The Daughter of Siena: Book summary and reviews of The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato

The Daughter of Siena

A Novel

by Marina Fiorato

The Daughter of Siena
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  • Published in USA  May 2011
    400 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

Marina Fiorato, international bestselling author of The Glassblower of Murano and The Botticelli Secret, is back with her latest novel that once again will keep readers on the edge of their seats!

It's 1729, and the Palio, a white-knuckle horse race, is soon to be held in the heart of the peerless Tuscan city of Siena. But the beauty and pageantry masks the deadly rivalry that exists among the city's districts. Each ward, represented by an animal symbol, puts forth a rider to claim the winner's banner, but the contest turns citizens into tribes and men into beasts - and beautiful, headstrong, young Pia Tolomei is in love with a rider of an opposing ward, an outsider who threatens the shaky balance of intrigue and influence that rules the land.

Published simultaneously in hardcover and paperback.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Praise for The Botticelli Secret and The Glassblower of Murano:

"[Fiorato] brings the beauty and danger of 17th-century Venice vividly to life… Those who enjoy intrigue and European history will be easily drawn into this romantic story." - Publishers Weekly on The Glassblower of Murano

"Fiorato crafts a historical novel in the style of Girl with a Pearl Earring blended with painting as code à la The Da Vinci Code." - Library Journal on The Botticelli Secret

"An intriguing mix of history, mystery, art, music, poetry, romance, and politics… Writing with charm and authenticity, Fiorato produces a blend of historical mystery and modern romance that is thoroughly entertaining." - Booklist on The Glassblower of Murano

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Reader Reviews

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Rita H. (Centennial, CO)

The Daughter of Siena
This book will stand among my favorites. All of the characters are so well depicted and gripping, even the minor ones. I was quickly drawn into the drama and intrigue of the Palio horse races and the power struggle of medieval Siena. This is a book that I could not put down and has made me eager to read Fiorato's other books.

Margaret H. (Springfield, VA)

Daughter of Siena
With flowery prose the author introduces the reader to the life and people of Siena in 1723, a year of change. Pia, a lovely girl of the city, is betrothed to a son of one of the leading families and although her husband to be in the first of the yearly Palio horse races, she is forced to marry the younger brother. The story then turns to the mystery and intrique of the city as Violente, the Governess of Siena, a horseman, Riccardo, Zebra, and Pia work together to save the city from being taken over by some of the family groups. The author cleverly introduces real characters including some of the last Medicis, events of the time, information on training horses into her her story. Once the reader is hooked with the characters and the action this is a hard book to put down.

Lorraine R. (southampton, NY)

Italian horse races and ancient mysteries
Marina Fiorato successfully combines the mysteries of ancient tales with horse races in Palio, Italy, A forbidden romance and a believed dead noble son is thrown in for the historical romance lovers. The history of the town with its rival families and their extraordinary animal logos was fascinating. The battle between good and evil is fought out in the town square with the traditional horse race and its intrigues. The story moved well and the historical references to 16th century politics kept my interest. It was a fun read.

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.

John W. (Clayton, Missouri)

Life & Love in 18th Century Siena
If you like historical fiction, traveled to Tuscany and found yourself wondering what life in Siena or the other walled towns was like during the 18th century then you’ll love this novel. The plot centers around the famous horserace in Siena, the Palio. It is a great love story in which the beautiful Pia falls in love for an unknown rider in the race although her father has made arrangements for her to marry another person that would benefit the family. A shocking event puts a quick end to the normal race festivities and the course of Pia's future. The remainder of the story is one of political intrigue and disappointed loves.

If you were hoping for upbeat and light writing of a romance novel then you’ll be disappointed – there are quite a few instances of the darker side of life. The author’s writing style might cause some readers concern – she switches back and forth between character’s perspectives.

I found just what I was looking for in this book – a glimpse of the good and bad of society in Siena during the 18th century. Once I started reading I was unable to put it down and read it through the night! Definitely a fan!

Debra P. (Belmont, NC)

Love this book
I love historical fiction and this book has it all. There is romance, intrigue, historical accuracy...I really love it when I learn something about an era or culture at the same time I'm enjoying a good story..In particular, this author does a great job setting the scene with each chapter intro. I look forward to introducing this in our book group.

...37 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Marina Fiorato Author Biography

Photo: Ian Pickard

Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian and a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare's plays as an historical source. After University she studied art and has since worked as an illustrator, actress, and film reviewer. She also designed tour visuals for rock bands including U2 and the Rolling Stones. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice and lives in London with her husband, son, and daughter. She is the author of The Glassblower of Murano (2008), The Madonna of the Almonds (2009), The Botticelli Secret (2010), The Daughter of Siena (2011), The Venetian Contract (2012), Beatrice and Benedick (2014), and The Venetian Bargain (2014).

Link to Marina Fiorato's Website

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