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The Shepherdess of Siena: A Novel of…
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The Shepherdess of Siena: A Novel of Renaissance Tuscany

by Linda Lafferty

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This was another lovely novel set in Tuscany, one of my favourite parts of the world, this time set in the late 16th century, mostly in and around the lovely city of Siena, my favourite Tuscan city. It is based around a real historical figure, a young girl Virginia Tacci, who rode in the famous Siena palio horse race in 1581. Little is known about her apart from this appearance, and the novel imagines a life for her, including after the Palio when she disappears from history, having become a symbol for her home city of Siena, under the thumb of the Medicis ruling the city from their own base in Florence. The colourful and murderous politics and personalities of the Medicis is always fascinating to read, and the novel was full of interesting characters, and some lovely scenci descriptions. A lovely read. ( )
  john257hopper | Aug 12, 2017 |
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Raised by her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, young orphan Virginia Tacci has always harbored a deep love for horses--though she knows she may never have the chance to ride. As a shepherdess in sixteenth-century Italy, Virginia's possibilities are doubly limited by her peasant class and her gender. Yet while she tends her flock, Virginia is captivated by the daring equestrian feats of the high-spirited Isabella De' Medici, who rides with the strength and courage of any man, much to the horror of her brother, the tyrannical Gran Duca Francesco De' Medici. Inspired, the young shepherdess keeps one dream close to her heart: to race in Siena's Palio. Twenty-six years after Florence captured Siena, Virginia's defiance will rally the broken spirit of the Senese people and threaten the pernicious reign of the Gran Duca. Bringing alive the rich history of one of Tuscany's most famed cities, this lush, captivating saga draws an illuminating portrait of one girl with an unbreakable spirit.… (more)

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