Olimpia Maidalchini was an extraordenary woman and if she had been a man - she would have been a very famous and respected one!!! But since she's a woman who has been in control of (the womenhating) Vatican, she's been written off. So for this alone, I very much appreicate this book and the work the author had put into writing it. However, I am not very keen on the way Eleonora Harman presents Olimpia. She does it with very little integrity and zero acknowledgement of the incredible person Olimpia was. When I say little integrity, I meant that she constantly refers to gossip (and NOT facts). She constantly puts Olimpia in a negative spotlight through Eleonoars homemade psychoanalysis and unintelligent intepretations and what seems as a poor attemp to "spice up" the story. Comments like: "one can just imagine seniorsex ...". Come on *Sign* Eleonora is doing what so many have done before her when it comes to powerful women in history; focus on slimy rumours and negativity instead of presenting fact in a neutral and authentic way. And that ruins this book! Too bad.
The only reason I give this book three stars is: 1. as a gratitude for bringing Olimpia into the english speaking world. Olimpia is worth knowing! And since this is the only book in English about Olimpia, I recommend that you read it. 2. the writer describes the life of Rome and the vatican of the time extremeley well, and I enjoyed that a lot.