Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Borgia Bride (2005)

The Borgia Bride. Jeanne Kalogridis. 2005. St. Martin's Press. 528 pages. [Source: Library]

The Borgia Bride is not a romance novel. If you expect it to be strictly a "romance novel", you may be shocked at how unromantic it is. If you're reading it because you love history, you may also be disappointed, because of the way Kalogridis has decided to interpret history--or "the facts" as she sees them. (I think she was going for shock.) If you are looking for a book with well-rounded characters, look elsewhere.

The novel is set in Renaissance Italy, roughly around 1492-1503. The heroine of the novel is Sancha of Aragon, the wife of Jofre Borgia. It was an arranged marriage, as many were at the time. The trouble for Sancha truly begins when the couple goes to Rome to live with the rest of the Borgia family. It is then that Sancha meets her father-in-law (Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI), her sister-in-law, Lucrezia, and her brother-in-law Cesare. The author has Sancha falling into instant love (or should that be lust?) with Cesare. This is perhaps helped along by the fact that Cesare "saves" her from being raped by her father-in-law. The two speak the next day, and when he apologizes for wanting to seduce her himself, she confesses that she wouldn't mind--she loves him so it would be different. But Sancha though an adulteress soon realizes that the Borgia family is way too immoral for her to ever belong. She discovers the sick, disturbing secrets of the family; if the family learns that she knows these secrets, well, it wouldn't be pretty. For Sancha realizes that Cesare may be oh-so-dreamy and have a voice like velvet (the book does say that, his voice and manners were like velvet), but he is a murderer; he is cold, calculating, selfish. She's brave enough to end the relationship, but, she still remains trapped in this horribly dysfunctional family. Over half the novel is about Sancha gaining the strength and perhaps stealth needed to defeat evil and make a stand for justice.

The Borgia Bride definitely has adult content. It is historical fiction. Its focus is on the outrageous, scandalous, reprehensible behavior of the Borgia family. I'm not sure how much of this is based on actual historical evidence--not historical allegations, because allegations are sometimes known to be questionable or controversial or completely false. The Borgias as depicted by Kalogridis are evil through and through with absolutely no good to them at all. The father, the sons, the daughter. They are not a little bad, a little dangerous--they are pure evil. Cesare is not a Byronic hero; he's the devil. There is absolutely no character depth in this novel. Villains can be exciting or fascinating. (Would Alias be the same without Arvin Sloane? Would Once Upon A Time be the same without Regina or Mr. Gold? There has to be substance even to villains for the story to work.)

The Borgia Bride's biggest weakness is it is almost impossible to truly care about any of the characters. 


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Ann @ Blogging Profits Unleashed 1:27 AM  

Nice review! I keep debating over this one, whether to pick this up or not. But this review definitely makes me want to consider it!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP