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Blood & Beauty: The Borgias (2013)

Blood & Beauty: The Borgias (2013)

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3.59 of 5 Votes: 4
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1400069297 (ISBN13: 9781400069293)
Random House

About book Blood & Beauty: The Borgias (2013)

Having read other books by the author, I was excited to read her delve into the Borgia clan. Her respect and affection for the family is evident - after all, once you spend so much time researching these individuals, how could you not? The Borgias have a massive reputation that is a messy combination of propaganda and truth, which I felt the author did much to cover. However, the characters were alternately flat and life-like. The Pope himself started out as an incredible character, but we lost his well-rounded vitality towards the end of the book. Lucrezia was under portrayed for her historical figure and only began coming into herself within the final few chapters. Cesare, ah Cesare... The only character that remained consistent throughout the book. A good historical read, but one that left me wanting to know more about the family. A book about a fascinating era and family, rife with intrigue and excess and sex, that somehow still felt flat. In fact, I finished this book nearly a month ago and had already entirely forgotten I read it. The writing here was adept enough, and the characters drew from the rich wellspring of history, but, unfortunately, there was no meat to hold these interesting bones together. I think the whole allure of the Borgias is their soap opera antics played out on the grand stage of world powers. "Blood and Beauty" chose to present a strangely serious, almost morose, portrait of these vibrant characters; this is, after all, fiction. and not an exercise in scholarly restraint. Plus I felt the "cliffhanger" ending was a cheap attempt to cash in on the popularity of other historical fictions (namely those of Hilary Mantel, whose positive blurb was featured prominently on "Blood and Beauty"'s cover); certainly I think the content here could have been refined and...zestified enough that only one book would have been necessary to cover the entire time period. The history snob in me suspects this is targeted at those unfamiliar with the Borgias in particular and Renaissance history in general, for whom paeans to the Pieta and the Sistine Chapel ceiling will incite smug reminiscences of their otherwise forgotten Intro to Art History classes and "Look at all this goddamn history!" exclamations at book club meets that are little more than charitable exercises benefitting the wine-production community. All in all a disappointment and a missed opportunity. I eagerly await the novel that will give this over-the-top clan their campy due, but this, in my humble opinion, just ain't it.

Do You like book Blood & Beauty: The Borgias (2013)?

Enjoyed the story & level of detail--enough to feel the times but not so much that the story drags

A pretty good story with some insight into the history of Italy,papal intrigues and the Borgias

Author of Birth of Venus

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