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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.
Nancy A. (Woodstock, Georgia)
Satisfying Historical Romance for Summer Reading
The Daughter of Siena is a great summer read, which, I think, will appeal especially to women, teens and young adults. It includes forbidden romance, medieval pageantry, historical detail, political intrigue, literary references and a strong sense of place in a fascinating story of the agonies endured by two women in 1723 Italy. Ideally, reading this story during the hot weather, vacation and horse-racing season will transport the reader to the setting of Siena's running of the Palio in July and August, where it still takes place to this day.
Jerry P. (Santa Rosa, CA)
The Daughter of Sienna
I enjoy historical fiction especially if it is well-researched as this novel. Since I am interested in this period of history and was captivated by the plot, I finished the book in a few days. Ms Fiorato is a good writer and her lyrical description of Sienna and the surrounding countryside was very enticing. ( I'll definitely visit Sienna the next time I travel to Italy). The main issue I had with the book was the characters lacked any complexity (e.g., were either good or evil).
Eileen B. (East Moriches, NY)
A Good Historical Novel
Although I enjoyed the book, I found the switching between characters voice was distracting and there were times that I felt that the characters were not developed fully. The author’s description of the Palio, the town and the life during that time period was informative, interesting and well researched. There were twists and turns that made it interesting. If you like historical novels with some romance than you will enjoy this book.
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.
Jeanne W. (Columbia, MD)
Good Summer Reading
Thank goodness for coincidences! If not for them, this book would never have worked. Aside from the plot contrivances, this book was enjoyable and well written. My favorite characters were the Governess Violante and the city of Siena itself. The brutality of Pia's father and the Caprimulgo family seemed a little far-fetched or maybe was just not fleshed out enough to seem viable. Fiorato's writing makes me want to spend more time in Italy.
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.
Sandra S. (Sarasota, FL)
The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato is a good read
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.
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.