A readable biography about a truly fascinating woman.
Caterina Sforza was the illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan and Lucrezia Landriani. As was usual of illegitimate children of the time, Caterina grew up in her father's home, raised by her stepmother Bona of Savoy.
I could be here all day telling you all the amazing – and sometimes ruthless – things Caterina did. She was married three times and gave birth to nine children. In 1484, while seven months pregnant, Caterina occupied the fortress of Castel Sant'Angelo after Pope Sixtus IV (her husband's uncle) died. She did this in order to guarantee safety and security to her family.
I admire how Caterina often stuck to her guns, even with a couple of ungrateful children, and then having the Borgias breathing down her neck – it was around this time that she gained the nickname Il Tigre. And after a tumultuous life, including being imprisoned, Caterina was able to have some peace with her children and experimenting with her hobby of alchemy. However, it didn't last long. She contracted pneumonia and died at the age of 46.
This biography of the great Caterina Sforza was, as I said, very readable. It wasn't stuffy at all, and the pages just flew by. Anyone interested in the Italian Renaissance and fierce historical women shouldn't be disappointed.