Blood and Beauty

Blood and Beauty: The Borgias;  A Novel
by Sarah Dunant
2013 / 528 pages
rating ___/ “historical” fiction

I am NOT enjoying this book one bit and I didn’t care for her prior (Sacred Hearts) either,  although the reasons are different.   I would never have bothered with this one had it not been a reading group selection and the members of that group love Dunant’s work.   I doubt I’ll have much to say until the ratings.

My problem?  It feels like Dunant found Lucrezia Borgia’s life fascinating and since there was so little really known about it except for tantalizing and scintillating rumors she could make up what she whttp://europeanhistory.about.com/od/italyandthecitystates/a/The-Blorgias

So murder and incest are de riguar whether Dunant acknowledges the reality of the rumors or not.

What’s true?   Read  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucrezia_Borgia  to start – they report rumors as rumors and the precious few “facts” are sourced.   There is also a bibliography for more info.  Whatever …

Hillary Mantel wrote a really wonderful novel about Thomas Cromwell – she both revealed the times and got inside his head.  Her stylistic skills shine – there is a verisimilitude in the entire effect.  Dunant never gets beyond sounding like make-believe.

P.S. – after the group discussion I realize that Dunant followed the historical record pretty darned well – only one “change” which she mentions in an afterward.  Still, the problems I have deal with all the inventions – not the changes.  Too much dialogue, too much sweet family man about Rogelio/Pope Alexander.  Just my o, folks,  maybe he really was a good guy.

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