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.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
About the Author
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
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: A Princess Is Murdered
Chapter 2: Ghost Ships
Chapter 3: Where Life Is Beautiful
Chapter 4: Incense and Regrets
Chapter 5: Backseat Driver
Chapter 6: A Painting to Remember
Chapter 7: Prelude to a Storm
Chapter 8: La Dama Bianca
Chapter 9: The Rules of the Game
Chapter 10: Buongiorno Principessa!
Chapter 11: Sinners and Saints
Chapter 12: Family Business
Chapter 13: Legends
Chapter 14: The Shop Around the Corner
Chapter 15: The Artist Upstairs
Chapter 16: Two Hearts Aligned
Chapter 17: End of Days
Chapter 18: Waking Beauty
Chapter 19: Star of Florence
Chapter 20: Portrait of Love
Chapter 21: Urlo alla Luna
Chapter 22: A Golden Passion
Chapter 23: The Bitter End
Chapter 24: Drunken Confessions
Chapter 25: Exorcising a Ghost
Chapter 26: Prayers to Margherita
Chapter 27: A Princess Is Awakened
Chapter 28: Tutta la Verità
Chapter 29: The Joust
Chapter 30: A Piece of Picasso
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Historical, full of passion and adventurous I enjoyed reading this 2nd book from the author. It is historical. It is fun to learn more about the place Arezzo in the town of Tuscany in Italy. The cultures and traditions back during the days. It is full of passion despite tragic loss and mysterious. True love can only happened when you really cared for that person. It cannot be learn not unless your heart is beating fast for that person. This book is very adventurous. My favorite character is Nora. She is one feisty girl who is not afraid to fall in-love at the same time solved the mystery. This book is suspense as well. It is mind blowing especially when they solved the missing painting and surprised came along the way. It is a beautiful story of friendship, betrayal and most of all love. If you love mystery books like me, definitely you will enjoy reading this historical book. If you love to travel, and Italy is in your bucket list, this book is I can recommend.
Leonora, Nora, is suffering from a broken marriage when an old friend invites her to Italy to be part of a documentary on Isabella de’ Medici, a princess murdered by her husband. Nora starts researching Isabella to try to find more information on her death and to try and locate a missing painting of Isabella and her mother that disappeared years before. As Nora starts looking, she meets several people. One of those is Luca, the owner of a family antique business. Luca brings up how his grandmother would smuggle paintings during the Nazi occupation. This starts Nora’s research into these two women’s lives at a point where she is looking to follow her own heart. This is a wonderful story. I loved following along as Nora works her way through her self-esteem issues to recreate herself. To become the person she has always wanted to be. But I also enjoyed the research and history that went into both Isabella’s story and Margherita’s. It was so easy to fall into the history of both eras and hope and pray for the best for all three women. I loved this story that is rich in history and art. You can tell that Melissa Muldoon loves Italy as she describes this world. This is a great story and one that I strongly recommend. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Trying to regain footing in life, Nora dives into the history behind a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke's daughter and the mystery surrounding her death as well as a missing painting. Isabella does not have a wonderful marriage, but it isn't so awful that she expects her husband to enter her bedroom and murder her once her father's dead. Hundreds of years later, Nora, a modern woman just leaving a divorce, searches for the answers surrounding what-could-have-been and what-ifs. After reading and studying much of Isabella's strange history, she decides to film a documentary about the woman. In Italy, Nora not only submerges herself in the historical sites surrounding Isabella's past but also digs deeper into the mystery behind a missing painting. Both searches take unexpected turns into deceit, forgery and a touch of paranormal activity. The first chapter starts with the rape and murder of Isabella. It's dramatic, grabs right away and, yet, is tastefully done. When the next chapter switches to modern-day Nora, the tone is set. The author does a great job at weaving the past with the present and dabs here and there in time without ever becoming confusing. The past slips in with Nora's thoughts seamlessly, making it easy as well as a joy to read. Isabella was an easy character to connect to from the very first moment. I enjoyed learning more about her as the story progressed. Nora, however, wasn't quite as easy to relate to. In the first part of the book, the story is presented from her own head with little dialogue, which kept those personality traits, which make a character endearing, a bit at bay. Still, she approached the mystery and her own troubles very naturally and understandably. There is a romance, and it builds slow and steady, slipping perfectly along with the rest of the pacing. But this isn't about action, it's a story which hits on a more personal level and takes the time for the characters to build and the plot to settle in. Italian fans will adore the true-to-life descriptions not only of the architecture and towns, but of the culture and people in all of their subtleties. Even the historical aspects demonstrate well-grounded research and give the book a lovely foundation. Summed up, it's a story that woman fiction and mystery fans who love Italian flair are sure to enjoy. I received a complimentary copy and enjoyed it enough to want to leave my honest thoughts.
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (1/18) Melissa Muldoon delivers an enchanting story set in Arezzo, Italy about love, intrigue, mystery, traditions, and art in her latest novel, “Waking Isabella.” Leonora (Nora), a young research assistant who is at a crossroads in her life, travels to Italy to film a documentary on 16th Century Italian princess, Isabella de Medici. Fascinated with the history surrounding the princess, Nora hopes to uncover some of the mystery surrounding her tragic death, and a painting of Isabella and her mother that has been missing for decades. There is also the rumor of Isabella’s ghost to consider. While in Italy, Nora reunites with an old friend and meets several new ones. Of particular interest is Gianluca (Luca) Donati, owner of an antique business that has been in his family for generations. When Luca shares details about his ancestor’s participation in smuggling famous artwork out of the country during WWII, Nora’s research takes her down yet another path, exploring the life of Margherita, Luca’s grandmother. Muldoon magically weaves together the lives of Nora, Isabella and Margherita, spanning the course of many centuries, into a story that will mesmerize and haunt readers long after the last page is read. As a big fan of Melissa Muldoon’s since reading her debut novel, “Dreaming Sophia,” I could not wait to dive into “Waking Isabella.” The author has such a unique voice you can feel her personality in every sentence. Her writing is magical, as she incorporates her distinctive style through various methods. She eloquently takes the reader from the past to the present and back again with seamless delivery. She transitions from real-time drama to bits of fantasy through almost dream-like sequences. She delivers historical references and tells of lasting traditions that drive you want to learn more, and exhibits a contemporary voice through her protagonists, all the while weaving bits of Italian into the dialogue. I’ve read books where intermingling languages actually took me out of a story—but not so in “Waking Isabella,” where the words flow harmoniously together, further adding to the author’s individuality and voice. The characters are intriguing, versatile and genuine. At the onset of the story readers are drawn inside Isabella’s character, all at once capturing the essence of her free spirit and strength in light of the heartbreaking end to her short life. Protagonist Nora’s character grows impressively with the story as she pushes through her fears with courage and determination to reinvent herself and follow her dreams. Supporting characters are equally portrayed with authenticity and it is an exciting spin inside their heads. It’s apparent “Waking Isabella” required extensive research, though it certainly feels like a labor of love. Muldoon’s passion for Italy is evident and I really enjoyed the addition of the last few pages of the book where she provides information distinguishing the facts from the fictional parts of the story. I found these tidbits the perfect way to wrap things up, inviting and encouraging the reader to learn more about the historical period, if so driven. All in all, I would say “Waking Isabella” by Melissa Muldoon is a must-read for all fans of Italy, history, romance and intrigue. Eccellente!