CELTICLADY'S REVIEWS: Dreaming Sophia by Melissa Muldoon Review and Giveaway!   

09 December, 2016

Dreaming Sophia by Melissa Muldoon Review and Giveaway!

                                   
Dreaming Sophia is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture. It is a story about turning dreams into reality and learning to walk the fine line between fact and fantasy. When tragedy strikes, Sophia finds herself alone in the world, without direction and fearful of loving again. With only her vivid imagination to guide her, she begins a journey that will take her from the vineyards in Sonoma, California to a grad school in Philadelphia and, eventually, to Italy: Florence, Lucca, Rome, Verona, Venice, and Val d’Orcia.

​Through dreamlike encounters, Sophia meets Italian personalities—princes, poets, duchesses, artists, and film stars— who give her advice to help put her life back together. Following a path that takes her from grief to joy, she discovers the source of her creativity and learns to love again, turning her dreams into reality.
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Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta-the crazy linguist! In Italian, "matta" means "crazy" or "impassioned". 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.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, "Tutti Matti per l'Italiano" and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Dreaming Sophia is Melissa's first novel. It is a fanciful look at art history and Italian language and culture, but it is also the culmination of personal stories and insights resulting from her experiences living in Italy, as well as her involvement and familiarity with the Italian language, painting, and art history.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she'd never need it again but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That "thing" was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event! Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency-a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways.
Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is married and has three boys and two beagles.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Dreaming Sophia. She also designed the Dreaming Sophia website and created the character illustrations that can be found in the book and on the Dreaming Sophia websites.

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My Thoughts
What a fun book! Dreaming Sophia's protagonist, Sophia, is a young woman who is an aspiring artist and is passionate about Italy. She is away at college and her parents are in Rome on a second honeymoon. She receives devasting news that the plane that her parents were on bringing them home has crashed and both parents have died in the crash.

Sophia is so upset by the news that she virtually hides away, still going to classes but just kind of living inside of herself and her dreams and memories. In this time we learn abit about her parents and that her mother was also an artist and Sophia inherited her free spirit and dreams from her. Sophia was named after Sophia Loren, the beautiful Italian actress, as her mother was a fan of Ms.Loren.

Sophia's dreams are what keeps her going in this tragic time. Her art professor tells her about an art school in Italy that she applies to and is accepted. She needs to get away and get immersed in her art. She travels to Italy and starts her new life among the art of the Medieval, Baroque, Renaissance,and Modern periods that she loves.

As I mentioned before, Sophia dreams, she dreams not just at night but during the day also, as she wanders around Florence she not only encounters the art works that she so loves, but she also dreams about historical figures such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Eleonora de Medici and Cassonova. The dreams are so vivid that it is like she has been transported to the era that they lived.

What a fun time I had reading this book, I am not an expert on art but it was fun to learn about the works of the artists famous in Italy who have so shaped the beauty of the country. The writing was so good that it felt like I was on the Sophia's journey right along with her. The sights, sounds and smells of Italy came right through the pages. The author definitely knows of what she writes and has put her own experiences onto the page. To me that is the mark of a great author that can have the reader transported into the pages of the book. I hope to read more by this author, maybe a continuation of Sophia's story.."because dreaming is an art".

This review is done voluntarily.
Prizes:Win a copy of Dreaming Sophia (print open to USA & Can, ebook int’l) One winner will get the grand prize package that includes a copy of the book, calendar, mug and tote bag (USA & CAN only) 7 winners total

Ends Dec 24



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