Violante isn’t supposed to be here. She isn’t supposed to be a lady-in-waiting to Lucrezia Borgia. Those who enter the House of Borgia are never quite the same when they leave – if they leave at all. Violante’s place in history will test her heart and leave her the guardian of dangerous secrets she must carry to the grave.

'Sizzling' USA Today

'Bower brilliantly merges history with politics and convincing characters…This powerful piece of fiction ranks with some of the finest of the genre.' RT Book Reviews

‘The sheer grandeur of the Papal and Ferrara courts and the spectacle of the Borgia and Ferrara siblings’ rivalries and revenges form a glittering take on one of the most notorious families of the Italian Renaissance’ Publishers’ Weekly

‘Bower brilliantly merges history with politics and convincing characters to draw readers into a lush and colourful tapestry of Renaissance life...This powerful piece of fiction ranks with some of the finest of the genre.’ RT Book Reviews

' looking at every painting of Renaissance Italy you have ever seen...' Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover



For anyone reading The Book of Love who wants to find out more about the background to the book, I would suggest as a starting point Sarah Bradford's superb and highly readable biographies of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, listed below.

Beinart, Haim, trans. Green, The Expulsion of the Jews From Spain, Oxford, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization 2002

Bellonci, Maria, Lucrezia Borgia, London, Phoenix 2000

Bradford, Sarah, Cesare Borgia: His Life and Times, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1981 Bradford, Sarah, Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love and Death in Renaissance Italy, London, Viking 2004

Breisach, Ernst, Caterina Sforza: A Renaissance Virago, University of Chicago Press 1967

Bull, Malcolm, The Mirror of the Gods: Classical Mythology in Renaissance Art, London, Penguin 2005

Burchard, Johann, trans. and ed. Parker, At the Court of the Borgia, London, The Folio Society 1963

Burckhardt, Jacob, trans. Middlemore, ed. Gordon, The Civilization of the Renaissance, New York, Mentor 1960

Castiglione, Baldassare, trans. Bull G., The Book of the Courtier, London, Penguin Classics 1976

Cellini, Benvenuto, trans. Bondanella J. C. & P., My Life, Oxford World’s Classics 2002

Gregorovius, Ferdinand, trans. Garner, Lucretia Borgia, New York, D. Appleton & Co. 1903

Halevi, Z’ev ben Shimon, Kabbalah: Tradition of Hidden Knowledge, London, Thames and Hudson 1979

Hollingsworth, Mary, The Cardinal’s Hat: Money, Ambition and Housekeeping in a Renaissance Court, London, Profile Books 2004

Jardine, Lisa, Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance, London, Papermac 1997

Johnson, Marion, The Borgias, London, Penguin Classic Biography 2001

Machiavelli, Niccolo, trans. Bull G., The Prince, London, Penguin Classics 1975

Mallett, Michael, The Borgias: The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Dynasty, London, The Bodley Head 1969

Murphy, Caroline, The Pope’s Daughter, London, Faber & Faber 2004

Parks, Tim, Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics and Art in Fifteenth Century Florence, London, Profile Books 2005

Musacchio, Jacqueline Marie, The Art and Ritual of Childbirth in Renaissance Italy, New York, Yale University Press 1999

Nicholl, Charles, Leonardo da Vinci: the flights of the mind, London, Allen Lane 2004

Ed. Richter, Irma A., The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Oxford World’s Classics 1998

Trans. Shankland, Hugh, The Prettiest Love Letters in the World: Letters Between Lucrezia Borgia and Pietro Bembo 1503 to 1519, Boston, David R. Godine 1987

Vasari, Giorgio, trans. Bull M., Lives of the Artists, London, Penguin Classics 1987

Walker, D. P., Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella, University of Pennsylvania Press 2000



Bacon, Francis, Of Gardens, 1625 at

The Online Calendar of Saints’ Days

Resources for a Study of Sephardism and Gracia Mendes

Web Gallery of Art See page of Pinturicchio images from the Borgia apartments of the Vatican

Norwich Textiles, Carrow House