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Elizabeth L. (Salem, Oregon)
Enjoyable WIth Vivid Characters
This is the second in a series, and while I read the first book, Poison, in anticipation of this one, it was not necessary to do so. In fact, this book was blessedly free of the clunky exposition so common in sequels!
Norman G. (Diamond Bar, CA)
Satisfactory but not compelling
Minor quibbles with the book are: on more than one occasion, the same idea was repeated in nearly the same language (e.g. Francesca doesn't like to ride) and the sex was a tad more explicit than I expected for historical fiction (although it has nothing on bodice rippers).
A well-written historical novel that gives a feel for the times and contains many sidelights into the papacy of the Borgia family and the inner workings of the Catholic Church of the time period. However, I could not bring myself to feel part of the book or to care about the characters. The book had too many low areas for it to be a recommended book.
Caryl L. (Williamsburg, VA)
I enjoyed this book, but also disappointed at the same time. Francesca was very well developed as I could relate to her character. The other characters were not as well developed. The plot was full of intrigue and kept you guessing, however life in Rome did not develop well more life in Roman church. That said, this book is a good read and I would recommend it.
Joyce S. (Tyrone, GA)
Being an invaluable member of the household of Pope Alexander VI who is the head of the influential House of Borgia is a tricky job for a young woman. To our modern minds the Pope does not act like a Pope, has three children, many enemies and is besieged on numerous sides. Europe in the 1400’s is unstable politically and all the major powers are vying for more land, more influence and a piece of the new continent just discovered by Columbus. Francesca’s position in the household as poisoner insures she is busy not only doing in the Pope’s enemies but checking everything that comes into contact with members of the household to prevent them being poisoned. She is privy to all of the controversies and also to the attentions of the Pope’s oldest son.
Lori L. (La Porte, IN)
Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this second tale in the Poisoner series by author Sara Poole. Francesca is a thoroughly modern heroine haunted by repressed memories of a brutal event in her past. The conviction she has of her inner "darkness" and her wry sense of humor make her an enjoyable narrator, if some of her feats of derring-do strain the reader's belief. A sexy novel with plot twists and turns and an ending that leaves plenty of room for Book Three, this book is a fun romp thru Renaissance Italy.
Cheryl P. (Cedar Park, Texas)
An Engaging Read
The Borgia Betrayal is full of papal politics and intrigue. A well researched book with many historical characters, it really gives you the feel of life in Rome at the time of the discovery of the New World. The book is very fast-paced with plot twists that make it an engaging read. The one issue I have with the book is the heroine and her 21st century attitude and actions is a bit difficult to buy. But overall, this was an enjoyable read. I would recommend reading the author’s first book in the series, Poison, first for background on characters and situations in The Borgia Betrayal.
Beverly D. (Palm Harbor, FL)
Wonder Woman in Renaissance finery
Francesca is supposed to be a young woman of the 15th century but her story reads like 21st century manga...Her portrayal (and it IS written in 1st person) is too modern, too over the top to be believable. As an adventure/romance story it might work but for anyone expecting a serious, historically stimulating novel with the Borgias as main characters, look elsewhere. Perhaps too much was attempted here...history/religion/free thinking/SEX/romance /thriller. Just did not work for me.
Jerry W. (Waxhaw, NC)
No Betrayal For This Reader
As a fan of historical novels, I really did not know what to expect from Sara Poole. The book was a pleasant surprise. I found the plot, the intrigue, and the "spirit" of 1493 fascinating. Written from the perspective of Francesca Giordano, a woman experienced with poisons and murder, the reader cannot help but be drawn into the story. For me it was a fast and interesting read.