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The Borgia Confessions

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  53 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 pow
Paperback, 432 pages
Expected publication: 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 ag ...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
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 Mad ...more
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. I
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.
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!
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 want/>/>First
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 politic ...more
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 Cardin ...more
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 a
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!!
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ah, I do so enjoy stories about the Borgia family (& the Medicis/Renaissance era rulers generally) & Palombo does a magnificent job of casting a new light on this much maligned family, the politics and maneuvering of the time, and corruption within the Church/Vatican that still persists in some degree today. Delightfully sensual and overall riveting, I hope Palombo continues to write more in this vein!
Courtney Lyn
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Please enjoy additional book reviews & adventures on my blog: The Bull Crabs

Surprisingly AMAZING!

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book! In the beginning my brain was telling itself it was bored, yet I couldn't put it down. I didn't know much about Borgia, I confess, (haha, see what I did there?) and 3/4 the way through I looked them up and ruined part of the ending for me. Darn history, always giving away the endings to these wonderful books. (ha!)

Anyways - extremely w/>
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction as a way to learn about the past. With Alyssa Palombo’s The Borgia Confessions, I’ve discovered a past that I never encountered before!

Set in 1490’s Rome, this is the story of Rodrigo Borgia’s rise to power as Pope Alexander VI, and the effects of this position on his family. (Yes, in this time it was not unusual for a pope to have a mistress and children.) Told from two perspectives—the oldest son Cesare, and servant Maddalena Moretti—the book
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 / 5.

I received an ARC of THE BORGIA CONFESSIONS through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. And I was thrilled to get this book! Papal scheming is one of my favorite subgenres of hist fic, and nobody does papal scheming like Rodrigo Borgia.

Told through alternating points of view, the book tells essentially the first half of Cesare Borgia's rise to infamy, beginning with the election of Pope Alexander VI and ending with Cesare's renunciation of his cardinalcy.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*A huge thank you to Jordan Hanley with St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book, in exchange for a fair and honest review*

I have read quite a few novels about the Borgias - mainly during the craze when the show featuring Jeremy Irons was on TV a few years back - and they have been told from various points of view: servants, Sancia of Aragon, Giulia Farnese, and even Lucrezia Borgia. What sets The Borgia Confessions apart from all of these other novels is th
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the Borgia Confessions and felt that the author put a lot of time and research into the topic. The novel is about the Borgia family and their rise to power. There are three siblings that are each "assigned a role" from birth by their father who eventually becomes Pope. The eldest son, Cesare, is demanded by his father to enter the life of the church with the dream that one day he would follow in his father's footsteps and become Pope as well. The middle child, Juan, is destined for the ...more
Patricia Romero
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite type of historical fiction. The players are real and the facts are real. Palombo has taken the players and the facts and woven them together with what could have happened and created a book I couldn't put down.

Rome, in 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has been named Pope Alexander. Never mind how he got the job when he had multiple illegitimate children and a mistress living next door. The Borgia family was known for being greedy, ambitious to a fault, and eliminating the com
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from St. Martin's Press - St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I was intensely focused on this book because it involved a conspiracy I am passionate about knowing a family member that was a victim. Seeing a movie such as Spotlight and reading many stories in the paper and memoirs relating to this, I had to preview this book. The Borgia Confessions tells the story of
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Borgia Confessions has it all: politics, religion, money, power, sex....Alyssa Palombo takes us on a rollicking romp during the Borgia papacy. Rodrigo Borgia has become pope and he immediately sets to making the most of it for himself and his family. His son Cesare is made Archbishop (but what he really wants is to lead the papal army); his elder son is given the army despite a complete lack of experience and an inability to understand anything about the military; daughter Lucrezia is a pawn ...more
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you NetGalley and St Martin’s Griffin for this ARC in return for my unbiased review and opinion.

I have read so many books about the Borgia's, both fiction and non fiction so maybe I am just done with the topic, but I didn't find anything new or interesting in this book. The author did a wonderful job of capturing the characters and historical setting and I enjoyed the writing. I found some of the dialogue to be just unbelievable even as historical fiction. To think that Cesare Borgia woul
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Borgia Confessions by Alyssa Palombo is a thrilling, intricate, and intriguing historical fiction novel that rotates between Cesare Borgia and one of the maids that worked for the family, and eventually his lover, Maddalena Moretti. While the character of Moretti is fictional, the author used that perspective to give the reader a further look into the thought process and steps leading up to the “creation” of what we know of Cesare Borgia. It gave us wonderful insights into his family, and wh ...more
Trick Wiley
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Received this from Net Galley! What a story what a family and guess what they really existed!! The characters in this book is so well written where you really get to know all these people and it made me get to really know them and I felt like I was right there in this story with them!! I enjoy reading and when a book like this one makes me feel like I just described then I feel like the writer has done their homework and job!! Learned a lot on Italian history that I didn't know. I had heard thro ...more
Rachel Koch Gonzalez
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this as an ARC Goodreads giveaway.

I really enjoyed this book! I hadn't known anything about the Borgia family before this book (in fact, I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't even heard the name before, or if I did, I've completely forgotten it). Palombo weaves this story with such captivation that kept me amused and immersed in the story until the very end.

I did a little bit of research on the Borgia family after finishing the book, and I hope to read more of them. I was surpris
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, giveaways
I have a mixed feeling about this book. From the one hand it was a very enjoyable read with a good mixture of history fiction and romance and from the other hand it felt a bit bland. Complex political situation on the Italian peninsula shown in the book was a bit chaotic and because of that I had problems memorizing who is ruling which city. Cesare Borgia - one of the two main narrators in this book - is too good to be true and some scenes where just too hilarious to take them seriously (like th ...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
Toni Mcintire
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won an ARC of this book on It is a historical fiction about the Borgia family. About 1/2 through I did go read a bit on the Borgia family. The 2nd Borgia pope was more interested in creating a legacy for the Borgia name and his illegitimate children. We read about the politics in the Vatican and the reasoning why some family members had cardinals in Rome. We read about the affairs of the Borgia family members and why marriages were made. I liked how the author presented the stor ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this sweeping historical fiction novel set during Renaissance Italy times.
My lack of knowledge of the history at that time did cause me some confusion at times during all the political maneuvering in the book.
The story of how the Borgia family came to power to rule the lands and the church and became a dynasty was intriguing. Political deceit, corruption within the church, intrigue and treachery abound here as each member of the Borgia family has an agenda that may or may not c
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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, trav ...more