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Authors: Marina Fiorato

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Airs Above the Ground,
Mary Stewart
A wonderful adventure novel about the world of the peerless Lipizzaner stallions. Vanessa March travels to Austria as a chaperone for a young friend and is soon embroiled in a world of espionage that seems to somehow involve her absent husband. This novel benefits from the wonderful settings of Tyrolean villages and Gothic castles, a good dollop of romance, spies, missing jewels, a traveling circus, and, at the center of it all, a mythical horse who is not quite what he seems.
Summer’s Lease,
John Mortimer
No horses in this one but this is a great novel stuffed with the wit of John Mortimer. An English family take a villa near Siena for the summer holiday. While there they are forced to examine their own family relationships, thrown into sharp relief by the presence of mischievous patriarch Haverford Downs. They mix with their eccentric neighbors, battle with the intractable
Italian plumbing, and take a trip into Siena to watch the Palio. At the heart of this social comedy in this matchless setting is a mystery: who is their secretive landlord, and where on earth is he?
Riders,
Jilly Cooper
Light as air but shamelessly engaging, Jilly Cooper’s novel about the world of show jumping deals with the rivalry between orphaned Gypsy Jake Lovell and privileged sprig of nobility Rupert Campbell-Black.
The two men compete for precedence on the show-jumping circuit and for the love of the same woman. Underneath the froth is some razor-sharp social commentary about England in the ‘80s as well as incredibly detailed knowledge of the horse world.
The Raphael Affair,
Iain Pears
Art-theft officer Flavia di Stefano becomes embroiled in the mystery of a recovered painting that may or may not be a lost Raphael. In the process she becomes drawn to English art dealer Jonathan Argyll; but is he the real thing or a common thief? Including some fascinating insights into the art world,
The Raphael Affair
culminates in Siena itself, involving a nail-biting denouement on the tower of the Palazzo Pubblico.
Enquiry,
Dick Francis
It’s hard to single out one novel from the master of racehorse writing, but
Enquiry
is one of my favorites. Jockey Kelly Hughes is labeled a cheat by a Steward’s enquiry and the racing establishment seems to be trying to shut him out. It is up to him to take matters into his own hands and clear his name, revealing a seam of corruption that is deeper and more pervasive than he could ever have imagined. Francis’s novel gives great insight into the rules and regulations of the British racing scene.
Keep on Reading
Reading Group Questions
1.
Siena is a small city in which local loyalties matter most above all. How easy do you think it would have been to keep secrets? You may wish to discuss your own hometowns—and/or scandals within your communities—as well.
2.
Pia is valuable to her father only as a bargaining tool. How does she assert her own independence? In what ways is she a “woman ahead of her time?” What does that definition mean to you?
3.
Riccardo, the son of an ostler, behaves with instinctive grace. Discuss nobility in the context of the story. How is it personified?
4.
Do you think Riccardo was right to reject his inheritance? Why? And: what would
you
have done?
5.
Pia wears Cleopatra’s coin around her neck. What is the significance of this charm? What other important artifacts, symbols, or talismans can be found in the book—and what do they mean to the beholder?
6.
Discuss the role of the church in the story. How does it influence each of the characters in terms of belief and behavior?
7.
To what extent has Violante become reconciled to her husband’s homosexuality by the end of the book? How would this story play out in a modern setting?
8.
What changes Violante from a passive woman to a woman of bravery and determination? Again, take a moment to envision her in the world today. Would she be considered a feminist? Would
she
consider herself one?
9.
How have Gian Gastone’s expectations corrupted his character? Also, does this make him a more
interesting
character, in terms of your reading experience?
10.
There is an absence of mothers in the story but many fathers throughout. Do we, as readers, judge the fathers’ actions more or less harshly because of this gender imbalance? You may also wish to imagine the roles of some of the missing mothers in this novel. How might their offspring have turned out if they had been on the scene?
11.
How does the art and architecture of the city support Violante as a ruler? How is the city of Siena a character in and of itself?
12.
Discuss the equine “characters”—the donkey, Berio, Leocorno—in this novel. How does the author bring them to life for the reader? Moreover, how do they reflect the struggles of their human counterparts?
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
 
 
THE DAUGHTER OF SIENA. Copyright © 2011 by Marina Fiorato. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
 
 
First published in Great Britain by John Murray (Publishers), an Hachette UK Company
 
 
eISBN 9781429968720
First eBook Edition : April 2011
 
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Fiorato, Marina.
The daughter of Siena : a novel / Marina Fiorato.—1st ed.
p. cm.
ISBN 978-0-312-60432-5—ISBN 978-0-312-60958-0 (pbk.) 1. Palio di Siena (Festival)—Fiction. 2. Horse racing—Fiction. 3. Young women—Italy—Fiction. 4. Siena (Italy)—Fiction. 5. Italy—History—1559 – 1789—Fiction. I. Title.
PR6106.I67D38 2011
823’.92—dc22
2011003165
First U.S. Edition: May 2011
BOOK: The Daughter of Siena
11.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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