G1124 Book Review of Eternally Artemisia by Melissa Muldoon
Author: Melissa Muldoon
Publisher: Matta Press
Type of book: Italy, 17th century, reincarnation, 1930s, modern times, art, creativity, sexual harrassment, painting, space, Artemisia, Judith Beheading Holofernes, friendship between women, connections, fashion
Year it was published: 2019
They say some loves travel through time and are fated to meet over and over again. For Maddie, an art therapist, who wrestles with the “peculiar feeling” she has lived previous lives and is being called to Italy by voices that have left imprints on her soul, this idea is intriguing. Despite her best efforts, however, proof of this has always eluded her. That is, until one illuminating summer in Italy when Maddie’s previous existences start to bleed through into her current reality. When she is introduced to the Crociani family—a noble clan with ties to the seventeenth-century Medici court that boasts of ancestors with colorful pasts—she finally meets the loves of her life. One is a romantic love, and another is a special kind of passion that only women share, strong amongst those who have suffered greatly yet have triumphed despite it. As Maddie's relationship develops with Artemisia Gentileschi—an artist who in a time when it was unheard of to denounce a man for the crime of rape, did just that—Maddie discovers a kindred spirit and a role model, and just what women are capable of when united together. In a journey that arcs back to biblical days and moves forward in time, Maddie encounters artists, dukes, designers, and movie stars as well as baser and ignoble men. With Artemisia never far from her side, she proves that when we dare to take control of our lives and find the “thing” we are most passionate about, we are limitless and can touch the stars.
Main character includes Maddie, an art therapist from America who has used her own tragedy for something good as it can relate to other women. Maddie is best described as a dreamer who always has been fascinated with space and who does the best she can in bringing out the best of her clients, and then there is Mateo Crociani who seems to complement Maddie in a lot of ways, and there is Camilla who has recently been hurt and is trying to deal with her pain through art. In 17th century there is also Artemisia, a daring and resourceful artist in 17th century Italy who will do what she can to take back control of her life and Maddalena who comes from a dubious background of being a dancer and who quickly befriends Artemisia and is supportive of her friends and husband. In 17th century Matteo was a rebel who dared to go against the norms and to support conflicted views that could possibly get him killed. In 1930s, there is Maddalena who is a talented fashion designer and who is passionate in doing what she can to help others as well as her best friend Bettina who seems to read and understand Maddalena like a book, and there is also Matteo who is an art collector and is supportive of his wife.
Love never ends
The tale is third person narrative from Maddie's point of view as well as Maddalena's from 17th century and Maddalena from 1930s. The story is divided into 3 big sections, namely modern days then it goes back to 17th century and then to 1930s, so it won't be difficult to remember the characters and their roles. In addition to a fascinating love story, the tale also focuses on the power of female relationships and it introduces a very fascinating woman whom I have never heard of, but recall the famous painting: Artemisia Gentileschi.
(From Italy Book Tours)
Buy the Book:
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Meet the Author:
Melissa Muldoon is the author of three novels set in Italy: “Dreaming Sophia,” “Waking Isabella,” and “Eternally Artemisia.” All three books tell the stories of American women and their journeys of self-discovery to find love, uncover hidden truths, and follow their destinies to shape a better future in Italy.
Melissa is also the author of the Studentessa Matta website, where she promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog written in Italian and English (studentessamatta.com). Studentessa Matta means the “crazy linguist” and has grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per l'Italiano and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram feed. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Programs, which she co-leads with Italian schools in Italy to learn Italian in Italy. Through her website, she also offers the opportunities to live and study in Italy through Homestay programs. 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. She is an artist, designer, and illustrated the cover art for all three of her books. Melissa is also the managing director of Matta Press. 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. Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Eternally Artemisia, Waking Isabella, and Dreaming Sophia.
She also curates the Dreaming Sophia Art History blog site and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy, where you will find companion pictures for all three books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram
I've had a chance to read Melissa Muldoon's previous two novels: DREAMING SOPHIA as well as WAKING ISABELLA. In my opinion, while ETERNALLY ARTEMISIA shares a lot of similarities to the previous two (and they are not sequels/prequels) there are some differences as well: namely that the previous two novels focus a lot on women discovering their loves and the slow tangle of relationships as well as savoring Italy and adding the creativity are the common threads. What is different is that ETERNALLY ARTEMISIA focuses a lot on a relationship already finished so to speak, and it toys with ideas of reincarnation. Also, almost the entire novel takes place in the history, namely 1600s Italy as well as 1930s. In previous novels history also played a part, but it took up little space in my opinion. I was very surprised by the ending and a bit disappointed that certain something hadn't happened.
This is for Italy Book Tours
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June 3 - Viviana MacKade - book spotlight / guest post
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June 18 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
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June 21 - Gwendalyn’s_Books_- review
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)