The Daughter of Siena
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The Daughter of Siena

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,478 ratings  ·  202 reviews
Amid the intrigue and danger of 18th-century Italy, a young woman becomes embroiled in romance and treachery with a rider in the Palio, the breathtaking horse race set in Siena....
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...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2011)
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Juliet by Anne FortierAngels & Demons by Dan BrownThe Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Italian Fiction
7th out of 99 books — 84 voters
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWittThe Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison AllenThe American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
Best Cover Art 2011 (Non-YA)
83rd out of 271 books — 1,531 voters

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3.5/5 stars

This is one of those too complicated to try to explain without giving the whole thing away kind of books, so I'm making this short and sweet. Pia Tolomei knows she must marry someone, but her father makes a most surprising and distasteful choice for her. Betrothed #1 takes a deadly fall during Siena's famous Palio horse race and she's then promptly wed to his younger and even more distasteful brother. Pia soon finds herself involved in plots and intrigue swirling around Siena's nine w...more
I won this on First Reads. My review is based on an advance copy.

Let me begin by saying I had somewhat low expectations for this book. I figured it would be just another historical fiction/chick lit. I'm glad I was wrong. Being very familiar with horses, I really enjoyed that the horse element played a large part in this book. I thought the storyline was interesting and there was a small surprise at the end. I finished it in a couple of days and I really enjoyed it. The ending, I'll admit was a...more
The palio and romance and renaissance Italy? Hotness x1000! This book made a slow and gradual trek into my heart and I totally fell in love with it.

At first, it took me a bit of time to get into the writing because I’m so used to the fast pace and easier to read prose of young adult books, because this author has quite the command over the English language. Meaning there are a lot of words and lengthy sentence constructions that you probably would rarely see in a young adult book. It’s very cont...more
Jenny Q
4.5 Stars. This was a great read! The story follows three residents of Siena: Pia, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy family who finds herself betrothed to a monster from a rival family for the sake of a political alliance; Riccardo, the poor son of a farrier who is chosen to ride for his contrada in the Palio; and the duchess Violante, widow of Ferdinand de Medici and governess of Siena. Though strangers when the story begins, their lives become entwined in a dangerous mission to save their ci...more
Following on the heels of the popular (though somewhat waning) Tudor novels of intrigue and romance comes Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato, an enchanting new novel of romance and intrigue in 18th century Italy. In the midst of this year's trend toward everything Borgia, it's interesting to see a release that appears to be feeding off the trend while working hard to be something completely new and different on its own. Even with all of my previous notions about this novel and its likely conten...more
I thought this book could have been much better if the writer had more talent. I originally thought that maybe this was a translation, but after checking the title pages, it was not. The author's writing style was that stilted, though. I know that it was originally published in Europe, so perhaps some of the sayings and things didn't relate well to my American brain. Either way, the book was extremely heavy in prose with very little dialogue, making it difficult to read. It took me a very long t...more
Samantha Cheh
This was absolutely lush. I've always had a thing for Renaissance Italy - I was welcomed into the world by the lovely Sarah Dunant and her book The Birth of Venus - wait, no, it was one of Dan Brown's books. But whatever. Suffice to say, Renaissance Italy would have been a wonderful place to visit. Never to live. I think any one of us 21st century girls would simply die if we had to live there. It's a cruel place to be a woman in, where we have no choice and I thought Fiorato did a lovely job pa...more
Violet Yates
In 1723, Pia of the Tolomei was to be given a husband on the night before the Palio, a famous horse race that is of great import to the city of Siena. Her betrothed, an evil man, loses his life in the race. An unknown horseman, Riccardo Bruni, tries to save him but fails. Pia is ridden with guilt because she had prayed for her betrothed’s death, and also relief, until she discovers she is still a pawn in the game of matrimony- she is to wed her dead husband’s brother, Nello, who is equally evil....more
Siena, take a bow.

In Marina Fiorato's "The Daughter of Siena," the principal characters turn out bit players, and the Tuscan city, a star.

Set in 17th century Italy, this is a tale of sanguinary political tribes, horseracing, love unrequited, and palace intrigue with a Sienese flavor.

