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Vicky R. (Cumming, GA)
The Borgia Betrayal
I absolutely love historical fiction and Sara Poole's novel, The Borgia Betrayal, is one I'm happy I took the time to read. In the beginning of the book I struggled some as the characters developed...I thought the story lacked energy and vitality, but as I stuck with it, it began to pick up the pace. Once the stage was set, the book began to reveal action and intrigue and I found myself wholly immersed. Secrets began to uncloak themselves and I found myself in the wee hours of the night..still with book in hand. Having read The Borgia Betrayal, I will now go back and read Ms. Poole's first book about this character, "Poison".
Alyce T. (San Antonio, TX)
The Borgia Betrayal
I had read Poison first but that was not necessary.The Borgia Betrayal is a stand alone book. I just loved this book and Sara Poole's style of wrting. The characters are so real that you could reach out and hug them. Francesca,the main character, is fictional. It is a historic novel and most of the book centers around real people who lived in the Borgia Era. It really helped fill in some gaps in my education of the period. I could not put the book down after after I started it. The events move swiftly and keep your attention. I was happy to find out that Sara will be publishing more books following Francesca's life. I highly recommend The Borgia Betrayal for those who enjoy historical novels
Dorothy T. (Victorville, CA)
No end in sight
This is the second book in what will likely be a series, as promised by the author, and therefore offers no closure regarding the main character, Pope Alexander VI's poisoner, Francesca, and her struggle with her inner darkness, her relationships, or her obsession with taking revenge against the "mad priest" responsible for her father's murder. While the intrigue and the various persona, both real and imagined, keep the story moving along, I personally found the repetitive and explicit sexual scenes both absurd and unnecessary. I can't recommend this unless you are willing to make a long commitment.
Sande O. (Rochester, NY)
Whenever I read an historical novel, my first test is how the author creates a sense of time and place. On this count Sara Poole is spot on in her novel, The Borgia Betrayal. The reader definitely feels the sense of fourteenth century Rome. It is vibrant, earthy and compelling. Unfortunately, the plot does not match the allure of Rome.
Robin M. (Corpus Christi, TX)
Poole's characters and story disappoint throughout the novel. There is little character development or appeal. Very little happens in terms of action. There were glimmers of promise when I hoped that something was going to happen only to be disappointed time and time again. I was sure the final 50 pages at least would produce a dynamic climax, but it was not to be.
Don't waste your precious time on this boring read.
As a fan of historical fiction, I was disappointed. Based upon the title, The Borgia Betrayal, I expected far more detail about this infamous family than was delivered. This novel is essentially about the main character, Francesca, and her motivation to avenge her father's death through her position as the Court Poisoner for the Borgia family. There were interesting details about the duties and responsibilities of the Court Poisoner but I did not find Francesca to be a very believable or authentic 15th century character. Also, I am not certain this second novel in the Poisoner series really can be read as a stand alone book. I went back and read the first book and found myself wishing I had read it first. I am still on the fence about whether I will spend my time or money on the next book to come in this series.
Charla W. (biloxi, mS)
The Borgia Betrayal
This is the 2nd book in the series. The first book was "Poison". But, you need not have read it to enjoy this one. It is a stand alone story. I have not read Poison, and never felt I was missing anything while reading this one.
Mary G. (River Forest, IL)
Good Read, Poor Company
I loved that the main character was a woman, not just any woman, but a woman doing a mans job in the year 1493. Francesca Giordano was the Poisoner for Pope Alexander VI, aka Pope Roderigo Borgia. Francesca's father had been his poisoner until he was murdered. Then Francesca killed the man that was supposed to take her father's position. She became the poisoner because she knew more about her father's job than anyone.
Francesca's life is overflowing with potential danger to her life. She is part of a group called Lux. The members of the group are interested in Science, and if they are discovered reading and learning, it may be deemed as heresy which is punishable by death. Not just any death, but by being burned at the stake. Her affiliation with this group is very dangerous since she is so close to the Pope and her job is to protect the Pope at all costs.
Francesca is also sleeping with Cesare Borgia, the pope's oldest son. It is rumoured that Pope Alexander VI will make Cesare a Cardinal, which would put him in line to putting down a foundation for a dynasty of Borgia's to rule all of Christendom. The fear of this possibility increases the opposition to Pope Alexander's rule. The main threat is from Morozzi, the mad priest. Morozzi is a threat to the Pope and Francesca is hell bent on killing him with her own hands.
Not only is Francesca's life filled with danger, but it is also filled with romance. There is one steamy love scene in the Papal office that is unforgettable. There is man that lives near Francesca who is a glass blower. He has a son, but his wife has died. Francesca realizes that she has feelings for this man. His name is Rocco and his son's name is Nando. Rocco and Francesca have feelings for each other, but Francesca will not admit to her feelings for him. Rocco wants a mother for Nando. He gives Francesca the opportunity to voice her feelings, but she will not. He tells her that he is going to marry Carlotta d'Agnelli. Inside, Francesca is very sad and longs to be the kind of woman that could be a mother and wife.
This story is full of intrigue, romance, and adventure. Most historical fiction novels are centered on the Kings and Queens of the era. The view in this book is from the opposite side-the Church. It is an interesting view that I have explored very little. The people of the church were as corrupt as anyone could ever be. The Popes had mistresses and dozens of illegitimate children. They were not beyond murder or anything else in order to keep their positions.
It's OK historical fiction, but I had a problem with Francesca's first person narrative. While the story moved along and there was enough history to rate it a long way above a bodice-ripper, I had a problem "listening" to a woman I simply didn't like. Not only did I not like her, after almost 400 pages I still didn't know her. Poole has written a prequel called "Poison", though the author says each book can be read independently. I'm intrigued enough that I've had "Poison" Kindled my way just to see if I Francesca comes through better when she's first introduced. Strange case of not liking something and going back for more, right? Just can't fight my curiosity.
Richard S. (Toledo, Ohio)
The Borgia Betrayal
The Borgia Betrayal is a novel about Francesca, the court poisoner (there really was such a position ) in the court of Pope Rodrigo Borgia, Alexander VI. Despite the rich detail of life in Rome in 1493, the novel never bores; it reads like a thriller, not a text book. The characters are interesting and believable and most readers will gain a new perspective on the famous Borgias and the papacy. There are many loose ends, probably because the author intends to address them in her next book.