Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Book Review - Waking Isabella: Because Beauty Can't Sleep Forever by Melissa Muldoon + Giveaway

Photo Source - Amazon
Nora is an assistant research who feels like her life hit the wall. She is going through a divorce and feels like her life is missing something. After coming across a photo of a friend who was surrounded by two men in the vineyard, Nora realizes she is jealous of her friend and hopes that her life changes for the better. However, instead of sitting around and moping, Nora decides to create a documentary about the rebellious Medici princess, Isabella. While working on her documentary, Nora explores the history of two strong independent in the past and hopes that she can use them as a guiding source for her own life. Will Nora be able to have the life she always wanted? Will she be able to use Isabella as a source of empowerment?

The novel starts off with the murder of Isabella by her estrange husband and then switches to modern day with Nora. At first, I loved the concept of meshing the past with the present with a common thread uniting the two. However, when it started doing that for multiple characters and sometimes the novel would switch time without much of a warning and it became hard to keep track of.  While, I am not a dual language speaker, I do enjoy reading novels that have some dual lingo as it helps readers feel immersed in the culture. I would have found it helpful in the author included a dictionary of the Italian terms because I feel like I missed out part of the story when I couldn't understand all of the Italian bits and it was a bit overwhelming to constantly use Google Translate. If you are an Italophile, and/or enjoy art and history, this would be a treat to read.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Book Details:
Book Title:  Waking Isabella: Because beauty can't sleep forever by Melissa Muldoon Category:  Adult Fiction,  250  pages Genre: General Fiction Publisher:  Matta Press Release date:  December 2017 Format available for review: print & ebook (mobi, ePub, PDF)
Will send print books out: internationally
Tour dates: Feb 19 to March 23, 2018 Content Rating: PG-13 + M (The story begins with violent rape and murder scene, touches on themes of miscarriage, murder, Nazi violence during war, adultery)  

Book Description:
Waking Isabella is a story about uncovering hidden beauty that, over time, has been lost, erased, or suppressed. It also weaves together several love stories as well as a few mysteries. Nora, an assistant researcher, is a catalyst for resolving the puzzle of a painting that has been missing for decades. Set in Arezzo, a small Tuscan town, the plot unfolds against the backdrop of the city’s antique trade and the fanfare and pageantry of its medieval jousting festival. While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici—the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband—Nora begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past. Unraveling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness. It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces—all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.

Meet the Author:

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta—the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned.” Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano,” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Waking Isabella is Melissa’s second novel and follows Dreaming Sophia, published in 2016. In this new novel about Italy, the reader is taken on another art history adventure, inspired by Melissa’s experiences living and traveling in Italy, specifically Arezzo, as well as her familiarity with the language and art. For more information about Waking Isabella and links to Melissa’s blogs and social media sites, visit www.MelissaMuldoon.com.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency—a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Waking Isabella and Dreaming Sophia. She also curates the Dreaming Sophia blog and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy. Please visit the Pinterest page for pictures of Arezzo, the Giostra del Saracino, and all the places we go in Italy in both books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.

Connect with Melissa:Website ~ Twitter ~  Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Youtube 

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