I've been a fan of C.W. Gortner's work since reading "The Last Queen," and thus was delighted at the opportunity to review "The Vatican Princess."
In this book, Gortner tells the tale of the oft-maligned Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI. He shows us her loves and miseries, growing up (as so many women did in her time) the pawn of politics and alliances.
Gortner's Lucrezia is a pious young woman, married off for the first time at age 13 to a man most kindly described as ineffective. The machinations of the Vatican, and of Lucrezia's brother, Cesare, combine to make the marriage a constant misery until its annulment. When Lucrezia marries a second time, to someone she actually loves, matters become even more complicated.
Gortner's research is impeccable, as always, and he looks at the politics of both Rome and the Borgias' native Spain through the eye not only of an author but of a historian who knows just how much detail to add to the story to "keep it real" while remaining interesting.