Sandra S. (Sarasota, FL)
The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato is a good read
The story definitely held my interest and I thought the subject was unique. It did take me longer than usual to read, which is why I rated it a 4 rather than a 5. I can't state exactly what or why it slowed in areas, but for me it did. I enjoyed the characters and the setting very much.
Darlene C. (Woodstock, il)
A little of each, master of none
I was very excited to receive this book. Was hoping it would be of same quality as "The Other Boylen Girl". Although I was somewhat disappointed it was still a very good read. It seems the author could not decide if she was writing a historical novel or a romance novel. The result - a little of each. I found the first half of the book slow and plodding but it did get better in the second half.
One of the strengths of the book was the description of Siena itself and the history of the Palio (horse race). Having been fortunate to travel extensively in Italy it was great fun to read about the city and its history. Even if you've never been there, you will still enjoy learning about this amazing city.
I felt the plot development was a bit weak as was the character development, especially the male lead, Riccardo Bruni, who I found pretty one dimensional. The two female characters, Pia and Duchess Violante fared better.
Overall, I enjoyed this book enough that I will most likely read the author's other books about Italy. This is an easy read, a great summer beach book.
Carolyn A. (Sarasota, Florida)
The Families of Siena
The beautiful city of Siena in 1723 is the setting for this lush novel of beauty and violence between the nine contradas of the Sienese people of Italy.
The author creates a complex story of love and greed involving five main characters along with equine "characters," giving the reader a wonderful readable moment of time in historical Italy. A perfect book to read this summer!
Andrea L. (Cottonwood Heights, UT)
This beautiful tale of intrigue, betrayal and star-crossed lovers is well-written and thoroughly enjoyable. The author has woven a tale full of feeling and nuance that takes the reader to the dusty streets of Sienna in the 1700's where we see the heroine, Pia, used as a bargaining chip as the city leaders plot to depose the Medici ruler of their city. The strength of Pia's character is commendable as she endures horror and brutality in the home of her new father-in-law. Her insight and intelligence allows her to see the necessity of acting in the best interest of the city and her residents rather than fleeing with her newly discovered champion, Riccardo. Pia and Riccardo, along with Violante de Medici find strength in their honor and together uncover the plot, conspirators, and are able to recover the city. This novel is well written with amazing characters, a truly delightful historical adventure.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author through the Book Browse Early Reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 ... : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Beth W. (Blue Springs, MO)
A Historic Romance of Black and White Contrasts
Set in the steaming heat of a Tuscan summer, The Daughter of Siena uses the centuries' old tradition of the Palio di Siena, the famous horse race of this ancient Italian city, as backdrop to a tale of romance and intrigue, alliances and betrayals, hope and dread fear, while at the same time exploring an alternate history for the famed Casa di Medici.
Marina Fiorato only gradually reveals the personal histories of her protagonists, allowing the reader to accompany them during the most critical moments of their lives, in which they face life-altering choices that force them to grow beyond what life has prepared them for.
There is nothing subtle in Fiorato's prose; the book is fraught with glaring contrasts: black and white, good and evil, the blessed and the damned. We all know life is far more complicated; intentions and actions aren't so easily understood, and neither heroes nor villains behave consistently. At one point in the story, Fiorato seems to grasp this incalculable element in the human spirit in the character of Guiliano Dami, when he faces death with an honest assessment of his life's choices.
Overall, I would say that the story of Pia and Riccardo is a sweet romance, with some heavy moral admonitions, set against a very thinly painted backdrop. It is a piece of historical fiction with just a smattering of local culture, geography, and historical truth.
Peggy H. (North East, PA)
Looking for Romance?
As long as you aren't looking for deep thinking, complex, or esoteric...this book will fit the bill. It is everything a historic romance novel should be. Exotic well researched locale, evil villains, swooning heroes and heroines. A great quick read.
Anna R. (Oak Ridge, TN)
This book has it all: History, intrigue,romance and a bit of a surprise that I wasn't expecting. The author did a great job spinning a tale that keeps the reader interested to the last page. After finishing it I went to the Internet to look up some of the historical characters and the city of Siena.