‘Borgia Fever’ – Passion and Poison
If like me you were a fan of the Showtime series ‘The Borgias’ or more specifically of Francois Arnaud (Cesare Borgia) and his super tight black breeches, then you’ll understand why I chose Borgia Rome as the setting for my second slice of historical erotic romance for the Harlequin ‘Undone’ series.
Two main themes stood out for me while researching the period; passion and the art of poison. The Italians have often been perceived as a passionate lot, and the lustful, vengeful and decadent Borgia family probably contributed more than their fair share to this stereotype (although they were in fact Spanish by blood).
Nothing rouses some life-affirming erotic desire than a close brush with death, with may explain why lust was so readily in the air in Renaissance Rome, as when the key players of the age weren’t trying to get each other into bed, they were trying to kill one another off. In Borgia circles, poison was often the weapon of choice.
The high and holy of Rome were far from immune, with regular allegations of poisoning being aimed at each other by Cardinals and even Popes, in particular the notorious Pope Alexander, otherwise known as Rodrigo Borgia. His daughter, the infamous Lucrezia, reportedly had a special ‘poison ring’ made for her, with a small secret compartment in which she could keep a few drops of the mysterious Borgia poison, cantarella, should she need to murder someone at short notice. Pope Alexander and his children, Lucrezia and Cesare, were a legend in their own lifetime, and a dinner party invitation from the family was enough to fill their contemporaries with horror…..
You can read the rest of this post plus an exclusive extract from ‘Borgia Fever’ at erotic romance author Lucy Felthouse’s blog www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk