Title: The Borgia Confessions
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: February 11, 2020
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "During the sweltering
Roman summer of 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has risen to power as pope.
Rodrigo’s eldest son Cesare, forced to follow his father into the church
and newly made the Archbishop of Valencia, chafes at his ecclesiastical
role and fumes with jealousy and resentment at the way that his foolish
brother has been chosen for the military greatness he desired.
Moretti comes from the countryside, where she has seen how the whims of
powerful men wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary people. But now,
employed as a servant in the Vatican Palace, she cannot help but be
entranced by Cesare Borgia’s handsome face and manner and finds her
faith and conviction crumbling in her want of him.
As war rages
and shifting alliances challenge the pope’s authority, Maddalena and
Cesare's lives grow inexplicably entwined. Maddalena becomes a keeper of
dangerous Borgia secrets, and must decide if she is willing to be a
pawn in the power games of the man she loves. And as jealousy and
betrayal threaten to tear apart the Borgia family from within, Cesare is
forced to reckon with his seemingly limitless ambition."
My Two Cents:
"The Borgia Confessions" is a historical fiction tale told from two perspectives that looks at the infamous Borgia family. Cesare is the son of Rodrigo Borgia who is now pope. It is up to Cesare to help his father maintain power over the various factions that threaten to take him down. It is a heavy responsibility but Cesare is driven to do whatever it takes to succeed. Maddalena is employed as a servant but quickly become integrated into the some of the deepest secrets of those that occupy the Vatican. These two points of view breathe new life into a well-trodden topic and show why the Borgias continue to fascinate and titillate people still to this day.
I really liked that the story was told through alternating points of view between Cesare and Maddalena. You get both an insider's and outsider's point of view. The detail included really helped me get into the story and to understand what was going on and all of the palace intrigue included in the book. Cesare is hyper-focused on the power structures of the Vatican and how he maintains his family's power. Maddalena finds herself in a brand new world where she is still very much trying to learn the power structures and who can pull which levers.
This is a book where you definitely want to make sure that you read the Author's note at the end of the book. It gives a lot of insights into the decisions that Palombo made to shape the story, including some of the big events that occur throughout the book (I don't want to give away any of the surprises). Some of the choices go against some of the general conventions about some of the Borgia history but it works well for this story.
This is a great pick for when you just want to get a fresh perspective on an infamous family!