Belinda's Reviews > Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy

Lucrezia Borgia by Sarah Bradford
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's review
Sep 02, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-bio

This was a wonderful biography---and one of the few honest ones of Lucrezia Borgia out there. Most bios before a certain time are to be avoided--littered with inaccuracies and downright slander. Also usually far too filled with information on her illustrious if somewhat decadent family. This book truly focuses on Lucrezia herself. It starts with her beginnings and a nice overview of the warring families and duchys that made up Italy at the time and from which she sprung.
The book pretty quickly debunks most myths about Lucrezia which is long overdue. Far from the poisoning, incestous creature she is described as in most books,or films and even history books or the simpering, slightly soft headed child of fate, controlled equally by her brother and father, Lucrezia evolves as a very human, and very interesting woman of her times.
Starting with her strange childhood as the bastard child of a pope and ending with her days as the acclaimed and much loved Duchess of Ferrarra this book covers it all, using her existing letters as well as descriptions and histories by less biased folks of the time. What emerges is a portrait of a complicated, beautiful, wily, charming and religous woman who despite committing the same sins as any human might commit, is often colored as blackly as her sociopathic brother Cesare. She is even quite a feminist figure, ruling Ferrarra in her husband's absences (quite frequent) and deeply respected by poets, artists and writers of the times as a cultured, intelligent and kind woman.
Having been fascinated by Lucrezia since I was a child (I read my first book about her at the age of 10) and always wondering what the truth was about her life, I was quite pleased to find a really detailed and in depth look at her life to add to my own opinion of the lady.
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