Francesca works for the infamous Borgia family. Not as a cook, or a maid, or even a nanny, oh no. Francesca is the family's poisoner. She took over for her father when he was murdered. She has vowed to avenge his death, and in the process is determined to save the fate of Rome's Jews. She will set wheels in motion that will alter history and perhaps endanger her soul.
I found this book very hard to get into, and I just can not pinpoint why. The story was thrilling, a wonderful mix of fact and fiction. The characters were well developed, and I really connected with Francesca well from the start. But I found myself plodding through the book, and making little progress at first. I think there were just too many things going on, too many subtleties of the plot points, and instead of pulling me in, it just put me off from the story.
I think Poole does a great job of painting the picture of the Renaissance, and showing the corruption within all institutions, including the Church. It is much different from the romanticized version we were served in history class, and she clearly show us the seedier, more raw version of Roman life. I think that Poole has real power as a writer, she just needs more time to reign it in a bit, focus it a bit more, because once I got a little further into the book, and determined what I was going to focus on and what I was going to get go, I enjoyed the book much more. I would like to have seen a bit more about Lucretia Borgia in here, perhaps in Poole's next book. All in all, a decent read.
A touring copy of this book was made available by Crazy Book Tours.