Friday, February 26, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Walking Isabella


Book Details:

Book Title: Waking Isabella—because beauty can't sleep forever by Melissa Muldoon
Category Adult Fiction (18+), 271 pages
Genre Historical Fiction, General Fiction
Publisher Matta Press
Release date November 2018
Format available for review:  ebook (mobi for Kindle, epub), and audiobook (audible download
Tour dates:  Feb 1 to Feb 26, 2021
Content Rating: PG-13 + M. includes mature themes (suicide, adultery, sexual relations, murder)

 

 

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.

My Thoughts:

From the coast of California to the charm of Tuscany, Waking Isabella whisks readers into a web of intrigue, history and soul searching in a stunning setting. Nora is in a personal and professional crisis as her marriage ends and her career is at crossroads. So when an old friend pops up on social media, Nora takes a leap of faith and puts in motion a journey that ultimately connects her with a Medici princess. In a mix of old and new, past and present, Waking Isabella keeps a quick pace as it weaves together the history of the murder of a Isabella and the present day story of a modern woman searching for who she is and how she wants to spend her life. The story is layered with rich details about Renaissance Italy and gorgeous descriptions of the paintings, jewelry and traditions that capture the opulence of the time. While the contemporary scenes relay the pace, flavors and lifestyle of today's Italian villages. I enjoyed learning about this little-known piece of history and experiencing the dramatic story of Isabella through the eyes of a rebellious young woman. I also appreciated that the story was appropriately complex without easy answers to Nora's big questions. If you're lucky enough to find yourself in Tuscany in the near future, this is a great book to bring along. 

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible
B&N ~  Bookshop ~ BookBub
Autographed from Author
Add to Goodreads 

Meet the Author:

Melissa Muldoon is the author of four novels set in Italy: Dreaming Sophia, Waking Isabella, Eternally Artemisia, and The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola. All four books tell the stories of women and their journeys of self-discovery to find love, uncover hidden truths, and follow their destinies to shape a better future for themselves.

Melissa is also the author of the Studentessa Matta website, where she promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog written in Italian and English (studentessamatta.com). Studentessa Matta means the “crazy linguist” and has grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per l’Italiano and the Studentessa Matta, YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram feed. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Programs, which she co-leads with Italian schools in Italy to learn Italian in Italy.

Through her website, she also offers the opportunities to live and study in Italy through Homestay programs. 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. She is an artist, designer, and illustrated the cover art for all four of her books. Melissa is the managing director of Matta Press

Connect with the author:
  Website Facebook ~ Twitter ~Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads

Tour Schedule:

Feb 1 - The Pen and Muse Book Reviews - spotlight of all 3 books / giveaway
Feb 1 - Sefina Hawke's Books - spotlight of all 3 books
Feb 2 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 2 - Books for Books - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 3 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Isabella / giveaway
Feb 3 - Books for Books - review of Isabella
Feb 4 - I'm All About Books - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 5 - History from a Woman’s Perspective - review of Sofonisba 
Feb 8 - Olio by Marilyn - review of Sofonisba / author interview / giveaway
Feb 8 - Literary Flits - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 9 - History from a Woman’s Perspective - review of Artemisia
Feb 10 - Sadie's Spotlight - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 10 - Gwendalyn’s Books - review of Sofonisba / author interview / giveaway
Feb 11 - History from a Woman’s Perspective - review of Isabella
Feb 11 - Books for Books - review of Artemisia
Feb 12 - Book Corner News and Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 12 - Stephanie Jane - spotlight of all 3 books / giveaway
Feb 15 - Elizabeth McKenna - Author Blog - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 16 - Deborah-Zenha Adams - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 16 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Sofonisba / guest post / giveaway
Feb 17 - Gwendalyn’s Books - review of Isabella
Feb 17 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 17 - Splashes of Joy - spotlight of all 3 books / author interview / giveaway
Feb 18 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Isabella / giveaway
Feb 18 - Books and Zebras @jypsylynn - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 19 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Artemisia / giveaway
Feb 19 - 30-something Travel - review of Sofonisba / guest post / giveaway
Feb 19 - Books Lattes & Tiaras - review of Sofonisba
Feb 22 - Books Lattes & Tiaras - review of Isabella
Feb 22 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Isabella / giveaway
Feb 23 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Artemisia / giveaway
Feb 23 - Jazzy Book Reviews - spotlight of all 3 books / giveaway
Feb 24 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Sofonisba / giveaway
Feb 25 - Olio by Marilyn - review of Artemisia / giveaway
Feb 26 - High Society Book Club & Reviews - review of Sofonisba + spotlight previous books / guest post / giveaway
Feb 26 - 30-something Travel - review of Isabella / giveaway
Feb 26 - Books Lattes & Tiaras - review of Artemisia

Enter the Giveaway: Click the link below for a chance to WIN a print copy of THE SECRET LIFE OF SOFONISBA ANGUISSOLA plus the audiobook edition. Good luck! Enter below. Rafflecopter giveaway