Read Madonna of the Seven Hills by Jean Plaidy Online


This is the story of Lucrezia Borgia, who love and hate with equal passion....

Title : Madonna of the Seven Hills
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780449230268
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Madonna of the Seven Hills Reviews

  • Kate Sherrod
    2019-05-05 17:53

    This is the first Jean Plaidy book I've ever read that did not concern itself with a Queen of England. I was expecting the reading of it to be a stranger experience.But Jean Plaidy is always Jean Plaidy, writing as if she's telling a fairy tale but not sparing us any of the unsavory or unpleasant details. So of course she had to take on the infamous Lucrezia Borgia.I've noticed a tendency, in Plaidy, to build the tale around the most popular anecdote about her subject known at the time, whether it's truth or folklore. Thus, for instance, The Follies of the King is one long argument/justification for the infamous (and possibly fanciful) murder, at the behest of his long-suffering wife, of Edward III by means of a red hot poker. And thus this first of two books Plaidy wrote about Lucrezia and the rest of the Borgia family is just a giant bit of foreshadowing for the legendary fratricide of Lucrezia's brother Juan/Giovanni by her other brother Cesare.Thus even as it tells the story of Lucrezia's father's elevation from Cardinal Roderigo Borgia to Pope Alexander III despite being the father of three and possibly four illegitimate children by a courtesan, which is a tale quite worthy of a novel in its own right, Madonna of the Seven Hills focuses on perhaps the most famous case of sibling rivalry gone wild since Cain and Abel, except this time, instead of God's favor, the brothers are dueling for that of their own sister and father.*Some later writers (Madonna of the Seven Hills was first published in 1958) might have gone all out for the scandalous, salacious incest plot, but Plaidy, as always, was more interested in who Lucrezia really was and why she would accept and even embrace a situation that most modern women would find intolerable. From the first pages, we see Lucrezia as a girl born to a bizarre station in life (tartly observing at one point to her friend Giulia Farnese [who has also by that point taken over Lucrezia's mother's job as the pope's mistress] that accepting bribes and telling her father all about them is her job) but who never knew anything else; the only daughter of a family of vain, proud, selfish and violently passionate pseudo-aristocrats who can't afford not to stick together however much they have gotten sick of each other.So of course Plaidy's Lucrezia** grows up to be a pathological people pleaser. She is rich and powerful and beautiful and educated, but despite these advantages her self-worth is bound up only in how her father and brothers react to her; if they are adoring her, they are not fighting each other, or killing people, or starting wars or seduce-raping innocent girls (or boys) -- so it's very important that they keep on adoring her, even if it means keeping them trapped as rivals for her attention and affection. Whether or not she had a sexual relationship with any of them is quite beside the point, for Plaidy; if she did, it was just another symptom. Plaidy is more interested in how the rumors got started than if they were true.As I said, though, all of this is just foreshadowing for the culmination of the big and legendary hatred between Cesare and Giovanni***, the two brothers who have only ever been friends when they were teaming up against an outsider whom they perceived as a threat to the family (usually a husband or lover or would-be lover of Lucrezia's). It's a tricky thing Plaidy has done here, making us sympathize for their prize even as our author so obviously taps her foot impatiently waiting for the Big Showdown. Lucrezia gets humanized only to be turned into a thing, a prize, anyway.Which is to say that in Madonna of the Seven Hills, Plaidy may have achieved her greatest degree of verisimilitude, of art imitating life almost painfully perfectly, of all.But that's not quite what we turn to historical fiction/romance for, is it?*Alexander VI was an infamously indulgent and doting father, but even so, imposed his will on his children somewhat mercilessly. Giovanni, his favorite, he chose to be the soldier and the secular nobleman, blind to the fact that Giovanni was about as much a soldier as, as, well, as Cesare was a clergyman. And, famously, Cesare was the one who got trained up in the priesthood and made a Cardinal by age 18. Of course, had this not happened, Niccolo Macchiavelli wouldn't have had his model for The Prince, because Cesare wouldn't have had to become the consummate schemer he was, etc.**And possibly the historical Lucrezia, too.***Peculiarly, the actual murder is dealt with offstage, which feels like a bit of a cheat after all of the build-up, but again, is the sort of anti-climactic "truth" writers like Plaidy most like to highlight, even at the expense of causing the last third or so of the novel to fall flat.

