Title: Lucrezia Borgia
Author: John Faunce
Length: 277 pages
I suppose you could call this a little spoiler-y, but since Lucrezia Borgia is a historical figure (her story differs in this retelling, however), it's kind of a moot point.
This novel is written from the perspective of an older Lucrezia as she reflects on her past. It starts while she is quite young, before her father becomes the pope, and continues through her three marriages, the novel culminating in Pope Alexander's death.
I enjoyed this book a lot. When I read it a few years ago, I didn't understand a lot of the references--Cesare and Alexander are both well-educated, especially in the Greek and Roman schools of thoughts, and eventually Lucrezia is, as well--but understanding them now made it much more enjoyable.
Occasionally I winced when Faunce's thoughts--instead of Lucrezia's--showed through. At odd moments it wasn't Lucrezia talking, it was Faunce, and it was jarring. As well, Lucrezia had remarkably modern thoughts, which I suppose could be true, considering that she was quite wealthy and privileged, but felt off nonetheless.
This book is written with the assumption that (skip) Cesare and Lucrezia were in an incestuous relationship, and that it was not by choice on Lucrezia's side; she was raped. Though the novel never does go into graphic detail that [the subsequent "This action shall not be described on this clean white paper"-style thoughts were one of the parts that jerked me out of the story] it does go far enough that it's disturbing. There's also a great deal of gore in the middle of the book, as Alfonso of Aragorn (skip) is first assaulted in the middle of the night, and then killed by Cesare in a scene that has copious amounts of blood shed. 10/10
Crossposted to both my own journal and bookish .