REVIEW: Blood and Beauty

I still didn’t really know what to think about this book for a few days after finishing it.  Finally, I realized my lack of opinion on Blood & Beauty wasn’t because I hadn’t made up my mind, rather it was actually how I felt about it.  Blood & Beauty is written well enough – many events and locations are vividly described.  But the characters – their beliefs, desires, and motivations – fall flat.  Some are depicted too simply – I can’t imagine a person being so pure and goodhearted as Lucrezia, or a man being so cold and cruel as Cesare.  In fact, sometimes their behavior betrays Sarah Dunant’s illustration of these people: Lucrezia’s affair demonstrates that she is much more complex than she was depicted.  I wish Sarah Dunant injected her characters with more ambiguity in their personality.  After all, this is historical fiction – she should have had the agency to allocate motivations – and hesitations – for their actions.

I wasn’t a fan of the cover art – like the characters, I thought it was a little bit one-dimensional.  I didn’t appreciate that there were barely any dates throughout the novel.  It was hard to tell how much time passed between one event and the next.  At times I found the book a page-turner, but to be honest, it was because I am not familiar with the Borgias so I didn’t know what would be happening next.

Stay chic,



Title: Blood and Beauty

Author: Sarah Dunant

Publisher, year: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2014

Chic rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


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