  • Pauline Montagna
    2019-05-22 14:07

    As a schoolgirl I devoured Jean Plaidy’s novels. Her tales of intrigue and passion in high places were heady stuff for a girl attending a convent school. I longed to be one of Charles II’s mistresses, or live in Renaissance Italy. The books that remained with me most were her Lucrezia Borgia series. To a sheltered Catholic teenager, the ambitions and amorality of the Borgia pope and his family were shocking and titillating. Recently, I thought I might revisit Jean Plaidy and found second-hand copies of Madonna of the Seven Hills and Light on Lucrezia on the internet. My strongest memories came from the first volume, Madonna of the Seven Hills. Even after thirty years I could still recall images of Cesare Borgia murdering his brother from sheer jealousy, of his father, Roderigo Borgia, smoothly transferring his affections from his favourite son to the son he knew had killed him, of Lucrezia Borgia, heavily pregnant from a passionate affair held within convent walls, standing before a panel of cardinals declaring herself virgo intacta in order to obtain a divorce from an inconvenient husband. Plaidy’s version of Lucrezia Borgia was also a lesson in historiography. In portraying a woman whose name had come down in infamy as the innocent pawn of her father and brother, Plaidy taught me that history is not a set of fixed truths, but a narrative that can be turned and manipulated to the teller’s purposes.Yet for all that, on taking up the book again in my maturity, I was sorely disappointed and wondered how I could once have read it so avidly. I can only imagine that it was not for the style, but for the content, for those glimpses of sex and passion that appealed so viscerally to an adolescent becoming aware of her own desires. But yet how innocent an age it was, for they are only glimpses, a few passionate words, a post-coital smile, coy references. How different to the blow by blow descriptions we expect today. I struggled to read this book, spurred on by my determination to write this review, and, I must guiltily admit, to relive those old memories. The only way I could keep at it was by taking it to work with me where I would read anything as a diversion on a long and boring tram ride.Plaidy’s style transgresses the one important precept of novel writing. She tells rather than shows. The novel is mainly exposition interspersed with occasional, uninspiring dialogue. We are told everything about the characters’ internal workings, yet they still remain fundamentally unconvincing. Her character development moves from point A almost as far as point B. Cesare is angry and violent in the nursery only to get more angry and violent as a man. Lucrezia’s thoughts are actually more sophisticated in the nursery than in her treacherous adult world. Roderigo’s subtlety is celebrated, yet we must believe that he can turn a blind eye to whatever does not please him.The novel’s flaws are evident from the first few pages where we are introduced to Lucrezia’s parents and follow their separate musings on their lives. These long passages float from one subject to another, touch back on the first subject, go elsewhere and then return. Joycean perhaps, but not what the novelist was aiming for. In fact it read as a first draft in need of tidying up, and furnished the key to the underlying problem of the novel. Given the author’s output (over 200 historical novels under several pseudonyms) and the amount of research that must have gone into each novel, it is not surprising that they had to be written quickly, with little time for second thoughts. However, reservations aside, although I might have outgrown her, I have Jean Plaidy to thank for firing my interest in history and for introducing me to a world beyond the convent walls.

  • Katherine 黄爱芬
    2019-04-30 17:02

    Sebelum membaca buku Borgia ini, saya sudah menonton film miniseri the Borgia yg dilansir tahun 2011. Maka saya tertarik utk membaca bukunya. Beruntung saya membaca buku karya Jean Plaidy ini, yg terdiri dari 2 buku.Dalam buku ini dibahas sejak kelahiran Lucrezia Borgia dimana dia sudah jadi permata hati keluarganya, diperebutkan kasih sayangnya antara abang-abangnya yang saling iri hati, Cesare dan Giovanni. Lucrezia digambarkan sbg gadis cantik, penurut dan selalu berusaha menyenangkan semua orang. Sampai pernikahannya pun diatur utk kepentingan keuntungan politik ayahnya. Dan pergolakan perseteruan kedua kakaknya, terombang-ambingnya perasaan Lucrezia yang harus mengindahkan saran dan perintah ayah serta kakaknya, dan kepatuhan sbg istri dari Giovanni Sforza, suami yang dipilih oleh ayahnya.Saya lebih suka membahas masing-masing karakter tokoh-tokoh sejarah dalam buku ini. Pengarang menulis dgn lihay nya ttg kelebihan dan kekurangan masing-masing individu yang memiliki peran penting dalam kehidupan awal Lucrezia, walau ada indikasi dari pengarang yang terlihat tidak menyukai Sforza dan Orsini (suami Giulia Farnesse) yang dikatakan sbg pria lemah.Aleksander VI aka Roderigo Borgia, sang kepala keluarga, ambisius luar biasa, sangat sayang pada semua anak-anaknya terutama kesayangannya, Giovanni. Dia piawai memainkan politik seperti seorang maestro, mengubah kekalahan menjadi kemenangannya. Namun sayang sekali, dia tidak bisa melihat potensi dan bakat masing-masing anak lelakinya terutama Cesare dan Giovanni, yang menjadi "bumerang tragedi" bagi Aleksander karena perselisihan kedua anaknya ini mengakibatkan dia harus kehilangan anak kesayangannya, Giovanni yang dilenyapkan oleh Cesare (yang ini mengingatkan saya pada kisah raja Tang Taizong muda sblm mjd kaisar, yang membunuh kakak dan adiknya, serta meraih tampuk singgasana dari ayahnya).Cesare Borgia, digambarkan berandal yang di saat dewasanya berubah menjadi sosok dominan, dingin dan mematikan, tetapi berdarah panas dan tidak ragu-ragu utk membunuh lawan2nya. Mungkin jika Aleksander "tidak memaksa" Cesare utk menjadi kardinal, "tidak memaksa" Cesare utk membunuh Virginio Orsini, yang dikaguminya ketika dia remaja, Giovanni Borgia mungkin tidak akan dilenyapkan oleh Cesare. Tapi sejarah sudah menakdirkan demikian.Lucrezia Borgia, gadis cantik manja, yang menurut saya tidak punya ketetapan hati, lebih menyukai keindahan duniawi, sama seperti ayah dan kakak2nya. Dia tidak bisa luput dari cengkeraman keluarganya, dgn pemberian kasih sayang yang keterlaluan dan tidak normal (bahkan di mata Sforza, suaminya), menjadikan dirinya sosok pembimbang dan mudah dirayu utk dimanfaatkan scr politis oleh ayahnya. Lucrezia melakukan skandal pertamanya dgn memiliki anak haram dgn pelayan utusan ayahnya ketika surat-menyurat antara Lucrezia dan ayahnya ketika Lucrezia ada di Biara San Sisto. Inilah "bukti" bahwa Lucrezia impulsif dan tidak bisa menahan godaan.Giovanni Sforza, pion malang yang menjadi suami Lucrezia. Dia sebenarnya lumayan cerdik, tapi karena terlalu pemalu dan minder, membuat dirinya gentar dan benci terhadap keluarga Borgia. Dirinya tidak pernah dianggap sbg anggota keluarga oleh ayah dan kakak2 Lucrezia. Dan perceraian dgn tuduhan impotensi dan pernyataan bahwa Lucrezia masih perawan, benar2 menggelikan.Giulia Farnesse, gundik kesayangan Aleksander yang sepantaran dgn Lucrezia, namun lebih matang dan cerdik daripada Lucrezia. Giulia sadar dirinya cantik dan bisa memberikan keuntungan bagi keluarganya dan keluarga suaminya, Orsini. Adriana, ibu mertua Giulia pun yang soleh dan taat, tidak berdaya dgn kekuasaan uang dan politis yang ditawarkan Aleksander, malah mendukung Giulia utk menjadi kekasih Paus bejat ini. Kemunafikan dan korupsi pada zaman Aleksander VI tampaknya adalah hal lumrah dgn "menutup mata". Sayangnya belakangan Giulia tidak diceritakan lagi setelah dia "disandera" pihak Perancis dan ditebus oleh Paus Aleksander.Skandal-skandal seks (adik ipar menjadi kekasih kakak-beradik Borgia), politik suap-menyuap (Aleksander berhasil menjadi Paus karena janji-janji politis dan uang, dan sebagai Kardinal terkaya pada zamannya, tidak mengherankan dia bisa berhasil dgn ambisinya itu), nepotisme (Cesare dijadikan Kardinal, dan Giovanni dijadikan Duke of Gandia) merajalela di buku ini. Saya suka jalan ceritanya dgn alur maju, dan penggambaran karakter tokoh-tokohnya dan pergolakan batin mereka digambarkan bagus sekali. Utk yang menyukai genre historical fiction ttg politik Eropa zaman abad perrtengahan seperti saya, buku ini akan memukau benak Anda seperti yang saya rasakan pada saat membacanya.

