Customer Reviews for

Sins of the House of Borgia

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

This is an engaging look at the Borgia family

In the year 5252 which the Christians call 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella give the Jews three months to leave. Many like the Sarfati family in Toledo decide to relocate to the city-states of Italy where the despotic rulers are tolerant towards Jews and wary of...
In the year 5252 which the Christians call 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella give the Jews three months to leave. Many like the Sarfati family in Toledo decide to relocate to the city-states of Italy where the despotic rulers are tolerant towards Jews and wary of Ferdinand. The Sarfati father and his three sons move ahead to Rome where the patriarch helps finance Rodrigo Borgia efforts to become the next Pope. The females followed but the matriarch died before finishing the journey leaving her six years old daughter Esther travelling to Rome to join her father.

Almost a decade later Borgia as Pope Alexander VI returns the support he received from Sarfati by allowing Esther a chance to join his daughter Lucrezia's retinue if she converts. Although Esther has doubts, her father convinces her to accept the terms. As Lucrezia marries Alfonso d'Este, Esther converts to Christianity and becomes a lady-in-waiting known as La Violante. Lucrezia thinks highly of La Violante and her cousin Angela Borgia becomes her friend; while Lucrezia's brother Cesare stirs her heart.

This is an engaging look at the Borgia family through the rosy colored eyes of an innocent individual who must adapt to a world of backstabbing deadly passion or die. Cesare owns the story line as he never allows his heart or soul get in the way of his machinations. Lucrezia pales next to her sibling; as she does not seem to measure up to her brother on the viciousness scale. Filled with betrayal, readers will enjoy the Book of Esther as La Violante tells how paradise was lost and regained when she learned to trust no one not even those she thought loved her.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on February 22, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

A little hard at first

I LOVE historical fiction and I've read the Borgia Bride so I was hopeful that I would love this book. Don't get me wrong, it was a good story line and I'd say overall I enjoyed the book. I would say more than "Love" I "Liked" it. By the time I got to the end I didn't w...
I LOVE historical fiction and I've read the Borgia Bride so I was hopeful that I would love this book. Don't get me wrong, it was a good story line and I'd say overall I enjoyed the book. I would say more than "Love" I "Liked" it. By the time I got to the end I didn't want it to end...but I didn't get to that point until the middle. The book was a little hard to get into and there were so many characters they were hard to keep track of (like, who was married to who and who was brothers with who, etc.). I've been to Rome so I really enjoyed when she described certain landmarks (Castel St.Angelo, for example) because it was easy to visualize where they were...but had I not been there it would have been hard to imagine. I was absolutely disappointed in the end. It almost felt like she didn't know how to end it so she just threw something together...and since I had become so "attached" to La Violante I was disappointed that it ended so abruptly. La Violante is a great main character as I think she is pretty easy to relate to.

posted by AHeath on August 14, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Sara's Daily Fashion Update

    TOP: A violet Aeropastale shirt<p>

    BOTTOM: A high-rise lace blue skirt<p>

    SHOES: Leather flip flops from Abercrombie, silver lining<p>

    JEWELRY: Small amber earrings, locket bracelet, leather and opal necklace<p>

    ASSESORIES: Brown belt with silver sequins at belt loops<p>

    WEAPON(S): One katana, double sided, diamond pattern on hilt, dagger, and her backpack<p>

    OTHER: Ask for close details

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Excellent Read!

    I am always glad for the chance to read a new historical novel about the infamous Borgia clan. For a family that is reviled by history for their poisons,excesses,immorality and greed, there seems to be a dearth of books written about them. Books about the Borgias are certainly nowhere near as popular as the Tudors for instance.



    "...I was so young then and confused lust with love as the young do ...."


    "Sins Of The House of Borgia" follows the life of young Jewish woman, Esther Safarti. Her story begins in 1492. Young Esther and her Mother escape Toledo and the early years of the Spanish Inquisition by traveling to Rome to join her father (who, for some reason had all but abandoned Esther and her mother in Spain). When they reach the shores of Italy, Esther's mother dies on the beach. that they land on. The tale really begins on the beach that day. As a very fair skinned Jewess, Esther's fathers believes that she can 'pass' as a Christian. In his absence, her father has become an important banker in Rome and works for the rising star of the Catholic Church - Rodrigo Borgia. Rodrigo becomes the Pope Alexander VI and Esther's father arranges for her to become a lady-in-waiting to Rodrigo's illegitimate daughter, Lucrezia - the Duchess of Ferrara. - who will soon be married to her third husband - at twenty-one years of age. Esther is made to believe that this is what her mother would have wanted her to do. In this position Ether will be better able to attract a husband of good standing. The caveat will be that Esther is forced to convert to Christianity and assume the role of a 'converso'.


    As a lady-in-waiting Esther must become another person. Her name is changed - first at Lucrezia's insistence to Donata. Soon afterward, Lucrezia's sadistic brother, Cesare, dubs her Violante. Unable to resist his allure, the newly re-named Violante surrenders herself to the violent, immoral charms of Cesare and, ultimately bears him a son. Cesare is a power hungry man who cares little for Violante and abandons (his real love lies elsewhere) her and his family in search of lands to conquer and power to wield. Through the course of of the book (the years of her service to the Borgia family from 1492 to 1507) and at the time of Cesare's death, the truth to the 'secret' of the Borgia sin unfolds. Esther, Donata,Violante realizes that she has been nothing more than a puppet - that her entire life in their household has been one lie after another.



    One of the things I really enjoyed was the Epilogue of this book. It's short but exceptional and continues the story of Esther's life after she leaves Italy. The Epilogue in itself could well become another story - and it would be a fascinating one at that. I think I won;t say more about this part of the book because it really is the heart of the character - and you should read it for yourself!


    This is a well crafted book that gives the true flavor of this hedonistic family. The politics, rivalries, sadism, and excesses of the Italian Renaissance are well described and the plot lines moves very smoothly. There a multitude of well fleshed out characters and, for this reason, it's a good book to savor more slowly than same. Ms. Bower has a real talent and I will be looking out for her next work. Ms. Bower has previously written short stories and was the UK editor of Historical Novels Review before turning her talents to writing this book.

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