When I found out that The Sins of the House of Borgia was for sale, and rather cheap, at Amazon, I ran over and downloaded the book. I don't have a kindle, but I have been reading the e-book on my computer using the Kindle PC App. The more and more I read, the more and more I thought that it sounded like a book I had at home. Low and behold, said book was The Book of Love, the UK version. So, I've been burning this book at both ends. I'd been wanting to read this book to be prepared for Showtime's The Borgias which is debuting soon. Not that I have Showtime, but anyways. I also read The Borgia Bride and Sara Poole's Poison. Both of these books were about the Borgia's, but not from their perspective. Add The Sins of the House of Borgia to that list.
Sarah Bower's narrator is Esther Sarfati, a conversa lady-in-waiting to Lucrezia Borgia. Esther becomes Violante, a cruel nickname given to her by Lucrezia's equally cruel but irresistible brother Cesare. Violante is charmed by Cesare. But Cesare always has something or someone better. Violante has no choice but to brokenheartedly follow Madonna to Ferrrera where they will join Madonna's husband's illustrious de Este Court. But the de Este Court is nothing like the papal court. All the dancing, singing, loving, and opulence is gone. Or is it?After Lucrezia falls ill and Violante cares for her, Cesare shows up to help his sister recover. The encounter that Violante dreams of with Cesare comes to pass, and leaves her with pox, a pregnancy and a renewed hope of love. Madonna, noticing Cesare's trust in Violante and her growing belly, takes Violante under her wing. Violante begins to learn secrets, becoming a trusted confidante and errand runner. This in turn gives Violante hope for a future with Cesare, fueling her desire for him. Upon the arrival of their son, Violante recieves luxerious gifts for herself and "her" child. Despite the slight, persistent Violante never gives up on her dreams of being with Cesare. While on a mission for Madonna, Violante meets Gideon d'Arzenta, brother to another conversa lady-in-waiting. Gideon, intrigued by Violante, asks her to marry him. Violante refuses and Gideon learns about Cesare, but never gives up hope. He asks Violante to marry him, kidnap Girolamo and run away with him. Suddenly, Cesare dies, revealing all the secrets belonging to him and his family. Will Violante follow the path of love?
This book is very well written, and you can visualize the opulent dresses, scenes, jewels, as well as the looks of desire. Violante was a sympathetic character. And of course, the Borgia family, is ruthless. I feel that this book accurately describes history. Living around the Borgia Family was dangerous to life, health and sanity. The book showed how quickly one could rise and then fall.
Very good book.