Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday Intros No. 10: The Deadly Sisterhood, by Leonie Frieda

Welcome to First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros,
hosted by Diane @

Every Tuesday, each participant
shares the first paragraph 
(sometimes two) from a book
they're reading,
or thinking about reading.

The book I've picked this week is...

 The Deadly Sisterhood: A Story of
Women, Power, and Intrigue
in the Italian Renaissance 
Leonie Frieda
Hardcover, 379 pages
HarperCollins Publishers 
April 2, 2013
Biography, Feminism, History,  
Nonfiction, Politics


About the Book
The book is one of drama on a grand scale, a Renaissance epic, as Christendom emerged from the shadows of the calamitous 14th century. The sweeping tale involves inspired and corrupt monarchs, the finest thinkers, the most brilliant artists, and the greatest beauties in Christendom.

Here is the story of eight of its most remarkable women, who were all joined by birth, marriage and friendship, and who ruled for a time in place of their men-folk: Lucrezia Turnabuoni (Queen Mother of Florence, the power behind the Medici throne), Clarice Orsini (Roman princess, feudal wife), Beatrice d'Este (Golden Girl of the Renaissance), Caterina Sforza (Lioness of the Romagna), Isabella d'Este (the Acquisitive Marchesa), Giulia Farnese ('la bella', the family asset), Isabella d'Aragona (the Weeping Duchess) and Lucrezia Borgia (the Virtuous Fury). The men play a secondary role in this grand saga; whenever possible the action will be seen through the eyes of our eight heroines.

These eight women experienced great riches, power and the warm smile of fortune, but they also knew banishment, poverty, the death of a husband or the loss of one or more of their children. As each of the chosen heroines comes to the fore in her turn, she is handed the baton by her 'sister'. Acclaimed author Leonie Frieda recounts the role each woman played in the hundred-year drama that is THE DEADLY SISTERHOOD.


She-Wolf of the Romagna

 14 April 1488

During the late afternoon of Monday, 14 April 1488, inside the ruler's palace at Forli, a family party had just finished their cena. Caterina Sforza, the twenty-five-year-old countess of the small state, rose from the table. At the same time, the tall and fashionably slender beauty, whose long, fair hair framed her renowned features, glanced at her mother and two half-sisters, recently arrived from the mighty Sforza dominion of Milan. Her expression told them to follow her lead. Upon reaching the flabby figure of Caterina's husband, Girolamo Riario, Count of Forli, Lord of Imola and nephew of the late Pope Sixtus IV, the three guests each dropped a deep curtsey, taking their leave. Finally, Caterina made her usual elegant révérence and retired. She would not see her husband alive again.

I won this book in a blog giveaway a couple of years ago, and can't believe I haven't read it yet! I don't usually read much history, but this one is definitely very interesting. History textbooks don't tell the stories of empires and nations from women's point of view, so I do want to read this one!
What do you think? Would you continue reading? 


Cleo Bannister said...

Yes I'd keep reading, I like history especially when its focus is women's lives and this sounds perfect with the intertwining stories of eight women.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I'd normally pass on a book like this but, honestly, i'm curious, it does sound rather fascinating.
I'd read more. I hope you enjoy this one.

Emma Littlefield said...

I would keep reading, though I am not that interested in Italian history I do like non-fiction about powerful women.

Brian Joseph said...

This book sounds phenomenal. This time in history that it takes place in is so interesting and I do not know enough about it.

In recent years it seems that in the area of social history, there as been a lot of attention paid to women. But women's roles are also usually terribly underrepresented in this type of history. The fact that this book focuses on eight women seems significant.

Charlie Anderson said...

This isn't my typical read, but I'd probably keep reading.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I don't read much historical fiction, but powerful women make great characters, IMO. So I do want to know more!

Here's mine: “THE CHILDREN”

Paulita said...

All those titles might put me off, but I hope it's a great read. Here's Mine

Heather Fineisen said...

This sounds like a great book. I would definitely keep reading. I love reading about strong women throughout history!

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Cleo!

I really should read more history, because it can be as fascinating as fiction! Sometimes even more so. And reading about women's lives in definitely interesting!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Diane!

Yes, it DOES sound fascinating, doesn't it? I will definitely keep reading! I know I'm going to enjoy this book!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! :)

May 11, 2016 at 12:57 AM Delete

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Emma!

Oh, let me tell you, the Renaissance period is indeed fascinating! And I, too, LOVE nonfiction (and fiction) books about strong women!

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Brian!

I've always loved the Renaissance period, which was one of the major periods in Western art. My favorite artist of all time, Michelangelo, lived during this time. There were also Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli....the list goes on and on! Then there was all that political intrigue, with the Medici family playing a major role. Totally fascinating!!

It's unfortunate that women have not been highlighted that much in the history books, especially during this time, as you have so rightly pointed out. Thankfully, as you have also pointed out, women's roles in history ARE being recognized much more often nowadays. This is really great!

Yes, the fact that EIGHT women are featured in this book does indeed seem highly significant! That's why I should make every effort to read this book as soon as I can!

Thanks for the great comment!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Charlie!

Well, this book might not be for everybody. But anyone interested in history, and especially powerful women in history, would really like it!

Thanks for commenting!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Laurel!

Oh, I forgot to label the book as "nonfiction", but you're right anyway! Powerful women are just as fascinating in fiction! I KNOW you'd really enjoy this book!!

Thanks for commenting!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Paulita!

If you look beyond the titles, I'm sure you'd really enjoy this book!

Thanks for commenting!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Heather!

Yes, this does sound like a great book! I, too, love reading about strong women in history! We just don't have enough of such books!

Thanks for the nice comment!! :)