  • MV Mariani
    2019-04-29 17:56

    I really really wanted to like this book. I really did! After seeing the show about their family, I wanted to immerse myself in a juicy book about it, especially about Lucrezia, and I believe that's the reason I even reached the end of this book in the first place.I was starved for a story about them, and as any starved person, at first, I devoured what was in front of me without giving it much thought but then, when I slowly became full, I realized how dull it was. I kept on waiting for Lucrezia to wake up, for the dynamics to change and become more intricate and interesting but it was to no avail.-"Oh, how I love my brothers, my family. Oh, how I miss them. Oh, I can't be happy if I'm not near them. They scare me a little bit, they do, but- oh how I need them and love them"- That's the whole book! That and Cesare insinuating to Lucrezia how they could be more than siblings, but then, I didn't believe him to be as obsessed with her as Plaidy wants us to believe. He seems to remember his said obsession only when he's bored or when it most suits him.And really, let's be frank, a whole book where the protagonist it's always acting like an over dramatic pure soul? Especially when she has a family like that? I just can't believe it. It's unreal and far-fetched. In my opinion, if we take in consideration the family she grew up in, there's no way Lucrezia was so innocent, no way. And at first, the writer (it's actually one of the first things we read) says that to understand them we have to take in consideration the times they lived in. And I get that, I really do, but she kept trying to make Lucrezia into an innocent and good young girl, and it felt out of place.For me it lacked substance; with so many scandals they had, you would think a writer would make a feast out of them, but no, we get stuck with how much Lucrezia loves his family and how much she yearns for passion. For God's sake! It was insufferable.If you want to read about a badass Lucrezia, then don't even look at this book. And if you want to read about the Borgias and their lives, then don't either. The book goes over their matters and problems in such a brief manner that you keep wondering if you read them at all.

  • Sharon
    2019-04-25 19:55

    This is a story of the Borgia family taking place in Italy during the fifteenth century. I read this story because of my interest in the Borgias after the episode on TV. The novel focuses on the lives of the father (who became Pope Alexander VI) and his four illegitimate children. Most of the story centers around his daughter Lucrezia. It is a story of power, luxury, murder and heartbreak.Jean Plaidy has written over 100 historical fiction books under several names (many as Jean Holt.) There are the Tudors Saga (11), Stuarts (7), Queens of England (11) and many more. Madonna of the Seven Hills was first published in 1965 and was republished this year in a two volume book entitled The Borgias. It also includes Book 2 of the Borgias, entitled Light on Lucrezia, which I look forward to reading. I will definitely be looking for more of this author's work, hoping more will be republished in the future. Her style is light and easy to read, combining a pleasing combination of fact and fiction.

