Until fairly recently the only historical novels I read on any sort of regular basis were those of Philippa Gregory but thanks to the opportunity to review some other historical writers my horizons have been expanded. I have always considered my tastes very eclectic but am nowadays more likely to consider reading this genre, than I have been for years. With the themes of the stories based on real life characters it can be an interesting way to learn a little history. I admit to knowing very little about the historical background surrounding Lucrezia Borgia before reading this novel, so this easy and quick read was a pleasurable way to learn a little more about her.
Set in Renaissance Rome in 1497 it also was a good choice for my May entry for the Italy in Books - Reading Challenge 2011 The daughter of Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia Borgia leads a sheltered life amongst the glamour of the Vatican City. Yet after a brutal killing shocks the city, she learns that all is not as it seems and that her father's court holds dark secrets. She discovers that her own brother, Cesare and father are willing to commit murder to protect their own lifestyle and love of power. Written as a memoir narrated by Lucrezia in the first person the blend of fiction and historical fact makes her come alive on the pages as she relates to us the intrigue and tragedy of her fathers court. There is no doubt in my mind that Pope Alexander VI was a nasty and brutal man, I disliked his character immensely. Even I knew of the historical connections of the Borgia family to poison, plus the title of the book so it was no surprise that the poison aspect brings the suspense to a story which I recommend to fans of historical novels looking for a quick read.