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.
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.
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.
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.
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
It is clear that the author has a strong affinity with Italy as love for the country shines through. It takes the form of a newly bereaved Sophia finding solace in the Art, history,
philosophy, music and poetry of Italy, guided by spirits of the famous. I loved the descriptions and Sophia's story even if the dreamlike quality of the apparitions was a little harder to find credible. Nevertheless, if you want to eat, sleep and breathe Italy
then this is the book for you. It is also especially helpful that the author has provided links within the book to many of the artistic and cultural references that influence Sophia and of course the reader too. One huge influence on the author is clearly
apparent as there are many references to Sophia Loren.
It is well-written and the characters and locations are superbly drawn. In fact, if you have ever visited Italy it will evoke memories in you that you didn't know you had. All in all, a dreamy,
romantic book that brims with a passion for Italy.
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