Blood & Beauty

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Blood & Beauty – A Novel of The Borgias

by Sarah Dunant

published by Thorndike Press

2013

Summary

Is there a family in history more dazzling, dangerous and notorious than the Borgias?

A powerhouse of the Italian Renaissance, their very name epitomizes the ruthless politics and sexual corruption of the Papacy.

The father, Pope Alexander VI, a consummate politician and a man with a voracious appetite both as Cardinal and Pope.

The younger Juan, womanizer and thug, and their lovely sister, Lucretia, whose very name has become a byword for poison, incest and intrigue.

But how much of the history about this remarkable family is actually true, and how much distorted, filtered through the age old mechanisms of political spin, propaganda and gossip?

What if the truth, the real history, is even more challenging? 

“Blood & Beauty: The Borgias” is an epic novel which sets out to capture the scope, the detail, the depth, the color and the complexity of this utterly fascinating family.

 

 

My Review

I love books based on historical figures.  This gets my old history major juices flowing!  Books like this and Dunant’s others-The Birth of Venus and In the Company of the Courtesanbased on history and set in Rome and Venice- are my guilty pleasures.  I tried to watch The Borgias on Showtime, but I just couldn’t get behind the idea of Jeremy Irons as the Pope.  I have always been interested in the Borgias and how they were portrayed, especially Lucrezia. .  In many instances, they have come across as a family of sociopaths, interested only in sex and power.  Scandal and the Borgia name have become synonymous.  Rumors of incest and murder still hover around them all these years later. Dunant tempers this view.  There is definitely the feeling that the Pope and his son Cesare care more about the power they amass than anything else, but that most powerful men of the time behaved the same way. Cardinals had mistresses and children, families married off children to further enhance their own power, and murder was not considered the ultimate sin.  This book actually remedied me a little of The Game of Thrones, each character being just another piece on the chessboard.  This is a well written, fun book and I would definitely recommend it.

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Bookish ( & Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.  It was finally nice the other day, so I grabbed the book I was just starting (Blood & Beauty by Sarah Dunant) and sat outside.  A few hours later I came in half way done with the book and nicely sunburned.  Ouch. Now it’s cold again and I am hot.

2.  I managed to finish 2 books so far this week-including the afore mentioned Blood & Beauty, which was about the Borgias.  Now I want to get to the bottom of this question- were they as awful as I have always heard in history classes, or, as in the book, were they just as awful (if not slightly more so) than everyone else around during that time?

3.  Can anyone recommend a place where I can get some really awesome bookmarks?  I used to have so many, but those evil fairies who always come in the house and throw things out must have targeted them.

4.  I read this article on Book Riot about whether you have ever read a book that haunted you, one that really stayed with you, and I got to wondering which books really stayed with me.  This was a tough question for me.  I think The Stand will stay with me for awhile.  What about you- what book haunts you?

5.  My local library is having their semi annual book sale this Saturday and I am SO excited!!!

6.  I finally ran more than 5 miles this week, and of course the next day my achilles was aching.  Thank god darling hubby put KT tape in my xmas stocking this year.

7.  I finished the She Reads April Book Club Selection- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and I loved it.  Unfortunately, I kept having to pick it up and put it down, and it was really bothering me that I just didn’t have a chance to read for any good block of time.

8.  I posted a review of a wonderful book this week that was sent to me by the author, fellow blogger Andra Watkins.  She is an amazing person and a wonderful writer and you should really look for her book To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.

9.  This is the first weekend since November that we don’t have something to do-yeah!!  I see a lot of reading-and some playoff hockey- in my future.  Let’s Go Rangers!

10.  I am tired of the appearance of my blog and want to spruce it up.  I am thinking of taking the plunge and actually paying $ for a new Theme.   Any suggestions?