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The Daughter of Siena

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,586 Ratings  ·  257 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
Paperback, 387 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2011)
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Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: harriet-loved-it
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
Da mi je ovo bila njezina prva pročitana knjiga, nisam sigurna da bih čitala dalje. Drago mi je da to nije bio slučaj. Priča je u redu... i ništa više..
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
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2011
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
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Cassie Ascer
Одлична и занимљива идеја, која је лоше спроведена.

Вероватно овај роман спада у просечне љубавне романе са историјском позадином, који можда заслужује и три звездице, али мој укупан доживљај је ипак нешто лошији.

У недостатку дијалога, очекивала сам да нарација буде бар на неком вишем нивоу, али то није био случај. Незанимљив начин и стил приповедања, одуговлачење, непотребни описи, гомилање непотребних речи и појашњења у реченици. Споро одвијање радње, иако је роман имао предиспозиције да бу
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
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
ضحى الحداد
ummm, well, I really don't know what to say about this book .. in a way it was full of action and adventure and in another way it was so dull and .. slow ? I don't know, the main thing that really pissed me off about this book was the language, it was so annoying and I was bored from the first chapter, yet the love story and the horse riding was fun .. I'm still confused about how to rate this book but I think three stars will do it justice
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Samantha Cheh
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2011 rated it liked it
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
The Daughter of Siena has many of the elements The Botticelli Secret, by the same author, had: a secret conspiracy, literary enigmas and a couple (a trio in this one) who tries to discover the plot without getting killed. Apart from these, however, the stories turn out to be quite different; and sadly, I think The Daughter of Siena is way weaker compared to The Botticelli Secret, even if still a pleasant read.

The best aspect of the novel is its gorgeous setting. The story is set in the city of S
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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....
Violet Yates
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Kate Forsyth
Filled with romance and suspense, this lush historical novel set in 18th century Siena is a fabulous read, with a perfect blend of action, mystery and love. The primary character if the 19 year old Pia Tolomei, who is married against her will to a cruel and vengeful man who is involved in a plot to overthrow the Duchess of Siena, Violante de’ Medici. Pia, however, is in love with a handsome but poor horseman, Riccardo, who sets out to tame a battle-maddened stallion to ride in the Palio, Siena’s ...more
Marija Andreeva
I wanted to give it 2 stars, but I decided to be generous.
Because, when I finished the book, my first thought was: it was OK. Which is the description of the two star rating. But, I decided to give it 3, because the style of writing is nice, you can feel that the writer put a lot of effort into the book, with a lot of details and explanations and I gained some interesting historic information as well. I love history, especially Italian history and the Medici family have always intrigued me. And
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 Bridges
Apr 20, 2013 rated it liked it

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.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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.
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it
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......
Blodeuedd Finland
May 15, 2012 marked it as dnf
At 120 pages I just Let it Go.

I read in a 1 star review that it was supposed to be about the city. Who cares about the city! I want to read about people and care. If you can make the city thing work, then good. But here I was bored.
Katherine Velan
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
story line could have been great if it was written better otherwise a slog for the first pages
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don't understand it, but I just couldn't connect with the story. Pia is a young woman who always knew she'd be given away in marriage, and is given to quite a brute. I think maybe part of the problem is everything seems a bit overdone. Almost every character is absolutely horrible, and for no reason I can truly discern. Greed? Yes, but a lot of people are greedy and don't go around killing people and ruining young people's lives. There just doesn't seem to be much dimension to their character. ...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 about Marina Fiorato
“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.” 6 likes
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