  • Dahlia
    2019-05-14 20:00

    Zaista ne znam kako bih ocijenila ovu knjigu. Mislila sam dati tri zvjezdice, ali onda pogledam kojim sam sve knjigama dala tri zvjezdice a puno su lošije. Dati četiri opet bi bilo previše. One stvari koje su mi se svidjele istovremeno bi mi išle na živce u nekim poglavljima.Ali prije toga, evo ukratko o čemu se radi u knjizi. Za one koji ne znaju, „Madonna of the Seven Hills“ (na hrvatskom prevedena kao Gospa od sedam brežuljaka) govori o Lucreziji Borgiji, vanbračnom djetetu kardinala Rodriga Borgije, koji će kasnije postati papa Aleksandar VI .Roman počinje njenim rođenjem. U početku je opisano njeno djetinjstvo u domu njene majke Vannozze Cattanei. Radnja se odvija polako. Nema nekih napetosti osim ako ne računate vječno rivalstvo njene braće Giovannija i Cesarea Borgie. Lucrezia odrasta u takvoj sredni gdje su ljubavnici, umorstva, zavjere i spletke smatrane normalnom pojavom.Dalje vam neću pisati. Morat ćete sami pročitati.E, sad. Prije čitanja knjige malo sam znala o Lucreziji. Nisam puno kopala po wikipediji jer sam gledala prve dvije epizode serije The Borgias pa sam imala neko „predzanje“ prije čitanja. Međutim, serija je jedno a roman drugo. Evo što me smetalo:1) OPISI likova!- Lik Lucrezie. Spisateljica je pokušala pokazati Lucreziu žrtvom okoline, njenog oca i braće. Htjela je da čitatelji osjete neku vrstu žaljenja prema Lucreziji. Međutim, njeni jednostavni opisi dvanaestogodišnje djevojčice nisu joj dali nikakvu dubinu. Umjesto osjećaja sažaljenja samo sam je doživjela kao površnu i poglupu.I da, zlatna kosa. Zar nema nikakvog drugog opisa za kosu?! Njena duga, zlatna kosa. Njena ljepota. Kakva ljepota? Jedino spominje zlatnu kosu milijun puta i ništa drugo. Je li bila visoka, niska? Kakve je imala oči, usta? Malo više opisa ne bi škodilo!-Giulia. Zanimljiv lik, ali opet... Koliko god bila zanimljiva, ovo je knjiga o Lucreziji i dosadilo mi je čitati pedeset stranica o Giuliji koja ljubuje sa muškarcem koji joj može biti djed!-Sanchia. Još jedan ženski lik koja osim lukavosti i zavodljivosti nema nikakvu kvalitetu. Zanimljiv lik, ali je previše stranica zauzela njena jako bitna priča.-Cesare Borgia. Piše na wikipediji kako je bio okrutan, ubojica, manipulator. Kad pročitaš nešto takvo dobiješ određenu predstavu kako bi lik trebao biti opisan. A ne... On je tako opisan da odmah padneš na njega. Zloban i zavodnik. Magnet za žene. Oh, to je takooo romantično. Uff. Opisan je kao razmažen klinac koji stalno kuka kako je on trebao biti veliki vojskovođa koji osvaja cijelu Europu, kao Julije Cezar. Jedina rekacija kad je ljut je stiskanje šaka. Mislim,stvarno? A namrgođeno lice, stisnuti zubi?-Giovanni Sforza. Prvi Lucrezijin muž. Možete pogoditi kako je opisan-meek, weak, coward. I tako stotinu puta na stotinu stranica.2)OPIS Italije tj. Rima ili manjak opisa Italije tj. Rima.Ženska napiše nazive dvije ulice i sad joj trebam povjerovati da je radnja smještena u Rimu?Kad bi izbacili nazive ulica i talijanska imena, radnja bi lako mogla biti smještena u bilo koji grad u bilo koje vrijeme! Uopće nemaš osjećaj da se radnja odvija u Italiji u 15. stoljeću!A sad što mi svidjelo:1) Priča. Kako je ovo ipak povijesni roman, podloga mu je u činjenicama ili iskrivljenim činjenicama. Zavjere, spletke, umorstva. O tome nije nikad dosadno čitati.2) Radnja pred kraj romana. Zamjeram što se nešto interesantno počinje događati pred kraj romana.*spoiler alert*Tek na kraju romana Lucrezija dobija jednu novu dimenziju nakon što se nesretno zaljubi u Pedra. Ali, naravno, njena sreća ne potraje kratko jer joj brat i otac ubiju ljubavnika da ne bi osramotila cijelu obitelj. Nakon ovog dijela shvatiš u kakvom je vremenu i okruženju živjela pa se možeš na neki način povezati s likom. Ali, trebalo je 200 stranica kako bi se došlo do toga.Bilo kako bilo, knjiga nije loša i kad je postala zanimljiva-bam! Kraj romana. Plaidy je jako lukava što je ostavila roman nedovršenim pa sad moram pročitati i drugi dio. Lukavo Plaidy, lukavo.

