Thursday, February 20, 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Borgia Confessions by Alyssa Palombo (+Giveaway)

Title: The Borgia Confessions
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: Feb 11, 2020
Acquired: Egalley approved via NetGalley
Goodreads: ADD

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.

Maddalena 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.

Alyssa Palombo's captivating new novel, The Borgia Confessions, is a story of passion, politics, and class, set against the rise and fall of one of Italy's most infamous families--the Borgias.

Officially the first book I've read that's set before the 1800s, The Borgia Confessions was an extraordinarily well-researched depiction of the infamous Borgia family during Rodrigo Borgia's reign as Pope in the 1490s. Fictional storylines weaved with factual events, characters were pulled from their place in history and reanimated at Palombos hand; made flesh again to relive their sordid tales and commit their heinous crimes. 

I'm not the first to admit that I knew absolutely nothing of Cesare Borgia (the eldest son), his siblings, or his parents before I began reading Palombo's detailing of Rodrigo Borgia's rise to the prestigious and powerful title. I researched whilst reading, and found that it really added to the experience, and filled in the very minimal blanks in the plot. As the author took some scandalous liberties with the storyline, I wanted to make sure I knew the basic and general lay of the land (character and scandal-wise). I liked that once I did that, I found that I cared very little for the strategic scenes about war, invasions and attempts to overthrow existing rulers (though my brain would have melted regardless), and instead enjoyed the power and lust-fueled relationships that Palombo handed to me. 

I found it the most excellent choice to use Cesare, and a fictional lady servant Maddalena, as the two perspectives throughout the narrative. As a reader, I was able to glimpse both sides of the political turmoil, one view coming from the comforts and false sense of security on the inside, and the second, from the general public during some significant changes to their lives. It's when these worlds collide that things get interesting, more dangerous (and to much a readers' dismay, lustier--though I thoroughly enjoyed these bits). 

I can only write this review as a lover of fiction, and an appreciative student of accidental learning through said fiction. I don't seek out the historical fiction genre, but I know a book deserving of praise when I see one, and The Borgia Confessions is definitely not to be missed by those who are truly fans of both historical fiction and the lives, and misdeeds, of the Borgia family.

Trigger Warnings:
attempted rape, sexual scenes, violence

Read if you like:
The Vatican Princess by C.W. Gortner
The Serpent and the Pearl by Kate Quinn
historical fiction

Key themes: 
deceit, betrayal, political gain, scandal, religion 


CLICK HERE to read about Alyssa on her author page.


A huge thank-you to St. Martin Griffin contacting me for the tour, and for sending me an egalley of the book via Netgalley for review!

Visit my Instagram page to win a copy of The Borgia Confessions! (Canada Only)

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