I’m a little late to the party when it comes to the Borgais family, history and controversy. Reading Blood and Beauty was my first introduction to this legendary family. This is a historical fiction novel about the corruption, adventures and downright questionable personal activities about the Borgais family, the head of which was Pope Alexander VI.
This is a cumulation of all my favourite things: religion, controversy, history, Rome, corruption and drama. I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of my favourite reads of the year… so far. I studied Theology at University, and did my dissertation on Constantine. Although not obviously related, Roman history has always fascinated me and the Papacy, religion and progression of both has captivated me. This novel taps into all my loves and brings them to life, brings these characters who are easily seen as 2-dimensial characters in the history books to life and given them blood and beauty.
It is a work that is passionate, cringing at some points, and above all intriguing and addictive. I adored it. It kept me entertained for hours and there was a lot of historical fact and foundations in it. Good research!! I have no idea how much was historical and how much was fictional and my unpopular opinion concerning this is that I don’t mind not knowing. In fact, I think it makes it all the more interesting! It shows just how well the author has done in making it seamless.
I am currently watching The Borgais and I am constantly comparing it to this novel. After having just visited Rome, history feels more alive than ever and I’m looking forward to learning more about them.
It is right up my street… and if it isn’t up yours, give it a try, you never know! If any novel can convert you to historical fiction, this can.
Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant