Wednesday, March 30, 2016

542 (2016 #8). Blood and Beauty

by Sarah Dunant,
read by Edoardo Ballerini


Interesting historical fiction about the Borgia family of Renaissance Italy.  I'd heard of this family, but knew little about them.  Sarah Dunant tells their story from 1492, when Rodrigo Borgia is elected Pope Alexander VI, to about 1502, when he marries off his daughter for the third time.

Yes - his daughter.  This pope fathered four children (by the same woman) while just a cardinal, and at least one more while he was pope by a different woman.  The book, in fact, really focuses on two of Rodrigo's children, his second child and son Cesare, and his third child and oldest daughter Lucrezia.

The intriguing cover is a montage of two paintings - one of Cesare, and the other traditionally described as Lucrezia, only it has been flipped vertically to face in the opposite direction than it really does, and conveniently placed behind her brother to hide some exposed...skin.

I've read two of Dunant's other three novels set in Renaissance Italy (in Florence, Venice, and Ferrara), and I feel she has done her research.  Apparently this book is the first of two that will tell the story of this infamous family.  I am definitely going to read the sequel.

Edoardo Ballerini, who was so good reading Beautiful Ruins, also set in Italy, is also wonderful here with the Italian pronunciations.  However, his voice is not amplified enough to hear well in a car moving at high speeds.  That, however, is more likely the fault of the production company or the e-audiobook provider.


© Amanda Pape - 2016

[The e-audiobook, and an e-book for reference, were both borrowed from and returned to public libraries.]

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