One powerful family holds a city, a faith, and a woman in its grasp—from the national bestselling author of Daughters of Rome and Mistress of Rome.
Rome, 1492. The Holy City is drenched with blood and teeming with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous—or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web…
Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her glittering marriage is a sham, and she is to be given as a concubine to the ruthless, charismatic Cardinal Borgia: Spaniard, sensualist, candidate for Pope—and passionately in love with her.Two trusted companions will follow her into the Pope's shadowy harem: Leonello, a cynical bodyguard bent on bloody revenge against a mysterious killer, and Carmelina, a fiery cook with a past full of secrets. But as corruption thickens in the Vatican and the enemies begin to circle, Giulia and her friends will need all their wits to survive in the world of the Borgias.
"The Serpent and the Pearl" by Kate Quinn exceeded all expectations. I was drawn in from beginning until end, and I cannot wait for the next book in this series! I’ve been drawn to anything to do with the Borgia family for years, because of all the scandalous information I’ve read about while doing research or reading about this family, so I was excited to see another book about them.
This book really brought the family to life, and I liked that the author, Kate Quinn, doesn’t make them completely unlikable, like many authors tend to do with the Borgia’s. I mean, face it, it’s pretty easy for an author to paint them as an immoral, greedy, scandal ridden family. The characters were obviously well researched, and well rounded. The novel was told through a couple different points of view, and I love when authors use this style of writing. I especially enjoyed the two fictional characters point of view,Carmelina and Leonello. Reading from the point of view of these two characters allows the reader to get a good look at the Borgia family from an outside perspective. These two characters are flawed, as are all people, and their mishaps and adventures in this book definitely help to make the story more interesting. I also liked reading Giulia Farnese's, the pope’s concubine, point of view. Often, in other books about the Borgia’s, she is painted negatively, so it was nice to see her from a different perspective.
Any lover of historical fiction will enjoy reading this book. I have four month old twin boys, and I found it hard to put the book down at times, and also found myself staying awake to read the book rather than getting much needed sleep! I cannot wait until January, when the next book in this series, The Lion and the Rose, will be available. I will be purchasing it as soon as it is available!
This novel definitely receives a FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!