  • Chris
    2019-05-08 21:08

    Because of the TV Series on the Borgias, I reread this and Light on Lucrezia Alsdo by Jean Plaidy. I believe anyone watching this series woud gain a lot by reading a Plaidy first. She lived from 1 Sept 1906 until 18 January 1993. Her real name was Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert. She wrote under many names (8-15). Over 31 novels were written as Victoria Holt and sold over 51 million copies and were gothic romances. She aso wote fiction as Philippa Carr that were set in historical times, though the characters were imaginary. Her 30 romantic tales/ mystery novels written under Eleanor Burford are hard to find. She spent 15 years in the 50s and 60s writting well researched historical novels numbering about 90. There are the Plantagenet Series, the Tudor Series etc. and far surpass any college history class I ever took, presenting accurate accounts of history in a credible manner. I researched a few and found little poetic license. Then came Victoria Holt (her most successful alias selling ovf 75 million copies un 20 languages). Her last pseudonym was as Phillppa Carr and the novels took place just before WWII and are narrated by a 'woman of the time" centered around auithentic historical episodes. I have never read a Plaidy under a 5 due to her ability to make history come aive through her characters. Her other books are enjoyable and range from a 3 to a 5. Unfortunatelyi I do not own all the Plaidys - but am working on it.

  • Denise
    2019-05-02 19:53

    Raised surrounded by riches in an atmosphere ripe with scandal, Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI, is both the apple of her father's eye and an important pawn in furthering his ambitions. In the midst of power struggles, bribery and assassinations as well as her older brothers' intense rivalry, her innocence cannot last for very long.The Borgias are a source of endless fascination for many - myself obviously among them. Jean Plaidy can generally be relied upon for deft characterisations and well-paced plotting that takes historical facts into account and pays little heed to unfounded rumours. While not my favourite among her works that I've read so far, this first part of her Lucrezia duology following her protagonist from birth until her second wedding day was a solid, enjoyable effort.

  • Robin
    2019-04-25 19:15

    Once again, Plaidy's character assessment is what makes this book. Her characterization of all the characters, but particular Cesare and his relationship with Lucrezia, worked so well to bring them alive and allow us to understand them. Plaidy's forward note which states "Only by judging the Borgias against their own times can they arouse our sympathy, and only if they arouse our sympathy can they be understood" is incredibly accurate, not just of this novel and the Borgias but of history in general. And Plaidy certainly succeeds in accomplishing this. If you want a novel that will make sense of the shocking lives of the Borgia's, this is it. I'm already diving into it's sequel (Light on Lucrezia).

  • Allie
    2019-05-14 22:17

    My first Plaidy and I am hooked! I will say it did take me longer than expected to really get into the book. But once I did, I didn't want to put it down. I am waiting for the 2nd book is this series to arrive in the mail! The Borgia family is very interesting! I read The Borgia Bride a few months ago and wanted to read more. I enjoyed this version of the Borgias maybe more than Kalogridis' perhaps because it doesn't seem as exaggerated. It is a quick read which was a nice change of pace for me since lastely it seems as if I have only been reading books that are 500 pages long!

  • Kara
    2019-05-04 15:52

    A good story, but drag down but a little too much telling rather than showing. However, I appreciate that Plaidy didn't use a lot of foreshadowing or irony that is all too easy to go overboard on in historical fiction.

  • Jacqi
    2019-05-04 19:20

    Totally addictive thus far. Purchased for my Kindle - but I think this one is certainly a keeper - so I'll be ordering the actual book. Looking forward to the HBO/Showtime series now...Changed this to FIVE stars - and I downloaded the next installment immediately to my Kindle...

  • The Idle Woman
    2019-05-25 17:07

    I’ve always felt I should read Jean Plaidy’s books. She’s ubiquitous in the historical fiction sections of bookshops and libraries, and she writes about periods that I find interesting. It was only a matter of time. Last winter, I went slightly wild at the Book Barn and came away with a pile of her novels, which I’m only now starting to tackle. I chose to begin with the first of her two novels about Lucrezia Borgia, which may have been a mistake, as it hasn’t done much to win me over. Over-seasoned, two-dimensional and extremely dated, it feels like stepping back in time for all the wrong reasons...For the full review, please see my blog:

  • Sue Law
    2019-05-18 18:20

    A late '50s Plaidy when she was producing some of her best historical novels. Lucrezia is the third of the illegitimate children of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia who later became Pope Alexander VI. In an age of corruption Alexander takes nepotism to a new level, using his children as pawns in his power game. Plaidy portrays Lucrezia not as a scheming poisoner but as a naive, not very bright beauty manipulated by her family. Well paced, this first of 2 novels takes us through Lucrezia's childhood to the start of her second marriage.

  • Fiona
    2019-05-13 17:11

    Excellent book and well written. Jean Plaidy was one of the first to write such great historical novels. I really enjoyed this book, I did know about the history before but the book made it feel fresh and new. A fascinating family the Borgia's. If you like historical book you will lo e this.

