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.
About the Author
Melissa Muldoon is the "Studentessa Matta." In Italian, "matta" means "crazy" or "impassioned." She promotes the study of Italian language and culture through the dual-language blog StudentessaMatta.com. Melissa began the "Matta" blog to improve her own language skills and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per Italiano, and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy. She has a B.A. in fine arts from Knox College, and a master's in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She studied painting and art history in Florence. Dreaming Sophia is Melissa's first novel about Italy and Waking Isabella is her second novel. Both stories weave together historical facts with an imaginative story line, focusing on Italy, the language, art, and culture. It is the desire of the author to introduce her readers to the world of art history and inspire them to learn the Italian language. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for both her novels. More information is available on the author's website: www.MelissaMuldoon.com