Friday, May 13, 2011

The Daughter of Siena-Marina Fiorato

The Daughter of Siena
Marina Fiorato
St. Martin’s Griffin, May 10 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312609580

In 1723 Siena, Owlet Contrada leader Salvatore Tolomei informs his beautiful nineteen year old daughter Pia she will wed Vicenzo Caprimogo, son of the leader of the Eagle Contrada. Pia is mortified partly because she thought she would wed one of her own kind though few are eligible; and mostly because Vicenza and his father Faustino are vicious and abusive.

Pia pleads with her sire arguing a previous fiancée Benedetto did not fare well and besides an owl and an eagle do not mate. He refuses to budge on his decision. Stunned, Pia tries to understand why. She soon realizes her father and her betrothed’s father are part of "The Nine" contrada leaders conspiring to take over the city-state from the Governess Duchess Violante Beatrix de’Medici during the running of the second Palio of the summer.

The Daughter of Siena is a fast-paced historical thriller that brings to life the ward caste system that divided and ran the city, as well as the famous still running horse race. The story line is driven by the cast especially the two women who both know what is going on, feel they must act, and approach what they can do differently. Although some key premises are over the top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria, fans will enjoy this exciting early eighteenth century Italian tale as Marina Fiorato once again has escorted armchair readers to historical Italy (see The Glassblower’s Daughter).

Harriet Klausner

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