AUTHOR: Marina Florato
GENRE: Historic Fiction, Mystery and Romance
SETTING(S) : Summer 1723; Tuscany, Siena, Italy, Europe
SUBJECT: Italian history, Royalty, Marriage, Horse racing, Romances and Mystery
MAIN CHARACTERS: Violante de Medici, Pia Tolmei and Riccardo Bruni
SUMMARY: The year is 1723, and the annual tradition of the Palio di Siena is underway in the Tuscan province of Siena. This horse race determines which Contrade has bragging rights for the remainder of the year, but it also determines the fate of two women: Pia, the fiance of a cruel and brutal man competing in the race, and Violante, the ruling governess of Siena and daughter of the Medici dynasty. This may be Pia’s last chance to rid herself of her evil husband-to-be, and Violante’s last chance to unearth a conspiracy against her. Fiorato is also the author of The Madonna of the Almondsand The Botticelli Secret.
via: Good Reads
After loaning this from the local library I was not sure what to expect. I had this book for a month before I decided to read it. I’m glad to say that this was a book I could not wait to figure out the mystery and outcome of Pia’s evil marriage. Depending out what website you use it is categorized as a romance and or mystery. It read more as a romance even with some mystery elements written into the plot. It wasn’t like the typical mysteries where you have the mystery defined right at the beginning and then it is solved in the end.
The plot was basically Pia being sold into a marriage without love and finding love where she isn’t expected to find it. Pia is a strong female character to where she tries to keep her honor and tries the best of her abilities to not upset her jealous husband. No matter what Pia does her beauty is the element that seems to upset her husband the most and it is the only thing about herself that she has no control of. Unknowingly she finds herself mixed inside a trap that her father-in-law creates and is endangered of her life ending the way the first Pia ended hers.
When you mix good characters with a very interesting plot you get a very good book. It is a book I recommend to fans of historical fiction to read because it gears towards the historical fiction aspect and not a whole lot of the romance. The romance in this book is PG, but be aware that there is some homosexual topics, plot and characters in this book. It opens up the topic of homosexuality in the 18th Century and the hidden would of the upper royal class. The marriages described in this book do not end up in happy ever after but it does have a happy ending. And could easily be a great book to use in a book discussion or book club.