I got some fantastic
news last week!

My latest novel
“The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola”
has won
Reader Views Silver Award in the
2020-2021 Historical Fiction Category.

My third novel “Eternally Artemisia” has won
Reader Views Gold Award in the
2020-2021 Adult Classics Fiction Category.

I’d like to thank the judges—all literary critics,
who for an entire year, read and evaluated
hundreds of submissions within
the 3-tier judging system.

Images of Sofonisba Anguissola & Artemesia Gentileschi

It is an extreme pleasure to have my two novels, that explore the lives of two female artists, honored and awarded.

It makes me want to start my next novel!

Photo Credit: Art of Loving Italy

What made me want to write fiction novels
about art and Italy in the first place?

I started writing novels set in Italy because I wanted to turn the stories and legends, the artists, the historical figures, and Italy’s history that I blog about here on the Studentessa Matta website into creative fictional stories. I also wanted to introduce readers to Italian art and let them know Art History isn’t a dry, dusty subject. On the contrary, the art world is filled with fascinating tales and personalities. I wanted the reader to realize that art can “talk” to us if we open up their eyes and ears. I also wanted to write about some lesser-known female artists and bring them to life so that a new generation could appreciate their trials and tribulations as well as their strengths and accomplishments.

The challenge began with my first novel, “Dreaming Sophia,” which is set in Florence.

Photo Credit: Pietro Cataudella

The story is loosely based on my experiences living and studying in Italy. Writing a novel was an extraordinary experience, and I discovered I enjoyed the process of creating fictional worlds and populating them with fascinating characters. I enjoyed historical fiction writing so much, after finishing “Dreaming Sophia”, I quickly went on to write my next book, “Waking Isabella,” followed by “Eternally Artemisia” and “The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola.”

What the novels are about.

Dreaming Sophia,” tells the story of a young artist from California, named for La Loren, who suffers a tragedy. Sophia has a wildly creative imagination, and as she works through her grief, through her daydreams, she has conversations with colorful personalities, the likes of Eleonora de’ Medici, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, even her namesake—Sophia Loren! With the help of her muses, Sophia follows her heart to Florence and learns how to turn her daydreams into reality. However, to do so, she has to cope with a new language and a new culture and learn to walk the fine line between fantasy and everyday life. Available on Amazon: Print, Epub, Audio.

Waking Isabella” tells the story of Isabella de’ Medici Daughter of Cosimo II, who was murdered by her husband in a Medici hunting villa in Cerreto Guidi. Isabella’s story is entwined with a contemporary American protagonist, Nora who is making a film documentary about the Medici’s princess. The drama plays out in  Arezzo amidst the Tuscan city’s Joust festival and Antique fair as the heroine delves deeper into the mystery of a painting of Isabella that is lost during WWII. La Americana, disillusioned with her life choices, learns to take a chance on Italy. Following her heart, Nora answers the call of a charming Italian ghost who calls to her, and there, during a magical Tuscan summer, she discovers a new life and an unexpected love. Available on Amazon: Print, Epub, Audio.

Waking Isabella is also available in Italian

Il risveglio di Isabella” is the Italian translation of “Waking Isabella” that I wrote with the assistance of Beatrice Massaro. Available on Amazon: Print, Epub.

Eternally Artemisia,” tells the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a young girl raped by her painting instructor Agostino Tassi, and how she rose from the ashes of defamation to become a prominent painter during the Baroque era, in league with Caravaggio. The story begins with the gruesome beheading of the biblical general Holofernes by the Jewish widow Judith, one of Artemisia’s favorite subjects. It then moves forward, weaving together a contemporary story, that of Maddie, an Art Therapist who leads women’s retreats in Tuscany. Since childhood, Maddie has had the peculiar feeling that she has lived past lives. During a summer in Tuscany, she begins to experience the events of Artemisia’s life that bleed through to her current reality. When Maddie is introduced to the Crociani family with ties to the Medici in Florence, she soon learns how she and Artemisia are connected. Maddie also discovers that some lives and some loves are destined to travel through time and are fated to meet over and over again. Available on Amazon: Print, Epub, Audio.

My latest novel — just released in December 2020

The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola” tells the story of one of the first female artists to be recognized for her talent in the 16th century. She was guided by Michelangelo who instructed her and praised by Vasari who included her in his book about the most famous artists of his day. Sofonisba eventually became the court painter to King Philip II of Spain and taught his Queen Elisabeth de Valois how to paint. One can’t live such an extraordinary life without having secrets to tell and tell them she does to Anthony Van Dyke, who visits her at the end of her life. During their meeting, she agrees to reveal her secrets but first challenges the young painter to find the one lie hidden in her tale. In a saga filled with intrigue, jealousy, buried treasure, unrequited love, espionage, and murder Sofonisba’s story is played out against the backdrop of Italy, Spain, and Sicily. Throughout her life, she encountered talented artists, authoritative dukes, mad princes, religious kings, spying queens, vivacious viscounts, and dashing sea captains—even a Barbary pirate. Many fell in love with Sofonisba, but only one captured her heart. She had many secrets, but only Sofonisba knows the whole truth. Available on Amazon: Print, Epub.

Where can you find my novels?

For more information about the books visit my author website at: www.MelissaMuldoon.com 

You can purchase all my novels, including the Italian translation of Waking Isabella on Amazon.

To purchase a signed copy of one of my books you can
do so directly on Melissa’s author website

Image Credit: Te La Do Io Firenze

I invite you to take an armchair trip to Italy in the pages of my novels set in Italy—Florence, Arezzo, Montepulciano, Rome, and Cremona!

Buona Lettura! Happy reading!

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