From the Publisher:
A Notorious Duke
An Infamous Duchess
An Innocent Girl
Violante isn’t supposed to be here, in one of the grandest courts of Renaissance Italy. She isn’t supposed to be a lady-in-waiting to the beautiful Lucrezia Borgia. But the same secretive politics that pushed Lucrezia’s father to the Vatican have landed Violante deep in a lavish landscape of passion and ambition.
Violante discovers a Lucrezia unknown to those who see only a scheming harlot, and all the whispers about her brother, Cesare Borgia, never revealed the soul of the man who dances close with Violante.
But those who enter the House of Borgia are never quite the same when they leave—if they leave at all. Violante’s place in history will test her heart and leave her the guardian of dangerous secrets she must carry to the grave.
Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower takes the reader back in time to the Italian Renaissance, the glittering balls, gowns, and opulent courts and into the most powerful families of the time. The book begins in 1492 with persecution of the Jews under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which leads Ester Sarfati, our narrator, to eventually becoming baptised, renamed twice, although most often she is referred to as Violante, and she is given the position of lady-in-waiting to Lucrezia Borgia, Pope Alexander VI’s illegitimate daughter. Lucrezia Borgia is to be wed to Alfonso d’Este, heir to the dukedom of Ferrara, which would unite the extremely powerful houses of Borgia and Ferrara. While all this is occurring, Violante is falling in love with Lucrezia’s brother, Casare, who takes the term “debauchery” to an all-new level. To say Cesare is unkind is far too generous. If Sins of the House of Borgia is beginning to sound like a very dramatic soap opera, it is because it is. Greed, power, wealth, political ambition and lust are found throughout the book. Bower uses a lot of creative license and writes beautifully flowing and descriptive scenes. It does not take much for the reader to be able to visualise the courts, the gowns, or life. Bower uses the same flair when it comes to her characters. She brings them to life for good or bad, and each is quite vivid to the reader. It is not often I read historical novels set outside of England, and Sins of the House of Borgia did not disappoint. I found myself swept away into all the drama, scandal, drama, scheming, loyalty, along with the political and social pressures found amidst the pages. I would recommend Sins of the House of Borgia to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Sarah Bower is a literature development officer for Creative Arts East. She teaches creative writing at the University of East Anglia. She was UK editor of the Historical Novels Review for two years until the beginning of 2006, when she stepped down to make more time for her own writing. She is the author of the forthcoming novel The Needle in the Blood.
I received a complimentary copy of Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower from Sourcebooks. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.