Fifteenth-century Rome: The Borgia family is on the rise. Lucrezia’s father, Pope Alexander VI, places his illegitimate daughter and her only brothers, Cesare, Giovanni, and Goffredo, in the jeweled splendor—and scandal—of his court. From the Pope’s affairs with adolescent girls to Cesare’s dangerous jealousy of anyone who inspires Lucrezia’s affections to the ominous birth of a child conceived in secret, no Borgia can elude infamy.
Young Lucrezia gradually accepts her fate as she comes to terms with the delicate nature of her relationships with her father and brothers. The unbreakable bond she shares with them both exhilarates and terrifies her as her innocence begins to fade. Soon she will understand that her family’s love pales next to their quest for power and that she herself is the greatest tool in their political arsenal.
From the inimitable pen of Jean Plaidy, this family’s epic legend is replete
with passion, intrigue, and murder—and it’s only the beginning. (via Shelfari)
What I Thought
Jean Plaidy is a giant in historical fiction and someone that I have really wanted to read. I started with Madonna of the Seven Hills since it’s protagonist is Lucrezia Borgia – one of my all time favorite Italian historical ladies. I was not let down by Jean Plaidy at all and I really enjoy her historical light way of writing.
If you’ve seen the Showtime show The Borgias you’ll be getting a slightly different story here – less sensationalized and less sexy which is fine with me. It’s still really exciting as the history at that time was brilliant. I really love the relationship between Lucrezia and her father as well as her brothers and even her father’s mistress. Plaidy pens in some of the creepy sexual overtones of the alleged relationship between Lucrezia and her brother Caeser which I am assuming will be more explored in the follow up book Light on Lucrezia since Madonna of the Seven Hills is Lucrezia’s first 18 years and the second book is everything after that.
Lucrezia is such a great innocent type of character and it’s a great foil against the rise of the Borgia power with it’s maliciousness and cunning. The story is full of intrigue and it’s even pretty forgiving on Lucrezia’s actual history. The details of her life are woven together interestingly enough to keep you engaged throughout the book and it leaves you with wanting to know what happens in the next part of her life. I thought it was great.