Settling in Rome, her father becomes a banker. He eventually lends aid to fellow Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia in his bid for the papacy.
Years after Rodrigo is elected Pope, he repays Esther’s father by allowing her to become a lady-in-waiting to his daughter Lucrezia. Though it’s not what she wants, Esther gives in to her father’s wishes, converts, and joins Lucrezuia’s household, as her new mistress prepares to leave Rome to wed her third husband.
Though Esther is unhappy at first, she soon finds herself drawn to Lucrezia’s charming and handsome brother, Cesare.
But the Borgias’ enemies are everywhere, determined to bring down the powerful family once and for all.
I watched the first two seasons of the Borgias on TV but didn’t make it into the third, so I was interested in the setting of this book, which mainly took place after the events I had seen in the television series. That being said, I did not like this book.
I had trouble believing that Esther could be so in love with Cesare after one brief dance at a party that she would honestly think he would ride across Italy and actively seek her out. Though everyone tried to tell her what was going on with him, she blinded herself to everything and thought if she only proved her devotion to him he would reward it with love. I know that in real life people do the same thing, but reading it just seemed so farfetched when it was only one dance.
I was also a little disappointed that the only point of view we got throughout the book was Esther’s, because she wasn’t aware of what was really going on with Cesare, Lucrezia and all their scheming. By not having chapters told from their point of view I felt like I missed out on a large chunk of the story.