews can be found at

Cesare Borgia was a teen with dreams of military life but when your father is Rodrigo Borgia, the Pope, well your life isn't your own. When the Pope tells you what to do there is no arguing. Such is the life of Cesare, bowing to his father (literally). It was a nice change to have a male POV, he might not be all that likable but getting a sense of his turmoil and desires made his story authentic. It wasn't a pretty story - these are
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
The publisher and Netgalley provided me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia are the children of a man with limitless ambition. He is determined to ascend to the title of Pope, and become the most powerful man in the Western world. His children are tools to fuel his ruthless ambition, and his desire for an enduring legacy. They become pawns in his grand schemes, their own desires and needs sabotaged and drowned by his avarice.

Cesare has no
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!
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
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow – this is an extremely powerful, captivating novel on an equally powerful family. The novel does great justice to this family that used anything within their power in their quest to rule and wealth.

The novel is told from two viewpoints, the wealthy eldest brother of the Borgia family, Cesare, and a maid, Maddalena.

Cesare never wanted a life dedicated to God, he wanted to be a military man. But as a Borgia, he has to do what his Father tells him to do. On the outside, he seems kind,
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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