Dreaming Sophia Book Review
Dreaming Sophia is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture.
About Dreaming Sophia
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.
I fell in love with Dreaming Sophia! My time in Italy when I was sixteen was magical, Italy has this way of drawing you in with its culture, history and people. The streets are alive with history at every corner and instead of hiding it, history is embraced and celebrated. The art in Italy is incredible – I could have spent days just wandering around the cities I visited. You want to touch the walls, visit every Church and just sit in the streets to embrace every moment.
In Dreaming Sophia, we have a young girl who must overcome a great loss and change in her life and in order to do so she must embrace her love of art and history, as well as travelling to the place her Mother loved so much. Her dreams help guide her and encourage her during this difficult time in her life. I love how free Sophia is to love and embrace her dreams and the hope they give her. She embraces her future and we are drawn right into the Italian culture and history. You will feel as though you are with her on the streets of Florence, in the coffee shops and in her art studio. We watch her grow as an individual and as a woman and the transformation is wonderful. You feel almost like her Mother and best friend, wanting nothing but the best for Sophia. I wished the story would never have ended because I just couldn’t wait to see what happened next (to tell you would give away the story but trust me, she leaves you craving more!). Dreaming Sophia is a beautiful story of hope, faith, trust and a love of all things Italian. A truly wonderful novel to treasure over and over again.
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 (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.
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.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.