The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato
I wanted to love this book. I really and truly thought I would to. There was no reason not to, after all I adored The Botticelli Secret and really liked The Glassblower of Murano. This book, however, just didn’t hold the same allure for me.
Initially, I didn’t know why I wasn’t reading this book morning, noon and night. Then, suddenly, I realized the reason, hidden in plain sight. The Daughter of Siena is told in the third person, whereas Fiorato’s other novels are written in first person. Many of my book choices are stories told in first person. I adore strong narrators, I want to see the world through another person’s eyes while getting close to that person. The narrator is especially important to me when reading historical fiction, if I cannot relate to the character, I’m going to get really bored, really quickly!
The book is set in Siena and that dictates the majority of the events taking place. You get a mini culture lesson on Siena reading the story; that turned out to be one of my favorite aspects. The plot centers around the Palio and a scheme to regain control of Siena. There are so many different groups of people, however, that the exposition seems to extend until you are halfway through the book.
Thus, we are at my major problem with the story, I never got a handle on what was going on. Every time I thought I was caught up in the plot, something new occurred that made me scratch my head. Maybe I should have been more focused whilst reading, the subway doesn’t always make the best setting, yet I can’t help but think that even when I was focused, I was still left confused.
Ultimately, I would not recommend The Daughter of Siena if you have not yet read a book by Fiorato. If you are looking for a good introduction to her writing, which I am generally quite a fan of, I would highly suggest The Botticelli Secret, which is truly and exciting romp through Italy’s history, culture and geography. For me, the story ultimately falls short of the exciting history and powerful style of her other books.
What is your favorite narration style for a book? Do you generally like historical fiction?