Do you love drama, steamy romance and corruption? Are you in need of a new Renaissance Italy fix now that Showtime's The Borgias is over? If you answered yes to both questions, then look no further than Kate Quinn's latest historical romance, The Serpent and the Pearl, a seductive tale about a woman caught in the midst of the Borgias family's web of corruption. This iconic family knows a thing or two about keeping skeletons in the closet and today Kate lists the top worst offenses the family committed, and the actions she believes redeems them — particularly her character Rodrigo Borgia. Take a look!
-Simony. The age-old practice of trading church appointments for favors was raised to a high art by Rodrigo Borgia when he literally bought his way into the papacy by bribing his fellow cardinals to vote for him.
-Open sale of indulgences and annulments. Henry VIII would have had no trouble getting rid of Katherine of Aragon if he'd been applying to the Borgia Pope for his divorce — Pope Alexander VI accepted a hefty cash bribe when Louis XII of France petitioned to divorce his crippled wife Queen Joan for the younger and wealthier Anne of Brittany.
-Orgies. Sexually insatiable as a younger man (he hosted famous debauches known as “garden parties”), Rodrigo Borgia didn't slow down once he became Pope. He openly kept a mistress 40 years his junior, who was nicknamed “The Bride of Christ.”
-Nepotism. Pope Alexander made one son a bishop, elevated the other son to commander of the papal armies, promoted his mistress's brother to cardinal and handed out church appointments to so many Spanish cousins that he was accused of creating a “Catalan Vatican.”
-Letting his children get away with murder — literally. Cesare Borgia stabbed a papal envoy to death at his father's feet in the Vatican, and Juan Borgia reportedly raped the daughter of a Roman nobleman. Neither was punished by their father.
-Treatment of the Jews. Pope Alexander welcomed thousands of Jews who had been expelled from Spain, declaring they were free to live their lives in Rome as they pleased.
-Treatment of homosexuals. In Florence during this time, the great church reformer Savonarola was rounding up accused sodomites and executing them, but Pope Alexander declined to persecute homosexuality.
-Treatment of the poor. Many popes busied themselves exclusively with the nobler and wealthier of their flock, but Pope Alexander was recorded as “attentive to the problems of poor widows and other humble folk.”
Are you ready to travel back to Renaissance Italy and see how this story ends? Then pick up your copy of Kate Quinn's The Serpent and the Pearl today. And for more historical romance books and authors, check out our Everything Romance Page!