Waking Isabella

Because beauty can’t sleep forever

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, a 15th-century Florentine noblewoman, 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.

Dianne Hales, author of La Bella Lingua — “A Latter-day Renaissance woman, Melissa Muldoon blends fact and fantasy, history and art, English and Italian in this richly woven tapestry. Waking Isabella, carries us from 16th-century Italy to modern-day Arezzo, from palace plots to wartime intrigues. A perfect read for Italophiles, art lovers and armchair romantics. Brava!”

Martha Bakerjian, Italy travel expert at “Martha’s Italy.com” and “About.com” — “Waking Isabella is the kind of historical fiction I love – the main story takes place in the present but within the plot are flashbacks of stories taking place in the Renaissance and during World War II. Even though the book is fiction (but based on true events), I learned something about art history, the Renaissance princess Isabella, and the jousting tournament, Arezzo’s most important festival. If you’ve never been to Arezzo, you’ll probably want to go after you read this book. Recommended reading for anyone who wants to take an armchair journey to Tuscany or looking for new places to explore on their next trip.”

Sheri Hoyte, for Reader ViewsMuldoon 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. The author has such a unique voice you can feel her personality in every sentence. She delivers historical references and tells of lasting traditions that drive you to want to learn more, and exhibits a contemporary voice through her protagonists, all the while weaving bits of Italian into the dialogue. It’s apparent “Waking Isabella” required extensive research, though it certainly feels like a labor of love. Muldoon’s passion for Italy is evident.”

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!

Laura Fabiani Review — Italy Book Tours: “Waking Isabella” is a tale of reawakening one’s true potential and joy in life found in the beauty of art and strong women who have shaped the past. Renaissance princess Isabella de’ Medici steals the limelight as her influence transforms lives even across centuries. A beautiful story filled with intrigue, mystery, art, and redemption, Melissa Muldoon succeeds in transporting the reader to Tuscany with all its cultural festivities, history and people. A treat for lovers of historical fiction, the beauty of art, and the challenge of starting a new life and rediscovering love.

Arezzo & the Joust Photo Gallery

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