The novel charts the slow-forming alliance of the low-born Riccardo Bruni, a maiden groomed for sale via marriage, Pia Tolomei, an ineffective duchess, and a street urchin, in their battle against some treasonous...more
La gemma di siena

La gemma di Siena mi è stato regalato dai tre uomini di casa, solo per questo avrei dovuto apprezzarlo ed amarlo, ammetto però che non è stato subito così. Scettica e molto perplessa, pensavo di trovarmi di fronte ad un romanzo «rosa», noioso e pesante.. Insomma non proprio adatto a me!
Nonostante tutto, dopo varie insistenze da parte dei miei bambini ho deciso di accontentarli quindi di leggerlo. Mai avrei pensato, che arrivata alla fine potessi dire che è stato una scoperta.......more
I loved reading this book that I won and received for free on Goodreads First Reads! This book was a wonderful, exciting read! From the first page, the reader is given clues and connections of the events and characters that will connect and follow through the entire story. The setting is the town of Siena, 1723. The characters, at first strangers, then intimately connected, come alive with depth and color throughout the novel. Pia, Riccardo, Violante, and Zebra become memorable characers that pu...more
Gail Murray
Marina Fiorato has written a oompelling novel bringing her characters to life against the backdrop of Renaissance Italy. The power struggle plays out in a 70 second horse race as Sienna's palio of 1723 holds the fate of our hero, Riccardo Bruni and the Medici duchy. We hear the thundering hooves and sense the danger as the dust catches in our throats and a rider falls to his death.

Pia and the reader have foreshadowing and hope as we catch our first glimpse of Riccardo - "a lone horseman walkin...more
Loved the period and learned so much about Siena and its governing culture. Having visited Siena on more than once, I had no idea about all the preparation that went behind the palios that take place twice a year and the different contradas. What an eye opening experience. The story line kept me going. While I've read many other novels of the period, this one seemed to have so much more specific detail about the period and the motivation behind the individuals' actions. Is it because of the writ...more
Starting out, this book felt a bit aggravating to me. The women were just treated so badly and I know, I know, that's the way it was, but it was still upsetting. Moving along though, the book gained momentum quickly and I found myself quite absorbed in the story and invested in the characters. I especially liked Violante, though Pia and Riccardo were very likeable too. The story revolves around a sort of conspiracy about Siena and its politics. This is built around the Palio, the twice yearly ho...more
Being an avid reader of historical fiction I was pleased to receive this book for review and was not disappointed. Though at first glance it may appear to be just another historical romance, Ms. Fiorato brings much more depth to the novel. The 18th century life in Siena is vividly recreated with careful attention to historical accuracy and detail. I so enjoy being educated in the history and culture of the time and this book enlightened me immensely. I had no prior knowledge of this time and pla...more
Alison Scicluna
What a book! I loved every second of it. This is what a can call the ideal book for me. It's brimming with mystery, intrigue, romance and to top it all, it is full of historical facts which made it all the more interesting, since I did not know that much on eighteenth century Siena. I really wish to visit someday. Fiorato's diction and description makes the novel looks like a movie. The book would definitely make a good movie, but that's just a thought. Halfway through the book, I ordered anothe...more
Книгата ми хареса , но беше една идея по-слаба от Тайната на Ботичели , която ми хареса заради наличието на някаква загадка и разгадаването и.Докато тук на преден план беше любовната драма и семейните отношения.Но беше приятна книга , а и аз съм фен на такива исторически романи.
I like it but I thought it took forever to read.. I don't know if it was the flashbacks or how it was written but it seem like it would stand still in some part. overall good book good always wins in the end......
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I could not stop reading the last 100 pages so I did not finish it till 1:30 am last night. I had tears running down my cheeks for both sad and happy reasons. It added to things I had learned from some other books I have read that dealt with historical events in and around Italy during that period of time. I would not mind reading something else written by this author.
Katherine Aiello

Most of the reviews about this book say it is set during the Italian Renaissance. Yes it is set it Italy but the era of the European Renaissance died well over a hundred years before Pia was born. This book is set in the 1700's. The 18th Century. Please, if you care about the history included in historical novels do a wiki search.
Katherine Velan
story line could have been great if it was written better otherwise a slog for the first pages
Set in the early 1700's in Siena, the centerpiece of this book is the famous horse race, the Palio. Pia, the daughter of one of the key families of the city is shocked when she finds out that she is to be married outside of her district. When she meets the young man, who is to race in the Palio, she wishes that he will die in the dangerous race. When a chain reaction occurs during the race, one rider, Ricardo, gives up his opportunity to ride out for the win to try to save the life of Pia's fian...more
I had to read everything I could get my hands on by this author. I loved The Botticelli Secret and The Glassblower of Murano, so I had to read this one as soon as it came in on interlibrary loan.