  • Karyn
    2019-05-04 20:07

    Really enjoyed this book, hope to read more of Jean Plaidy.

  • Hobby
    2019-05-25 15:12

    Judul Asli : THE BORGIAS : MADONNA OF THE SEVEN HILLS[ book 1 of THE BORGIAS Series ]Copyright © 1958, 1974 by Jean PlaidyCopyright renewed © 1986 by Jean PlaidyPenerbit : Elex Media KomputindoAlih Bahasa : Eka BudiartiCetakan I : Februari 2013 ; 488 hlm Nama Lucrezia Borgia merupakan daya tarik tersendiri bagi penggemar kisah sejarah. Bukan saja karena ia merupakan keturunan keluarga Borgia yang memegang kekuasaan serta mengendalikan pemerintahan melalui Vatikan, Roma, tetapi juga permainan intrik kotor yang menyebabkan nama Borgia ditakuti oleh kawan serta lawannya. Kisah ini merupakan hasil intrepetasi sang penulis, yang berusaha merangkum fakta-fakta sejarah dan menyajikan sebuah drama misteri tentnag salah satu keluarga tertua dan paling berkuasa di Eropa.Roderigo Borgia – Kardinal Agung di Roma, adalah sosok yang tampak lembut, ramah serta baik hati, namun memiliki rasa haus akan kekuasaan yang sangat tinggi, dan ia memiliki otak yang sangat cerdas untuk menyusun sebuah rencana demi mewujudkan cita-citanya : menjadi penguasa dunia melalui Vatikan. Langkah-langkah awal yang ia lakukan adalah menghasilkan keturunan putra-putra tangguh yang akan menjadi jenderal dalam tampuk pemerintahan yang akan diraihnya. Sebagai seorang Kardinal terhormat, seorang pastur Katolik yang diwajibkan untuk ‘selibat’ – tentunya tidak mungkin ia menikah dan memiliki keturunan. Berkat kekayaan keluarga, beliau mampu memiliki cukup banyak ‘simpanan’ ; mulai dari gadis belia hingga janda yang menawan. Salah satunya adalah Vannozza Catanei – janda cantik yang dijuluki Madonna dari Seven Hills, berhasil menarik hati sang Kardinal, terutama semenjak ia berhasil melahirkan putra-putra yang menjadi tumpuan cita-cita beliau. Dari si sulung Pedro Luis yang terpejar, Cesare yang pemberani, hingga Giovanni yang tampan dan menjadi kesayangan ‘paman’ Roderigo. Dan kelahiran bayi mungil yang cantik jelita bernama Lucrezia semakin menambah semarak keluarga tersebut. more about this book, just check on my review at here :( )

  • Debbie Young
    2019-05-16 16:58

    I've never read any of Jean Plaidy's books before and read this because it was nominated by a historical novelists' book group I belong to that focuses on historical novels. I have many friends and relations who have enjoyed her books so was interested to see what the fuss was about, especially now that, having been out of fashion for a while, her books have been reissued.I found this a curious book. It reminded me partly of a high school history text book, carefully and elaborately explaining the facts in a digestible way, and the sort of essay we students might have been asked to write, imagining ourselves in the period. It was occasionally heavy-handed at slipping in period detail to anchor the story historically e.g. going on about Spanish style dancing versus Italian style dancing. This is not to be dismissive of the book - I enjoyed reading it and found it a real page-turner. However, I found it hard to believe that the heroine could have grown up as innocent and naive as she was depicted, growing up within such a dysfunctional and amoral family. Therefore although it felt historically accurate overall, it struck me that it might be a bit of a whitewash of Lucrezia Borgia. I also felt slightly uncomfortable with what was almost exclusively a portrayal of the upper classes with little regard for anyone else, other than as caricatures. It did feel like something that had been written decades ago, when the British class system was rather more rigid and deferential. As a bit of a leftie, I disliked that aspect of the book intensely. Having said that, I'm glad I read it, and I can completely understand how Jean Plaidy gained such a huge following. I'll be watching with interest to see how 21st century readers take to her - and how the rest of my book group responds.

  • Andrea
    2019-04-25 19:56

    Certainly more fiction than historical, I still loved every minute of this book. Plaidy herself makes an interesting point in her introduction to her work on the Borgias noting that we must judge the Borgias against their own time if they are to arouse sympathy and thus be understood in our modern period. Yes, the scandals and legends are outrageous and practically a parody of our current soap operas, but even the kernel of truth within them point to a time and place where to some extent might did make right and rulers of the various city-states of Italy exercised near totalitarian rule of their territories. I found this an interesting take on the major players and while Lucrezia comes off as rather naïve and perhaps not terribly bright all the time, her love for her family and search for security and affection in the face of the terrible, constant questing for power of her family makes for a far more interesting protagonist than merely turning her into an evil vixen. As always, I read this with a slightly feminist bent, as I am always interested in asking of any historical time and place "What were the possibilities for women? What could they be? What could they strive for? What did a "good" woman look like and a "bad" woman?" and I found this book to provide much interesting food for thought. The Borgia children's status as bastards is ever present – openly acknowledged but a source of shame for many of them. The pope's obvious affairs and mistresses are at the same time scandalous and obvious. Very interesting time when what one was doing seemed much less important than whom one was doing. Was adultery really so bad if it got your husband, family, and children wealth, status and favor? What was purity or virginity when it could be bestowed or taken away by papal bull? Enjoyed this one immensely and sweeping on to the second Lucrezia book.

