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Archive - Open Reads > June/July 2012 - The Borgias - Reading lists and reviews.

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message 1: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1550 comments Mod
Since it is almost halfway through June and we are just listing the Open Reads topic for this month, I am going to let it go from now until July 31. I figure it will give people more time also, since it is summer and some of us may have less time to read.

In addition, I thought I would just have one thread for both What will we read and the reviews, SOO

1. What Borgia books will you read?
2. What ones have you already read and feel you could recommend.
3. Please post reviews of ones you read now.

Thanks all - and thanks to Rio(Lynne) for the topic.


message 2: by Christie (new)

Christie (cereale) I am planning on reading The Borgia Betrayal and Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy. I am so excited about this topic. I have been playing the video game series Assassin's Creed which is set in Renaissance Italy and the Borgia family plays a large role in it. I haven't read anything on the Borgias before, but I recently read the book The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici about Caterina Sforza who crossed paths with the Borgia many times (not always on the most friendly terms). It is a definite read for anyone interested in Italian Renaissance rulers.


message 3: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1550 comments Mod
Christie, that sounds like a great book. I will have to add it to my huge TBR. Not sure what to read, but I have a few Borgia books in my library, so I will take a look.


message 4: by Christie (new)

Christie (cereale) I just finished Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy by Sarah Bradford. I rated it three stars. Here's my review:

I had not known much about the Borgias before reading this book. I had come across them in a few books and in the Assassin's Creed video game series, but didn't really know much about them. This book was a nice introduction. Where a lot of biography authors just expect you to have a lot of background knowledge of the subject and the time in history, Ms. Bradford does a very good job of setting the stage and familiarizing the reader with the key characters, setting, and how it all fits with world history. Like I said above, the book is extremely well-researched but still approachable for the casual reader. Lucrezia was a fascinating woman. At first, controlled by her father and brother, she made her own life after their deaths. She had a great head for government and her third husband, Alfonso Este, Duke of Ferrara, left much of the government running to her. She was also a passionate woman as her many love letters quoted in the text exemplify.

The first part of the book dragged for me like nobody's business. It really seemed more like a biography of Rodrigo and Cesare Borgia than of Lucrezia. In fact, Lucrezia seemed to be just a minor personage in that part of the book. In the second part, she really came into her own more and I enjoyed that. It also irritated me a bit that quite a few Italian words that were unfamiliar to me were used throughout the text with no definitions. This book also is one biography that does not read like fiction at all. It's not boring, but it does get repetitive after awhile. It was also hard for me to keep all the players straight at times since they were all named the same 5 or 6 names. I also feel that Lucrezia was a little too squeaky clean in this biography than she might have been in real life.

(After reading this book I am convinced that everyone in Renaissance Italy had syphilis. It seemed like everytime the author would introduce someone it was always "he suffered from syphilis" or "he had x,y,z health problems probably caused by syphilis." Just an interesting observation I made.)


message 5: by Christie (new)

Christie (cereale) I finished Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance by Sara Poole. I gave it 4 stars. It was a fun historical thriller and I had trouble putting it down.

This book is a nice, action-packed book with a strong heroine. Francesca is smart and self-reliant. Sure there are some love interests, Cesare Borgia being one of them, but that doesn't overwhelm the story and Francesca is definitely not a love-sick, boy-crazy protagonist. She also doesn't depend on men to rescue her. I very much love characters like Francesca.

It is quite apparent that the author did her research for this book. She doesn't try to rewrite history, just come up with alternate explanations for events and a story of what might have happened. Her descriptions of Roman architecture and city life make you feel like you are really there. Ms. Poole also did her research on poisons and their various effects (which Poole pulls no punches with, this is definitely not a book for the squeamish). It is a well-written historical fiction with compelling characters. The only small issue I had is that sometimes the transitions between scenes weren't as clear-cut as they should have been and sometimes it took a little while to catch up to where the story was going. Still a great historical thriller and I look forward to the next in the series.


message 7: by Kit (new)

Kit I just finished reading The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici; it was excellent! Remarkable woman. Its well worth reading.


message 8: by Christie (new)

Christie (cereale) I finished The Borgia Betrayal, the second book in the Poison series by Sara Poole. I enjoyed it though not as much as I liked the first one. I rated it 3 stars.

There is intrigue, there is romance, there is danger. Old characters return and new characters are introduced. The city of Rome is explored even more so than the first book. Francesca is still one of my favorite book heroines.

Now why only 3 stars? Well I felt this book lacked the direction that the first one had. This one flailed around a bit in the middle and didn't have as tight of a storyline. Also, I hate books with flashbacks that never explain what's going on. We get many glimpses into Francesca's past in this book, but never actually find anything out. It drives me crazy. My last problem with the book is the fact that Francesca relies much more on men than she did in the first book.

The book was still quite enjoyable and if you liked the first book you will like this one. A lot of people say you don't need to read the first one first, but I didn't find that to be the case. Of course, I can't unread the first one to give a good judgment. It was a fun historical thriller and I recommend it to people who like the genre and the Italian Renaissance.


message 9: by Christie (new)

Christie (cereale) Kit wrote: "I just finished reading The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici; it was excellent! Remarkable woman. Its well worth read..."

I very much enjoyed that book. Its on my favorites shelf. Caterina was quite a woman.


message 10: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin | 6 comments Kate Quinn has 2 books on the Borgias that are good.


message 11: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1550 comments Mod
Caitlin wrote: "Kate Quinn has 2 books on the Borgias that are good."

I've been looking forward to reading those, Caitlin.


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