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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.
Debbie-Lyn C. (Kitty Hawk, N.C.)
The Daughter of Siena
I enjoy reading books that link historical information along with a good story line. After personally visiting Siena, Italy I particularly appreciate the facts Marina Fiorato incorporates into her romantic story of Pia and Riccardo. It is wonderful to look back and remember that beautiful Italian city with a better educational concept of the Piazza del Campo, the Palio, and the 17 Contrade.
Shirley F. (Franksville, WI)
Sense of Siena
I love historical fiction and this book did not disappoint. It took a while to get into the sense of the book but the characters were engaging and the author made the rivalries of the Palio seem real. I liked the story although I must say the romance was a little predictable. This is a great summer read and an entertaining look back into the 1700s in Italy. It made me want to go back to Siena to really investigate the contradi and the meaning of the Palio.
DEJ (Riverside, CA)
Good Summer Read
Replete with vivid descriptions of the beautiful city of Siena, well-researched details of horse racing in the Palio (an event that continues to this day), and tidbits from the captivating intrigue of the Medici family, Daughter of Sienna has the potential to be a fascinating treat of historical fiction. Against this richly textured backdrop, however, the characters Marino Fiorato has created seem oddly one dimensional. Pia is the typically good, beautiful, and slightly rebellious historical heroine. Riccardo as her love interest and potential hero of the tale is served up as a literary metaphor for the figures of Romulus and Remus, sons of Rome and victims of familial intrigue that is echoed predictably in Fiorato's tale. Zebra is a classically Dickensian street urchin. Villains are not characterized beyond their distinctive peccadilloes. By far the most interesting character is Violente whose personal story is a welcome counterpoint to the less-well developed plots lines with which her story connects. Overall a reasonably satisfying read for a lazy summer afternoon, but not as stimulating or engaging as one might hope.
Mary B. (St Paul, MN)
Daughter of Siena
With the historical background and details of life in Siena in the 1700's, I enjoyed this book very much. Story line of event that still takes place makes it even more interesting. Plot involves several characters with parallel story lines that make you want to keep reading to find out what is going to happen. I look forward to reading more books by Marina Fiorato.
Diana C. (Phoenixville, PA)
The Daughter of Siena
The Daughter of Siena is a surprizing read once the reader is fully invested into the story. If you keep to the 100 page rule and stay with it while the author builds the initial setting, the story becomes intriguing. This book should be of particular interest to those who have traveled in Italy and visited Siena as it is centered around the famous horse races of the area. The setting also brings to mind the time and place of the Pillars of the Earth. Daughter of Siena might be a positive choice for a younger book club. Overall - a good read.
Carmen S. (Elkins, Arkansas)
A Wonderful Surprise
Although I don't normally read historical fiction, I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely recommend it. Wonderful story, with great characters. Rich in history without being boring.
Lora O. (Antioch, CA)
I wasn't expecting a fairy tale romance
I expected a story that used Dante's Purgatorio, Le Morte d'Arthur, the story of Romulus and Remus and the excesses of the Medici family, as source material, and set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, would be literate, captivating and intriguing. The author's vivid and beautifully drawn descriptions of Siena, the buildings and the countryside, and even the horses racing in the Palio did transport me momentarily to Siena of the past.
However, I thought the characters were one dimensional and unrealistic - Pia was incredibly beautiful, intelligent and good, Riccardo was incredibly handsome, skilled and good, the conspirators and men of the Eagle contrada were so unabashedly evil that they didn't begin to resemble real people. Even though the future of Siena was at stake, these characters seemed consumed by their romance and personal problems. And at the end of the book, matters resolved themselves in circumstances so bizarre, contrived and unbelievable that I could only laugh out loud at the silliness.
I thought this book might be more suitably recommended to young adults who are looking for romance novels.