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Daughter of Venice

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  2,049 ratings  ·  155 reviews
In 1592, Donata is a noble girl living in a palazzo on the Grand Canal. Girls of her class receive no education and rarely leave the palazzo. In a noble family, only one daughter and one son will be allowed to marry; Donata, like all younger daughters, will be sent to a convent. Donata longs to be tutored like her brothers and to see the Venice she has glimpsed only on the ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 9th 2003 by Laurel Leaf (first published January 1st 2001)
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Teen Historical Fiction
58th out of 846 books — 2,170 voters
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Community Reviews

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I really wanted to like this book more than I did, and wish that I could give a 2.5 star rating instead of 3. The book was hard to get through for a few reasons. The first being that the protagonist, Donata, seemed to waver between a bratty child a and a witty teen. Her character is 14 years old, but her voice often appeared as that of an 11 year old. While the random facts/lessons on Venetian history were interesting, not all of the facts were pertinent(thought interesting) to the telling of Do ...more
Oct 18, 2008 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone who enjoys action and conflict
Usually, I do not enjoy Historical Fiction novels, but Daughter of Venice was an exception. The author, Donna Jo Napoli, did a tremendous job explaining the setting and characters, making the plot and characters come to life. I found myself predicting throughout the entire book, there was a lot of action and twists.
The story was about a fourteen year old girl, Donata, who lives during the 1590s in Venice. She is a noble daughter, and in noble families only one daughter and son may marry. Althoug
This is... okay. Enjoyable, but, and I hate to say it, pretty predictable. When I was a kid, Donna Jo Napoli always had these really clever twists that threw me. I can't tell if I grew up or if this was just an off book, but I could tell where this was going the whole time.

I do want to give her props for not resolving the romance the way she could, and in fact backgrounding it as much as she could. Still, overall, the resolution felt-- convienent, and obvious, and the whole story felt ever so s
At first, this book did not seem as enticing as the ever dramatic Red Necklace. (I got them together at the library, recommended by my sis.) But after reading deep into it, I realized it was as intense and sad as Red Necklace was.
It's a story of a young noble girl named Donata living in Venice a long time ago. It's a custom that only the oldest daughter of the family gets the privilege to marry, but Laura (Donata's twin) and Donata's only dream is to marry just like Andriana (the oldest).
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annabelle Amber
I wish I could write a proper review someday, with character analysis and everything, but you'll just have to settle with this.
Donata was a REAL PERSON (not REAL real, but PERSONALITY real. This is really important if you want your readers to not burn your book.)
She had fire.
She had guts.
She was a girl pretending to be a boy pretending to be a girl pretending to be a boy.
She was awesome.

Her awesomeness radiated from the pages as I read, and I wanted to be in 1592 Ve
Tara Chevrestt
This was an average YA historical novel. I don't really have much to say about it because I wasn't "wowed" by it nor did I dislike it. It follows Donata in 1592 Venice. She is one of many daughters in a noble family in a time when dowries were of great import. Basically all the dowry money is going towards marrying off her older sister so Donata and her female siblings are looking at life in a convent stuck inside looking out all the time.

Donata dons the attire of a fisher boy and runs the stre
This was such BAD book maybe the author should stop writing!I didn't like that the main character, who was 14, acted like an 10 year old. I am sorry, but she was sooooo annoying. She was crying she couldn't get married, but when she finally can marry someone she doesn't want to. Second all this history made me feel like i am in school......not that i hate school as much as this book. Some pages it was just history. Third the author got her facts all mixed up. She said that Albrecht Durer was Dut ...more
I really liked the writing but it was too off for me. I'm a 14 year old but i feel like the charater really is 11 and immature. Also i couldn't finish it because it made me rediculously mad that women had such a restricted range of rights. I don't know....I'm not a feminist or anything but it eas all i could think about as i was reading and i didn't keep my attention. So, I didn't like it, especially the end (Isipped ahead and read only little parts here and there) because i felt like it was too ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Pavit rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists, third world citizens, women still fighting for their well-deserved freedom
I didn't expect to love this book the way I did.
Coming from a Third World country, I understand the helplessness that overwhelms the main character, Donata, because of the constraints society put on her for having the terrible misfortune of being born with breasts and a vagina. I get how trapped and frustrated you can feel when opportunities that your brothers take for granted are denied to you, when you don't know the nooks and corners of your beloved city, when you see men all around you talk
Overall, I thought the Daughter of Venice was an ok book! it wasn't the best but not the worst.The main character Donata, receives no education, can never be out of her parents eye sight, and is the oldest daughter of a noble family in Venice, Italy. She has 4 sisters and 7 brothers. She has very strict parents and they have high expectations from her. Donata's sisters convince her to leave the palazzo by dressing up as a poor boy so she can explore.

