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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.
Andrea L. (Cottonwood Heights, UT)
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!
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.
Beth W. (Blue Springs, MO)
A Historic Romance of Black and White Contrasts
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."
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.
Peggy H. (North East, PA)
Looking for Romance?
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.
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.
Virginia B. (Forest Park, IL)
A couple of good twists
I love historical fiction. I thought that the start of the book was a little flat and was waiting for something to "happen". And something did happen. It had a couple of twists that I did not anticipate. I would up enjoying the story.
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.
Joan V. (Miller Place, NY)
Daughter of Siena
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!
I wish I had enjoyed this book more. The beginning was very predictable with stock characters, i.e., the good people were SO “good” and the bad -the other extreme. Many parts of the book were overly melodramatic. It was not until almost half-way through the book that the mystery and intrigue hooked me. That was when the twists and surprises emerged. In my opinion, the Violante was the most fully fleshed out character and the most interesting.
The author did a very good job in describing the Palio, you could truly feel the tension in those scenes. Obviously she did a LOT of research into the history of Siena – which was wonderful to read – and also a lot of detail about horses and the way they were trained.
This would be a good, light, vacation read, but I don’t think particularly suited for a book club.