- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First edition (July 5 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312576242
- ISBN-13: 978-0312576240
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.7 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 431 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #533,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance Paperback – Jul 5 2011
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“Sexually voracious, battle hardened, a ruler in her own lands, Caterina rejects a woman's place in a macho culture. Does she get away with it? That's what this guilty pleasure of a novel is about.” ―USA Today
“In her fascinating novels Kalogridis focuses on the intrigues, passions and history of the Renaissance, drawing readers into the events that shaped the era through the lives of remarkable women. In a time when women quietly obeyed, Caterina Sforza forged her own destiny, choosing her lovers and fighting battles. In Kalogridis' hands, she comes alive as an extraordinary woman ahead of her time.” ―RT Book Review (4 stars)
“Historical novelist Kalogridis has again woven a delightful and intricate tapestry of life, love, lust, politics and ambition that made up the Italian peninsula in the 15th century. . . . Depictions of sumptuous richness and the basest squalor, the petty enmities and jealousies, the corruption at the heart of the Vatican are shown in splendid detail and make this an incredibly rewarding read. Highly recommended.” ―Library Journal
“[A] vividly rendered historical . . . plenty of intrigue and conspiracy in the lusty plot.” ―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Jeanne Kalogridis lives with her partner on the West Coast, where they share a house with two dogs. She is the author of The Borgia Bride, The Devil's Queen, and other dark fantasy and historical novels. Born in Florida, Kalogridis has a B.A. in Russian and a master's in linguistics, and taught English as a second language at The American University for eight years before retiring to write full-time.
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In The Scarlet Contessa, Kalogridis takes on Caterina Sforza, the daughter of the Duke of Milan, a fascinating and strong Renaissance woman who dared to defy Cesare Borgia, son of the notorious Pope Alexander VI (aka Rodrigo Borgia). Told through the eyes of Caterina's servant, Dea, who possesses the unique ability to read Tarot cards and foretell Caterina's future, Scarlet Contessa tells a strange and dangerous tale made even more colorful by Caterina's dark past and desperate need to continue fighting to protect her lands and live the life she wants.
I had somewhat mixed feelings about this one -and they aren't all bad. Let's start the bad...just to get it over with. Dea isn't a bad character -far from it, she's a fairly a interesting woman who offers interesting commentary on Caterina's life and lives a dangerous and romantic life of her own. However, Caterina was a considerably more interesting character who openly defied the social conventions of the times. She ended up being more interesting than the narrator of the story, and whenever the narrative shifted more to focus on Dea, I wanted it to get back to Caterina because I just wasn't as interested in Dea.
That aside, Scarlet Contessa is an incredibly well-written, well-plotted novel that I was able to get completely invested in from the very beginning and kept with it up until the end. Kalogridis' attention to detail and excellent eye for historical accuracy shone through in every sentence and the characters where fascinating to read about, but most importantly, I couldn't put the book down.