Many in history have claimed Lucrezia Borgia to be seductive temptress. Others have claimed her to be an incestuous daughter and sister. Some have even believed she was a poisoning murderess. “Light On Lucrezia” by Jean Plaidy takes away all those nasty slanders to her name and tells the story of a complicated woman.
The novel follows Lucrezia as a young woman. The novel particularly focuses on her happy second marriage to Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Bisceglie and then her lonely, but powerful marriage to Alfonson d’Este, Duke of Ferrara. The focus is also on Lucrezia’s relationship with her larger than life father, Pope Alexander VI and her dangerous yet alluring brother, Cesare. Lucrezia’s happiness and sorrows are also portrayed in this novel. She experienced a short, but deliriously happy marriage to Alfonso of Aragon, but suffered loneliness, isolation, and family feuds in her final marriage. What stands out most in the novel in Lucrezia’s loyalty to her family, but her desire to break free from their suffocating bonds and ties. You never know if Lucrezia loves Cesare or fears him, she probably didn’t know herself. The novel also focuses on two brief romantic affairs Lucrezia had with the poet, Pietro Bembo and her brother-in-law, Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua. The novel is a portrayal of the complicated life of a young woman who was so beloved to her father and brother.
“Light On Lucrezia” is an interesting portrayal of Lucrezia. There are no allusions or references to the rumored accusations of her poisoning people, shamelessly seducing people, or having an incestuous relationship with her father and brother. The novel instead focuses on much she wants to experience love and freedom from her family and yet she feels so bitterly connected to her family.
Yet, readers will want Lucrezia to be fiercer, sassies, and less damsel-in-distress. Lucrezia Borgia is regarded as one of the most fascinating women in history and this novel does not show the fascinating and complex woman. Lucrezia isn’t even the most memorable figure in the novel as Cesare Borgia, Sanchia of Aragon, and Isabella d’Este shine brighter.
As always though, Plaidy gives a history lesson while still offering an interesting and readable novel. “The Borgias” on Showtime has brought attention to this fascinating family and this is a good novel for people beginning to learn about the famed family.
To purchase “Light On Lucrezia”: http://www.amazon.com/Light-Lucrezia-Borgias-Jean-Plaidy/dp/0307887545
For more information on Jean Plaidy: www.randomhouse.com/author/24084/jean-plaidy