  • Becky
    2019-04-26 15:01

    What disturbs me most about Madonna of the Seven Hills is that Jean Plaidy bothered listing The Life of Cesare Borgia by Rafael Sabatini in her bibliography. If indeed she read the biography, she chose to disregard it completely. For this novel breaks all of Sabatini's rules. This novel thrives on the LEGENDARY sins of the Borgia family. It builds up this fantastical, sensational notion of what the family was like. The most sympathetically presented is, of course, Lucrezia. Two of Plaidy's novels are devoted to Lucrezia Borgia. The second is Light on Lucrezia. This novel tells her story up to the point of her (supposed) mysterious pregnancy following her scandalous divorce. It ends with her learning that the father of the child (supposed father, I should say) has been murdered by her family (presumably Cesare) and so has her maid because she knew too much.Obviously, Madonna of the Seven Hills is SO MUCH BETTER than a certain romance novel I read in the summer, The Borgia Bride. (That one was so awful). The characterization might be a bit biased, assuming that Cesare and Rodrigo are always up to no good and almost certainly being immoral or unwise, but it wasn't completely unpleasant either. Cesare comes across as mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Plaidy was perhaps, in her own little way, presenting him as the ultimate swoon-worthy bad boy. So Cesare and Rodrigo though they are presented as murderers and poisoners come across as quite likable at times. I found her presentation of Sanchia to be quite entertaining!The book was a quick read. I didn't necessarily agree with her conclusions and presentation. But it was entertaining.

  • Phil Syphe
    2019-05-04 16:59

    The novel opens just before Lucrezia’s birth in 1480 and continues through to 1498. The core of the story is her relationship with her father and two of her brothers, and of those brothers’ mutual hate of each other. Yet they both love Lucrezia to an unnatural extent, competing for her affection from the day she’s born.Must admit, I had no prior knowledge whatsoever about the Borgias, nor am I familiar with Italian history. I decided to read this partly because I’d heard/read references to the Borgia family and Lucrezia over the past few months, and partly because I enjoyed Jean Plaidy’s Isabella and Ferdinand trilogy.This book, however, did not prove as engaging as any novel in the aforementioned trilogy. At times I was losing concentration, owing to the lack of action. This tended to happen during long narrative passages, in which the author is telling the reader this, that, or the other in non-exciting terms. When the focus is on character interaction the novel comes to life. Otherwise there are sections that feel like they are lacking something in some way. The characterization is very good, as is the imagery. About halfway into the book the reader is introduced to Sanchia. This promiscuous beauty adds a little spice to the tale. Lucrezia’s volatile brother Cesare is a well-drawn character. He and his charismatic father, Pope Alexander VI, are two of the strongest characters in the book. Overall this book is worth reading despite being a little flat or slow paced at times.

  • Liza
    2019-05-11 21:50

    Women of powerful families rarely have a say in their destinies, and Lucrezia Borgia is no exception. The only daughter born to Roderigo Borgia, later known as Pope Alexander VI, her life is not really her own. She is showered with love and affection from her brothers and father, and lives a rich life most envy. But soon Lucrezia's innocence is lost as her eyes are slowly opened to the way life will be. Married young to a man who will bring alliances and more power to her family, she only starts to fully understand her role when she must go with her husband to his home to escape the dangers of Rome. Alexander is a powerful man, but he knows when the tides turn against him, and he sends his children away so they will be safe until the storms blow over. Alexander soon begins to grow irritated with his daughter's husband, and as he starts to plot how to get rid of his son-in-law, Lucrezia takes refuge in a convent to have peace while she considers her life. At the convent, she finds love, but her hopes of having her own quiet life are crushed when her father finds out what has happened. Full of court intrigue, family conflict, and the mysterious power of rich families, this first book of the Borgias got me interested in this ancient family. Plaidy's writing is rich and the details of the time period drew me into the story. The Borgias are a very interesting family this is the first book I have read about them, and I am looking forward to reading the next in this series.

  • Shoshanah
    2019-04-27 15:17

    As soon as I realized this book had been released I was really looking forward to reading it. First it was written by Jean Plaidy, I've already raved about her over and over so I'll try to avoid doing that once again. Second it was about the Borgias family, and this would be my first time reading anything about them. I am happy to report back that I wasn't disappointed.While the book follows the Borgiases from Pope Alexander VI to his 3 illegitimate sons, the focus is on his daughter Lucrezia. I had heard she was something of a harlot, and I was surprised to find her fairly innocent in this book, although I'm sure this will change in the sequel. Like most Plaidy books the story starts with Lucrezia's childhood and continues as she grows up.I know it's been said before, but I think it's especially relevant to this story, that the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. There is so much that happens to the family throughout the book, that if it were a work of fiction it could be seen as a little over the top. I realize the book is only based on truth, but reading it you have to wonder how much actually happened and how much is left over from rumors and gossips. Speaking of the scandals, the last chapter is full of them. I wouldn't go as far to say that the book ends on a cliffhanger, but more that after it's ending I can't wait to dive into the sequel to see just what other adventures are ahead for Lucrezia.

