Monday, November 21, 2016

Dreaming Sophia: Because Dreaming is an Art by Melissa Muldoon (Review & Giveaway!)

Book Details:

Book Title: Dreaming Sophia: Because Dreaming is an Art by Melissa Muldoon
​Category: Adult Fiction, 232 pages
Genre: Literary
Publisher: Matta Press
Release date: August 2016
Tour dates: Nov 21 to Dec 16, 2016
Content Rating: PG (Mild profanity, and mild religious expletives, exploration Italian swear words, kissing - oh my!)

Book Description:

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.

My Review:

Dreaming Sophia is a fantastical and charming coming-of-age tale of a young and lively dreamer who finally follows her calling to study art in Florence. Filled with artistic and cultural references of well-known Italian icons in Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Modern Art as well as music and cinema with the alluring Sophia Loren, after whom the main character is named, readers will get their fill of Italy and its language.

Sophia suffers a tragedy early on in her story. Her deep grief along with the loss of her muse make it difficult for her to move on. Always having been encouraged to dream in life, Sophia relies on "dreaming with her eyes wide open" and conjures up famous people from the past who help her along when she has to make serious decisions or when she feels lost and needs direction. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Eleonora de Medici, Garibaldi and Sophia Loren are among some of these colorful characters that dispense advice to our young heroine.

If you are familiar with Italian culture and history then this will be a refreshing look at Italy's beloved artists, but if you are not, it's a great and fanciful introduction to a culture and history that has touched and influenced the rest of the world. The history of the Mud Angels who helped salvage literary and art works in Florence after its 1966 flooding, for example, was interweaved into the story and will touch any who claim to love art.

The first part of the book in which Sophia comes to grips with what she wants to do in life reads almost like a memoir, whereas the second half of the book is a beautiful journey into Italy's artistic world as Sophia pursues her dream and falls in love both with a country and a man who can't help but be attracted to her jubilance and sometimes adorable clumsiness.

Although the magical realism resembles fairy-tale like storytelling and may throw off a few readers, Sophia's journey while living in Italy is well worth the reading. Author Melissa Muldoon's experience with Italians, their language and their culture will resonate true to North American readers of Italian origin. Highly recommended for dreamers and lovers of art and all things Italian.

To read more reviews, please visit Melissa Muldoon's page on Italy Book Tours.

Buy the Book: 

Watch the Trailer:

Melissa meets Sophia Loren in March 2016!

About the Author:

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 ( 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.

Connect with the Author:

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Youtube ~ Pinterest

Enter the Giveaway!


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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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