Pia is a teenage girl in Siena in 1723 and always does what her daddy wants. She is arranged to be married to a horrible man, and is thrilled when he is killed in the famous horserace of Siena. But then she has to marry his nasty younger brother the next day instead. Pia's life stinks until she sees/meet...more
In Siena, Italy in the 18th century, the Palio, which is a horse race is an important part of the culture. The race is not just a competition among the different Contrade (city wards) in the town, but a significant rivalry. Winning the race is a matter of pride and determines whose star is rising and falling in the community. What happens in this race alters the fate of Pia, who is engaged to be married to a competitor in the race. Her father has pledged her in marriage against her wishes to ano...more
Victor Gentile
Marina Fiorato in her new book, "The Daughter of Siena" published by St. Martin's Press takes us to 1723 in Siena, a city in Tuscany, Italy.

Pia Tolomei is of the Owlet Contrade (city wards) in Siena. She has just been told that she will marry into the Eagle Contrade to celebrate the winner, who is sure to be her future husband, of the Palio, a white-knuckle horse race held twice a year. Another rider causes the death of Pia's fiance so she goes to his brother the day after the funeral. And this...more

The newest novel by Marina Fiorato is set in 18th century Siena and tells the story of Pia, a young lady from the Civetta contrada (the Owlet district) who is forced into marriage with Vicenzo from the Aquila contrada (the Eagle district). When Vicenzo is killed in the Palio, her betrothal changes to her deceased fincancés younger brother Nello. Trapped in a loveless and abusive marriage, Pia falls in love with Riccardo, the rider who attempt to save Vince...more
As in Ms. Fiorato's other book, Glassblower of Murano, Italy's history is the real story. Daughter of Siena recounts the famous Palio, a horse race run twice a year in that city. In this particular running, the city itself is to be the prize and thus unfolds the depths to which some will go for power. The author did a marvelous job describing Siena's streets, towers, churches and the lifestyles of its inhabitants. Woven into the Palio intrigue is a love story between Riccardo and Pia who come fr...more
Summer Nettleman
So excited to read this! I loved The Glassblower of Murano by this author so when I saw this as a giveaway I got really excited. I was even more excited to find out this morning that a copy was coming my way.

This story style is a little hard to follow for me in the beginning but by about mid-way it starts to make more sense. The sections are set up in that there is an italicized portion of text that gives you a glimpse into the past lives of one of the characters. Fiorato did a great job of bui...more
A band of odd fellows team up to thwart businessmen from taking Sienna from it's Duchy on the Eve of the Palio. The story line was rather predictable. This made the conclusion less satisfying. I did like the author's writing style, though.

Two quotes stood out for me:
from page 197, As he said this, Precious Auntie came back into my mind. I was remembering how she taught me that everything, even ink, had a purpose and a meaning: good ink cannot be the quick kind, ready to pour out of a bottle. You...more
Silvia Liotta

Pia de’ Tolomei sin dalla tenera età di undici anni ha atteso il giorno in cui la sua famiglia l'avrebbe data in sposa a qualche uomo di nobili natali: un matrimonio per dovere e senza amore. E quel giorno è arrivato sin troppo presto il suo matrimonio con l'arrogante Vincenzo Caprimulgo, unico erede della famiglia più potente di Siena l'Aquila, è alla porte e neppure i festeggiamenti per il Palio riescono a distrarla. La sua vita però cambierà proprio dur...more
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Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian. She was born in Manchester and raised in the Yorkshire Dales.

She is 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 since worked as an illustrator, actress and film reviewer.

She also designed tour visuals for rock bands includ...more
More about Marina Fiorato...
The Glassblower of Murano The Botticelli Secret The Madonna of the Almonds The Venetian Contract Marina Fiorato Collection: The Botticelli Secret, The Madonna of the Almonds, The Glassblower of Murano & Daughter of Siena

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“His life was cheap to him. Perhaps that's why he rode faster than any other, perhaps that was why he had walked into the house of Aquila without the quickening of a heartbeat: because at the heart of his courage was the fact that he really did not care if he died. Such courage is not true courage. True courage is when a man quakes with fear in the face of death, yet still risks his life for something he cares about. Ricardo Bruni did not know this yet, but he was to learn it soon.” 5 likes
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