Sheri Hoyte – Reader Views: “Spectacular writing, intriguing art and history, inspirational characters – these things all combine to create a story of excellence. I was completely enthralled with Sofonisba Anguissola – it’s a story of vision, strength, and determination that history and art enthusiasts, along with romance and intrigue fans will enjoy.” For full review click here.
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The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola
Dianne Hales, author La Bella Lingua and Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered: Through meticulous research and a deep affinity for art and its creators, Melissa Muldoon spins a captivating tale of a Renaissance woman whose melodious name—Sofonisba Anguissola—should be far better known. Mentored by Michelangelo, esteemed as one of Europe’s finest portraitists, Sofonisba comes to life as a charming, intelligent, passionate and talented woman who defied the conventions of her time to follow her heart and make her living by her brush. Through Melissa Muldoon’s vivid storytelling, we get to know Sofonisba as if she were a friend who shares her innermost secrets and feelings with us.The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola transports readers to a long-ago place and time where we can immerse ourselves in a life lived fully and creatively. This richly woven tapestry will delight lovers of art, history, Italy—and romance! Brava, Melissa!
Kate Braithwaite, author of Charlatan, The Road to Newgate: In Melissa Muldoon’s The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola, a gifted female artist leaps from the obscurity of 16th century history and into vibrant life. Humorous, adventurous, ambitious, and an acute observer – but also honest, hard-working and loyal to a fault – Sofonisba is a character to fall in love with. Muldoon has woven a compelling and action-filled story: from Sofonisba’s upbringing in Cremona, east of Milan, to her life in Madrid as a court painter and confidente of Isabel de Valois, wife of Philip II of Spain, and beyond. This is a novel rich in description, romance, and adventure that combines detailed research with excellent characterization. Put simply, it’s everything a historical novel should be.
Barbara Reeves: When I first read the subtitle of the book “the most famous woman you’ve never heard of” I was definitely intrigued. I have long been a fan of Jane Fortune’s works, especially her book, INVISIBLE WOMEN. And while I had read of Sofonisba Anguissola in that book, I didn’t really know much about her. Therefore I was eager to learn about her and her world. Melissa has crafted an incredible novel that brings the reader right into Sofonisba’s life with her descriptions of life in Cremona, Rome, Madrid and Palermo. I felt as if I could “see” the family in their home as the story began and such visualizations continue in the other locations throughout the book. One of my favorite things about reading is the development of the characters and Melissa is especially gifted in this skill. For example, the young brother, Asdrubale, is as annoying at the end of the book as he was in the beginning. As he was a minor player in the story, I admired that the author was able to keep him in character as the story progressed. She does the same for her major characters as well. Melissa is an artist who draws with her words and engages the reader into the world of her characters. I confess that I read the book in 2 evenings and stayed up way too late, but it was so delightful that I couldn’t stop. Undoubtedly I will read it again as it is always pleasure to “visit” Italy through one of Melissa’s books. Thank you Melissa. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and read it on my tablet instead of listening to it… it was a pleasure. Now I need to find my Vasari and re-read his comments about her.
Martha Bakerjian, Italy expert and author of the website Martha’s Italy: Melissa deftly combines fact with fiction to weave an intriguing tale about the personal life of a top female Renaissance artist and her interactions with important figures and artists of the period. The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola is a very enjoyable work of historic fiction, enhanced by Melissa’s expertise in art history and Italy. I’d say it’s excellent.
Reader Views: Sofonisba’s life is as fascinating as her character and clearly Muldoon has done her homework in terms of research. A genuine 16th century ambiance permeates the pages as Muldoon takes us on a virtual tour through the settings of King Phillip’s court in Spain, Sofonisba’s hometown of Cremona, Italy, and the island of Sicily. Also, as is representative of Muldoon’s pervious works, she infuses her own passion for art, history and Italy into this story and it’s evident though the outstanding delivery of such an intricate and engrossing tale. Spectacular writing, intriguing art and history, inspirational characters, societal issues still relevant today – these things all combine to create a story of excellence. I was completely enthralled with Sofonisba Anguissola – my only regret was reaching the end of this story. I highly recommend “The “Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola: The most famous woman you’ve never heard of” by Melissa Muldoon. It’s a story of vision, strength, and determination that history and art enthusiasts, along with romance and intrigue fans will enjoy.