  • Imelda
    2019-05-09 17:58

    This book is quite bad. I'm only 40 pages in, so if I change my mind later on I'll come back and revise this review. But so far I am shocked by the poor writing and characterization.The book is entirely "told" instead of "shown," breaking the basic rule of writing. The following lines, from a moment when Lucrezia's father kisses her wrist, are typical: "He was always passionately sentimental when they were alone. He wanted to tell her of his love and be assured of hers." The author constantly describes the characters' feelings instead of portraying them through behavior. And the story unfolds as if it were being told orally (and poorly) - 'then this happened, and this happened, and then this happened,' and blah blah blah.Even worse, the characters are ridiculous. Lucrezia is entirely defined by her looks, how much she wants to improve her looks, and how much she pleases everyone around her. Her relationship with Cesare is sexualized from - I kid you not - the age of 2, when her defining quality is established as flirtatiousness, and his as jealousy over her. It's quite gross.So, I'd guess that most of the other reviews for this book are paid for or done by friends of the author, except that apparently she has sold millions of books. So...*shrug*. Who knows?ETA: I finished the book - at least it was readable enough to finish - but it never got much better. Lucrezia never develops a brain or a personality.

  • LeahBethany
    2019-05-01 18:14

    A great historical fiction novel; fascinating to learn more about the Borgias.

  • Liesje Leest
    2019-05-15 16:53

    Since I love historical novels, I was very surprised that I never heard of Jean Plaidy before. She has written so many books! I came across her name while browsing historical-fiction and decided to give her work a try.Madonna of the seven hills was the book I chose. It was nice to read historical fiction about someone I know very little about. I did not know where the story would be going. I enjoyed the story a lot and will be reading part II soon. However I do have some negative comments to make. The characters in the book are pretty static, not very lively. To me good historical fiction can make historical figures turn into 'real' people. The people in this book did not make that connection with me. I didn't feel like I was living the story with the people in the book, I was observing them.So while I wish the characters where a bit more lively I did like the book. I learned much about the Borgia's from this book and I am happy to hear that Jean Plaidy's books are known for being well researched.

  • Christina
    2019-04-27 18:09

    I am a big fan of Jean Plaidy's books. I read the first 10 books in her Plantagenet series and loved them; I will certainly return to and finish that 13 book series.The Borgia family is quite the fascinating family. In fact, I even considered the name Lucrezia as one for my daughter. Maybe not the best thought, but it is a beautiful name.Plaidy's writing is superb. She is a master at character development and immediately sucks you into the story. I have never been disappointed with her books. Alexander is the cool, calm, masterful Pope, Giovanni the handsome playboy, Cesare the angry monster and surprisingly, Lucrezia is portrayed as an innocent in all the scheming. I was quite surprised by that.Madonna of the Seven Hills is simply great historical fiction. Dubbed 'the original crime family,' the Borgias provide plenty of opportunities for great storylines in Jean Plaidy's books, beginning with Madonna of the Seven Hills.

  • Crystal
    2019-05-21 14:04

    I didn’t know much about the Borgia’s before reading this, and I had such a great time learning about them as I was reading this! Just like any other book by Plaidy, you can always count on her to tell a story in such an interesting way that you don’t even realize it’s based on history.The Borgia’s are such an interesting family, I loved the dynamic Plaidy portrayed between the brothers and Lucrezia, as well as their father, who loves them more than anything in the world. Alexander is just as conniving as any King you’ve read about in any historical piece, politicking his way to the top of the Church and placing his children in strategic positions both in the church and around the rest of Italy.To read the rest of my review, please visit:

  • Penny
    2019-05-04 20:18

    I have noticed that whilst no historian shirks from bad-mouthing Roderigo or Cesare Borgia - women writers,in particular, tend to want to see Lucrezia as an ill-used daughter who turned to the bad because of the circumstances her family thrust upon her. Jean Plaidy is no exception - I think she prefers to love her heroines and make her readers see them with a sympathetic eye. This is no bad thing in itself, and I confess her novels have probably influenced my lifelong impressions of many historical ladies over the years, but I think Lucrezia must have had her own demons - maybe Plaidy will let them come out in the later sequels when she is married off, yet again, first to Alfonzo of Aragon and finally to the much older Alfonzo D'Este.

  • Angelic Zaizai
    2019-05-03 19:16

    Baca buku ini berasa kaya nonton serial, dramatis, penuh intrik, serusayangnya ternyata bersambung T____TJujur aja, belum terlalu kenal dengan keluarga Borgia, keturunan Spanyol yang berhasil menjadi Paus di Vatikanbeuuuh, meskipun Paus, bukan berarti orang benar-benar suci looh... buktinya doyan pere' booo... punya anak haram jugakarena masih buku pertama, jadi kebanyakan sih tentang pengenalan tokoh-tokohnya, dan Lucrezia-nya ga terlalu jadi fokus di sini, baru akhir-akhir agak keliatan sifatnya, dan pas lagi berontak eeeeh... abis T____Tjadi pengen nonton serialnya aaah..