Saturday, March 28, 2009

Review: The Book of Love, by Sarah Bower

The Book of Love is set in the early 16th century, in the world of the Borgias. Esther, a Jew who is nicknamed Violante, becomes a conversa so that she might become a lady-in-waiting to Lucrezia Borgia. Very soon, Violante finds herself thrust into a world of danger, romance, and intrigue, as she falls in love with Lucrezia’s brother Cesare.

Bower recreates the world of the early 16th century unfailingly; the historical details of this novel are exquisite. She uses the theme of the “innocent abroad” to tell the story of the Borgias through an impartial viewpoint. One of the strengths of the novel are the characters: Cesare Borgia is easily the most compelling, though I didn’t like how Bower portrayed Lucrezia—I thought her character could have been more diabolical. The plot drags in the middle, and the sex scenes are a bit crude, but it’s what you might expect from a story about one of history’s most infamous families. But otherwise, this is an enjoyable novel.


Danielle said...

I really liked her first book, Needle in the Blood, but have been hesitant to pick up this book. I wasn't sure how interested I was to read about the Borgias. However, I love a good historical novel, and this one sounds well done so may have to pick it up eventually!

Alyce said...

I haven't read any books about the Borgias, so this might be one for me to check out.

nbbaker1102 said...

I really like historical fiction, but I haven't read any about the Borgias.

Marg said...

I too enjoyed Needle in the Blood. I bought this book when it was first released in the UK. Still haven't read it!


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