You all know how am kinda obsessed about reading books set in different countries currently. Though I do not explicitly search for them I am paying attention to the locations these days.
I think it is partly due to the fact that I am re-learning the forgotten geography and partly because of the new series, Flyaway Friday, in my blog. So when I had the opportunity to review Waking Isabella, that is set in Italy I grabbed it with both hands. How did it turn out for me? Read on.
About the book
Book Name: Waking Isabella
Author: Melissa Muldoon
Characters: Leonora (Nora), Isabella, Gianluca Donati, Margherita,
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author and iRead Book Tours for the Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The story begins with the murder of Isabella de Medici, an Italian princess in the 16th Century. We then read about the protagonist Leonora (Nora), a young researcher (a glorified fact checker, as she calls) who is recovering from a failed marriage and focusing on her passion finally. Nora reconnects with an old friend which ignites to return to Italy;. She packs her bags to Italy to film a documentary on Isabella, the renaissance princess with whom she has a special bond.
She meets Luca, an antique businessman who tells her about a missing antique painting that belonged to his family of the princess Isabella and her mother. The story now deals with a young girl Margherita, Lucas grandmother, who smuggled antique paintings from the country during the World War II. How these three women are connected and does Nora find the missing painting form the rest of the story.
Waking Isabella is clearly an output of sheer hard work in terms of research and writing. One can understand how much effort has been put in by the author to bring about a sense of authenticity to the art and history world.
Waking Isabella may be tad difficult to get into, but if you want to cherish the language and to learn more about Italy and the art world it would be worth it. I liked how the author’s writing style changed between the historic and the contemporary worlds, ie, between the stories of Isabella and Margherita, and that of Nora.
I liked and felt invested in Margherita’s story and maybe even Isabella’s, but I never felt the same with Nora’s. There are a few Italian sentences sprinkled in between during thedialogues, though they were not as intruding as I would feel generally. In fact it is one of my pet peeve finding vernacular languages in between the English prose. You might have to watch out if you are the same.
Bottom – line
On the whole, Waking Isabella is a story of lost love, betrayal and some newfound love and friendships in the background of art and history. If you are interested in reading a story based on Italian history and art with a bit of mystery element, you should pick Waking Isabella.
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.
Prizes: Win a paperback copy of Waking Isabella. One winner will also receive a $10 Amazon gift card (3 winners total / open internationally to wherever Amazon delivers)
(Ends March 31, 2018)
Let us chat
Have you read a book set in Italy? Do you like books that are difficult to get in? How long you persist before you give a book up? Let us chat.