Ahh... those Borgias-Everywhere you read about them, it’s one scandal after another. As for Lucrezia, she’s dumped right in that whole mess. But seriously, how much of that was actually true? How easy is it to believe that Lucrezia really was a devious, incestuous, poisonous murderess? But if you expect to read any of that in Light on Lucrezia, you will be disappointed. Or-should I say; like in my case, delightfully surprised.
Perhaps Lucrezia will appear differently in Madonna of the Seven Hills (hoping to read this one very soon too)- but not in Light on Lucrezia. In this novel, Lucrezia is, yes, a devoted Borgia first; meaning she thinks the world of both her father, Pope Alexander, and Cesare, her brother; However, Lucrezia is determined to live a different life from the debauche family she grew up in. She does want to be happily married. She wants children and is devastated when they are taken from her. She was defintely the Borgia pawn.
Beautiful and serene, Lucrezia was very much loved by her family. Plaidy often refers to this as a very strong love-passionate love- yet she never alludes to anything incestuous. Throughout the book this is more of hearsay and gossip about the evil family by others. The reality was that poor Lucrezia was married off three times; grieved the loss of both her lover and loving husband (both slain), had her children taken from her and then was sent to a new husband whose family hated her. Throughout it all, Lucrezia held her head high. Even through the most devastating moments she kept her cool. Lucrezia found solace in poetry and her great friend Strozzi. But- this being a Borgia story...without telling you more- there is of course infidelity and forbidden love...
This is an excellent novel and a great introduction to the Borgias through the life (albeit condensed) of Lucrezia. I especially appreciated Jean Plaidy’s Author’s Note at the beginning of the book where Plaidy specifically says she wrote this book to shed light on all the controversy surrounding Lucrezia. She also lists the works she used for her research; something I’ve not yet encountered in her other novels. Being a great fan of Plaidy, I loved reading this introduction where I felt that Plaidy personalized this particular book by this time presenting it not only through historical fiction, but by actually taking a stand in her perception of the history.
Can’t wait to read more about Lucrezia!