Blood & Beauty

The Borgias : A Novel

Dunant, Sarah

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Blood & Beauty
A tale inspired by the lives of Borgia siblings Lucretia and Cesare traces the family's rise in the aftermath of Rodrigo Borgia's rise to the papacy, during which war, a terrifying sexual plague, and the family's notorious reputation forge an intimate bond between brother and sister.

Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2013]
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 1400069297
Characteristics: 506 pages :,map ;,25 cm
Alternate Title: Blood and beauty


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Jun 12, 2014
  • Eosos rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The style of this story was similar to a non-fiction book. It came across as quite factual though I do know that in many areas it was definitely not. The story was full of fictional ideas.

I like the Borgia family and know too much about the real history to be able to really enjoy a tale that wasn't factual.

Feb 15, 2014
  • artemishi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Blood & Beauty. Oh, Blood & Beauty. This historical fiction is epic, filled with everything that is compelling, dramatic, and enthralling. Which is typical Sarah Dunant flair.

This book follows the Borgias, notorious Papal dynasty of the Italian Renaissance. It covers only about 20 years of their history, which leaves me hungering for the next book (this was written in 2012, and the author's note indicates the journey will continue).

It is brimming with political intrigue, family drama, machinations, love, jealousy...I could not stop reading it. And it's so well-developed that I pitied, then hated, then loved each character, by turns.

I recommend this for any and all fans of Sarah Dunant, historical fiction (especially Italian Renaissance), political intrigue, family dramas (especially in powerful families), and the rare occurrences of empowered women in patriarchal societies and their struggles and triumphs.

And for everyone else, too.

Sep 27, 2013
  • lbergstrome rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

As always Sarah Dunant's language is rich and flows like poetry. This book is particularly dense, and like barb8571 says it is "harder to get into" than some of her other books. While I fell in love with Sarah's writing through her strong female leads, I'm thoroughly enjoying the masculine narrative and learning about the Alexander VI papacy.

Sep 19, 2013
  • delmacdc rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Sept 2013

Sep 12, 2013

started to read, so far isnt really catching my interest, im going to add this on my later shelf, i might check it out again and try again...might

Sep 07, 2013
  • dontbugmeimreading rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

really enjoyed this one but I'm a big fan of all thing Borgia! Can't wait for the sequel to come out.

Aug 22, 2013
  • fjvalentin rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Well written and researched book about that fun-loving family, the Borgia's. I had not read anything in depth about the Borgia's in the past, and this filled the bill. The only disappointment was that it didn't really end, setting up a sequel.

Aug 21, 2013
  • barb8571 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Loved all of Sarah Dunant's books, but this one is harder to get into. It's fascinating reading about the history of the Borgias, but a lot of the intricacies of all the political strategizing got to be a little much...a lot of skimming. I finally called it quits half way through.

Jul 31, 2013
  • KarenW rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The Borgia family has come down to us in history as sexually depraved gluttons with poison on their mind. With this interpretation, you will find more history and less unsubstantiated gossip. With details that are so real, you feel like you have entered the 15th century.

Jul 14, 2013
  • finn75 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I am reasonably familiar with the stories of the Borgia Family and enjoyed this retelling even if there were few surprises. It is heavy on the detail and probably could have been told in much fewer words. It is up to personal taste. Personally I enjoyed it but I had time to kill!!!

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