There are some parts I though the author co
Quick, well-researched semi-historical fiction for young readers. The general characterization was pretty good, and it loved the strong sense of family throughout the book. Even when the main character is being, by modern standards, oppressed and marginalized, her family (even her brothers, who do not really understand her delimma) shows her love and support in their own quiet little ways. I only downgrade this book because first, it felt like a chunk of time- a whole month! A very significant m ...more
Jaycee Dillingham
I REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK! I only rated it 4 stars because Donata never got to marry the person that she loved.
I happened upon this book on night when I was terribly bored. I had nothing to read so searching the downstairs bookshelf I picked up this book. I Had picked it up many times before but never started to read it. So I decided to give it a chance. I loved it.
The world of Venice as seen by a secluded daughter of a nobleman was quite convincing. The strength of description is this book's best point. However, I struggled to connect with Donata because her emotions felt a bit flat. There were times when I thought about quitting because I did not feel drawn to Donata. She was a very strong, determined character, but lacked the ability to convince me that she had a deep emotional life. Yes, she had emotions. But the sense of struggle could have been deepe ...more
Donata Mocenigo is daughter to one of Venice’s rich nobles. She and her many sisters must lead quiet and respectful lives. They sew, go to parties at fellow noblemen’s houses and go to church. Donata has never been outside the house apart from in a gondola, she has never walked the streets as a true citizen of Venice. The only times Donata and her sisters have even heard of the outside world is when their older brother relates the wonderful things he has seen - the boys of the family may roam th ...more
The culture of 1592 Venice restricts noble girls’ lives to palazzos, and limits their education to music, handwork, and child care. Marriage offers little prospect of escape, since to preserve wealth, usually only the eldest noble children marry; surplus girls go into convents. Fourteen-year-old Donata resents these limitations, and determines that before the convent, she will at least learn something of her own city. Dressing as a boy, she takes her first steps into an unknown world, and change ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It was very effective in bringing the culture and society of Venice at the time to vivid life, and had a nicely developed plot to add to the story.

The historical details and the way facts were dealt with were, for me, one of the great highlights of the book. Social settings, facts, etc. are integrated quite nicely into the story – there are no clear contextualising paragraphs and then story paragraphs followed by more contextualising paragraphs. It all fits in quite w
Michael Kemp
Daughter of Venice is an interesting story about a pampered Renaissance noble, Donata, in Venice. She is not content with a lot of the norms that there are in her society (such as only one daughter and one son can marry). She always hears of life from other people, but she never experiences it herself. She decides to disguise herself as a poor boy, and she finds herself in the Jewish ghetto and makes a friend who gives her a job as a scribe, even though she doesn't know how to read.
She ends up l
This YA novel was interesting because the Venice of the late 1500s is unknown to me. Seems to be a theme of mine this summer to read books about girls in eras of suppression and what they do to break free or co-exist (but as usual any real change has to come when the males of the family agree—be it from persuasion by the female or his astounding ‘liberal’ viewpoints).

Enjoyed the girl’s relationship with her siblings—reminded me of mine growing up. Although we teased and perhaps tormented each o
Donata is the 16-year-old daughter of a Venetian noble. She has 7 brothers and 4 sisters. Her oldest sister, Andriana, will be the one to marry. One sister will be the one who stays home to care for the eventual nieces and nephews. The rest of the girls? They will all go to convents.

Donata does not want to go to a convent. The idea of being shut up for the rest of her life makes her crazy. But then, a miracle! A suitable husband is found for Donata as well! But wait, Donata does not want to marr
(This review also appears on

This is the captivating tale of bold, brash noblewoman Donata, a teenager desperate to obtain some degree of freedom in 15th Century Venice before she is ultimately shipped away to join a convent by her strictly traditional family.

Eager to learn and explore her home city of which she can only imagine through maps, paintings and stories told by her uncles and elder brothers, Donata knows that her future and that of her younger sisters also, is entirely pl
This book, Daughter of Venice, is about a 14 year old girl, Donata, who lives in Venice, Italy in the 16th century who does not think like most girls of her time. She wants an education, she wants to go outside her palazzo and have fun and adventures. But girls of noble families in Venice at this time did not go outside their homes without at least their mother with them, they were not educated, they were not encouraged to be curious or to do much of anything other than marry and have children. ...more
Donata and her sister, Laura, are the 2nd and 3rd daughters born to a wealthy Venetian family during the Renaissance. Custom decrees that only the 1st and possibly 2nd daughters in a family may marry. All others are sent off to convents when they come of age. Donata doesn't particularly want to marry anyone, but she definitely doesn't want to be stuck in a convent, where she will never learn about the world. She especially wants to learn to read and write and understand her dear city, just like ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was given this book years ago as a gift but it became buried while moving houses. It resurfaced this month and I decided to finally read it.

It was readable and I enjoyed being whisked away to 16th century Venice (a city I loved when I visited!), but the story wasn't particularly gripping. I'm glad I read it and think I would have really enjoyed it when I was as a young teen, but while it was a good enough read for a lazy, sunny Sunday, I now wouldn't rate it higher than a mediocre three stars
The setting for this story is Venice in the late 1500's. Donata is a daughter in a nobleman's house. She has 11 siblings. In the society of Venice at this time only one son and one daughter will marry. Donata is destined for a convent. She is a girl blessed with a seeking and curious mind. She has been sheltered in her palazzo all of her life and knows only what she has glimpsed on a map or what her older brothers have told her about the storied city in which she lives. She devises a plan to per ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book since it was a complete breeze to get through. There was a definite plan to the book which was executed very well, painting a fairly vivid picture of how difierently women and men, poor and rich were treated, seen through the eyes of a curious 14 year old girl. All the little hiatorical titbits were a lovely adddition. A pleasant afternoon worth of reading.
I'm sorry; I really don't know what to say. It was interesting, but not quite plausible in too many places, and as other reviewers have said, Donata talks to us as if she's sophisticated and wise and mature, but acts like a child. One thing the other reviewers don't seem to have paid much attention to is her r'ship with her different siblings, and their various reactions to their parents' expectations for them, and their affection for each other. All that was a wonderful part of the book.

Oh, and
I don't like bad-mouthing books but seriously this was the worst book I have ever read. The book seemed so long when actually it was not. I am usually very lenient when giving stars to books and I rarely write a review but I felt other people should be warned about what an awful and boring book this is.
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From her website:

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction.

Donna Jo has five children. She dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist. She loves to garden and bake bread.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to
More about Donna Jo Napoli...
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