Monday, January 2, 2017

Cesare Borgia in a Nutshell


Rating: 2 Stars

The book serves its purpose, which is to provide basic facts about the subject matter. I have read several of the "In a Nutshell" books now, and intend to read more, but this one was not up to the standard that I have come to expect from the series. The writing itself was the issue at times, while there were incidents of repetition; it was simply not as professional as I expected.

The editing is what really sunk this book for me however, as there are numerous sentences that never should have made their way into a final manuscript.

"...With reports making their way back to Rome that since his death she seemed to have aged at least three times her age" (46%).

"...There is no evidence at all that he had gotten mad at all" (65%).

"Did he hide his ravaged face behind a mask? Probably not. Did he wear a mask? Yes, but it was more likely to keep himself disguised so he wouldn't be noticed, not to hide a blotched face away" (66%).

The first two are more examples of lack of editing, but the third is such a cluster of clunky, awkward sentences that it requires more than a quick dash of the editing pen. And to be fair, I'm pretty sure my attention would definitely be drawn to a dude in a mask if I thought that Cesare Borgia was lurking around nearby.

On a positive note, it is clear that the author has done a fair amount of research on her subject. The facts themselves are not the issue, and she appears to have a deep interest in Cesare and his family, and what I read here mostly coincides with what I have read elsewhere.

This book had the potential to be a valuable resource for quick information, and in that respect the book is passable. But the editing process should have been more thorough, as those sentences had no business in a final draft. Perhaps another round of editing would make this one a better read.  Until then, I can only recommend it with caution.


  1. Thank you for your review of my book. I have to agree with you that there is a LOT of work that needs to be done on my writing so your constructive criticism of my first book is very welcome indeed. There is a lot of polishing that could have been done and wasn't - it's certainly something that I have learned from and have taken on board for my next book.

    1. I am glad to be of help. I recognize the amount of research and effort that goes into any book, but especially these Nutshell books that require so much crammed into so few pages. Thank you for coming by.


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