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Extended Audio Sample The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance, by Jeanne Kalogridis Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (879 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeanne Kalogridis Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Daughter of the Duke of Milan and wife of the conniving Count Girolamo Riario, Caterina Sforza was the bravest warrior Renaissance Italy ever knew. She ruled her own lands, fought her own battles, and openly took lovers whenever she pleased.

Her remarkable tale is told by her lady-in-waiting, Dea, a woman knowledgeable in reading the “triumph cards,” the predecessor of modern-day Tarot. As Dea tries to unravel the truth about her husband’s murder, Caterina single-handedly holds off invaders who would steal her title and lands. However, Dea’s reading of the cards reveals that Caterina cannot withstand a third and final invader—none other than Cesare Borgia, son of the corrupt Pope Alexander VI, who has an old score to settle with Caterina. Trapped inside the Fortress at Ravaldino as Borgia’s cannons pound the walls, Dea reviews Caterina’s scandalous past and struggles to understand their joint destiny, while Caterina valiantly tries to fight off Borgia’s unconquerable army.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Elli | 2/10/2014

    " I note that the author chooses to write about some of history's "bad" women. the Scarlet Contessa is about Caterina Sforza through the eyes of her prime lady in waiting. The Sforza family was one of the prime families in this period as well as the Medici's and the Borgia's, all of whom interract. The everyday lives and what is expected of the noble families including how much of their lives (including their very lives in any situation) belong to the liege lord (and lady). Right or wrong. Although I would give this 3 stars normally, I'm going to give it 4, because with even what I'd consider it's literary shortcomings, it had me really into it from beginning to end! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Heather Albano | 2/10/2014

    " I really wanted to like this, but it simply didn't hit hard enough. The premise was interesting and the last chapter was great; the ~400 pages in between were painfully slow, going through all the motions of a grand epic without the intensity of emotion, like watching one of the big mechanical critters in the second Star Wars movie pick up its leg and put its leg down again. Would have been better at half the length. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Angela Montgomery | 2/5/2014

    " This novel deals with the fascinating, and poorly known, Caterina Sforza. She is not a likeable person, which I think may ruin the novel for many. However, I think any historical fiction about the Italian Renaissance would have to include many unsavoury characters. They were all ruthless shits, no doubt. It is written through the perspective of her lady-in-waiting Dea, in contrast a rather insipid personality, but who is not? The cover is misleading. Do not read this book if you are expecting a Harlequin-like romance. Any love story is secondary. The book is marred by a strange ending where Dea seems to act quite out of character. Also, it is hard to understand throughout the book why she remains with Caterina. However, if you have any interest in historical fiction, especially anything set in the Renaissance, it is worth reading. I have yet to find any other books set in Italy during this time period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Valerie | 2/5/2014

    " Good book - enjoyable to read about the history of Italy in that time period. Lots of political and church insights. Needed to keep a notebook with all the names of the people though - those Italian names are all so similar! "

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