The Serpent and the Pearl was an impulse buy since I loved the cover. Thankfully it was a worthy impulse.
Right away Kate Quinn caught my attention by introducing a spirited cook Carmelina, who turned out to be my favorite character. Full of spunk and determined to make it on her own Carmelina traveled across the country to find her cousin who will hopefully take her under his protection.
Leonello, a dwarf who likes to cheat at cards to make a living, is a unique character and I grew fond of his sharp tongue and wit at figuring ways out of tough situations. Avenging the death of one of his few friends Leonello ends up in the dungeons of the Borgia family unsure of his fate.
Vivacious Giulia Farnese was probably my least favorite character, in ways I found it a bit hard to relate to her.Famous for her beauty and charming manner to match all Giulia can think about is her marriage to a handsome man only a year older then her. Upon her marriage she is horrified to learn it is all a front and she is to become mistress to a powerful Cardinal who is in his sixties. Ill at the thought she denies him and begs her husband to fight for her. His answer is to flee to a countryside estate leaving her to the cardinal's woes.
The writing was elegant and just flowed off the pages. I loved every word and all the details. It never felt like too much information was given and I had a clear picture of what was going on at all times. My only complaint was the end. The ending was not as smooth as I liked, while I understand this is a series the book just sort of stopped. Did not taper off into a smoother ending while still leaving a cliffhanger. I did read a sample of The Lion and the Rose and I must admit I was extremely confused as to what was going on. It seemed like a major time skip occurred which is odd since The Serpent and the Pearl ended on such a cliffhanger. I do hope to read The Lion and the Rose soon.