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The Scribe of Siena

by Melodie Winawer

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer X
The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer
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There are currently 20 reader reviews for The Scribe of Siena
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The Shirl

Time to travel to Siena
There were many aspects of this book that I just loved. The characters were well developed, interesting, and their were explained. I loved the setting and contrasts between Siena in 1347 and today - well researched with focal points of the buildings. Especially the Duomo and Campo. The time travel was a little awkward, although Beatrice did hope that she could return to the time she wanted. The love story was wonderful and kept my interest.
I would recommend this to any of my book groups as presents all the elements necessary for discussion - plot, characters, themes, setting - great debut novel.
Susan W. (Leesburg, VA)

The Scibe of Siena
This is a wonderful beach read book. It has mystery, love, loss, murder, and time travel. Who could ask for anything more?
Joy N. (Scottsdale, AZ)

The Scribe of Sienna
It was kind of a slow start, but once Beatrice was transported to Siena to the year 1347 the pace quickened. The research that the author did was excellent. The characters were believable. I enjoyed the story very much.
Lisa R. (Lewes, DE)

The Scribe of Siena
Melodie Winawer has written a vivid debut novel. The book is a mix of different genres including historical, time-travel, mystery and romance. The author has done impressive research into 14th century Italy and the plague.
I enjoyed this captivating novel.
Kate S. (Arvada, CO)

The Scribe of Siena
I thought Melodie Winawer did an excellent job of giving the reader an idea of what Italy was like during an important event in history; the Plague. The characters were well developed, and I loved the detail when she was describing the cities. Her writing style was a pleasure to read. There was not constant back and forth between the two time periods so that piece worked. I would recommend it as a Book Club read because there were so many items to discuss. As a side note, I think the cover of the book we received ( the gold cover) is much more attractive than the one with the picture of a woman on the blue cover book.
Paula K. (Cave Creek, AZ)

A Great Debut!
Disclaimer: I am a pushover for time-travel fiction. It all started with my fascination with the television show Bewitched and Elizabeth Montgomery's fantastic nose. For a theme that requires an absolute suspension of disbelief, it's interesting how some of the best time travel writers have very strong academic chops. Diana Gabaldon has three degrees including a Ph.D in Ecology. Along comes Melodie Winawer, who brings her share of impressive academic credentials as a physician-scientist and associate professor of neurology at Columbia. My conclusion is that, while time-travel seems to be a fanciful theme on the surface, high-quality work requires a painstaking attention to detail and enormous intellectual discipline to bring it off. And Melodie Winawer sure does that.

Her protagonist is neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato who demonstrates an uncanny empathic connection with her patients. In fact, "Empathy" is the title of the first chapter where we meet Beatrice who is singularly focused on her career. Her social life is limited to visits to a neighborhood book store where she has befriended the owner. Her only family tie is to her brother, Benjamin, a scholar living in Siena, Italy where he is as equally obsessed with his chosen path studying medieval life and the events leading up to the disaster known as the Black Death. Brother and sister have been apart for three years and Beatrice decides it is high time for a trip to visit the part of the world that has so enthralled her brother.

Beatrice is in Siena only a short time before her empathic gift emerges in a different way and propels her from present-day to 1347. Winawer is an excellent writer and moves effortlessly between modern vernacular to language that feels medieval but without all of the confusing parts. I really liked the characters of Beatrice and her medieval paramour and also appreciated that Winawer refrained from moving into the "bodice-ripping" terrain that is familiar with certain other time-travel fiction. Winawer keeps the love story compelling without sinking too much into romantic novel territory and gives you the satisfaction of learning something along the way. What could be better?
Ruth H. (Sebring, FL)

An Italian Adventure
Want to learn some Italian words? Though this is a work of fiction, I appreciate the authenticity of the Italian. I really enjoyed this book, however it starts our slowly. Stay with it because it gets better as you go along. The book gave me a real sense of the 13oo's, to be a woman and adhere to the laws of that time. Even though Beatrice was a highly educated doctor, in the old world she is treated as a lowly woman. It's rather hard to understand her time travel experience, but I can understand her desire to return and remain in 1300's Italy. There are plenty of villians, weaklings and secrets, yet there are also many one would love it meet; Clara and Ysabella or Donata and Linney. Starts out rather sadly but by the end of the book there are many mild surprises. It's a long story but so worth the time. Good work Melodie Winawer!
Estella P. (New York, NY)

Time Travel, Love Story, Art Mystery
As a great fan of historical novels, time travel, and mysteries involving art, I was thrilled to find a book that includes all of these. The solution to the mystery which involves the Black Death and the manner in which she solves it is as unique as the love story which moves from the 21st century back to medieval Siena. The mode of time travel is particularly interesting and her descriptions of the people she meets and works with in her "adopted" century brings them to life. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good historical mystery combined with a love story that literally transcends the centuries.
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