I went into this book knowing very little of what it is about; yet I knew enough by knowing it contained Borgias. Recently we got a sky box enabling me to binge watch all three seasons of the Borgias series, and ever since I have had a craving for more work (be in novels, TV, or factual books) all about the Borgias.. SO its not surprising that I jumped at the chance to review this..I want to start by thanking Zoe at Little Brown and Sarah Dunant for sending my this beautiful book for my to read and review.
This is one of the harder books for me to explain what its about but I’m going to try my best. Based in Renaissance Italy, while the country falls into turmoil; Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of the Pope, is off on a journey to meet her third husband- a marriage to produce an heir for the Borgia rival family, Este. But first she has to survive the journey. Cesare Borgia, her brother, is raging war using his fathers (Pope Alexander VI) money in order to gain a large state in the Borgia name. Florence, worried about the danger they may be in, send Niccolo Machiavelli to shadow Cesare Borgia, gain his trust and find out just how much danger Florence are in.
To begin, their is one description in this novel that needs a shout out. As Lucrezia Borgia travels to her new home in the state of Ferrara, there is a section where she needs to travel by boat. Approaching the town, fog looming, the description of this approach was vivid and beautiful; I was able to distinctly picture the scene within my mind. Being able to ‘see’ what is happening through descriptions is a big deal for my in books as I find it easier to follow the story if I picture scenes and characters. This just added something to the story as it made it twice as beautiful.
Medieval fiction can be one of my favourite genres to read, and it can all depend on the writing style; sometimes it can be hard to follow and very confusing if its not written clearly enough. In the Name of the Family is one the examples of a brilliantly executed medieval novel. It was constantly clear as to what was going on, as well as being gripping as to what was to happen.
Not going to lie, I did find myself looking through to see when the next Lucrezia chapters were going to be. I love her as a historical figure, and I loved her as a character in this novel. If I’m honest, I would happily read an entire novel just about her.
All in all, this was an easy 4 out of 5 star novel, and have already grabbed the Blood & Beauty, another of Sarah Dunant’s books as I’m glad to have a Borgia fix in my life now. I highly recommend this for any one who is fans of historical fiction, even if you normally only read more modern historical fiction this will be a great introduction to the medieval world. Full of religion, politics, and both romantic and family relationships; there is something in there that everyone will love. And its available today, so go buy it now !!