Photo Credit: Art of Loving Italy

“The Secret Life of Sofonisba—the most famous woman you’ve never heard of” is now published!

I am happy to announce my fourth novel set in Italy has been published and is now available on Amazon in Print and Epub.

Photo Credit: Art of Loving Italy

Despite these uncertain times of Covid, writing a historical novel about Sofonisba Anguissola set in the sixteenth century has been a gratifying and fulfilling experience. It provided me a much-needed outlet from modern problems, allowing me to immerse in a world of my creation and focus instead on a delightful cast of characters. When I write, sometimes up to ten hours a day, the exterior world ceases to exist—so throughout this precarious and unpredictable year, exploring Sofonisba’s life and writing this new novel has been a perfect escape!

Self-Portrait of Sofonisba Anguissola and painting instructor Bernardo Campi

Who is Sofonisba Anguissola, and why would I choose to write a novel about her? Not only is Sofonisba Anguissola an uncommon name, but it is also one that, for many years, has gone unnoticed and forgotten along with her masterful portrait paintings. But Sofonisba is important because she reached international acclaim as an influential artist during the Renaissance by her ability to dare to dream far beyond the limitations set for women during her era. She studied with Michelangelo, was praised by Vasari, became the court painter for King Philip of Spain, and taught his wife, Catherine de’ Medici’s daughter, to paint. Sofonisba didn’t marry until her mid-thirties, desiring instead to establish herself as a prominent and respected painter. As the years passed, despite her advanced age, she never surrendered her brush; she continued to travel and paint well into her eighties, always improving her skills and encouraging and inspiring other artists.

Photo Credit: Art of Loving Italy

I invite you to take a break and escape to the sixteenth century with Sofonisba Anguissola—the most famous woman that NOW you have heard of!

Reviews for “The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola”

Dianne Hales, author of La Bella Lingua  — “Through meticulous research, 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.”

Martha Bakerjian, author of Martha’s Italy  — “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.”

Kate Braithwaite, author of Charlatan, The Road to Newgate — “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.”

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.”

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