Monday, 24 April 2017

Timeless Tour - Review: THE SCRIBE OF SIENA by Melodie Winawe

Hi again fellow historical fiction fans! I'm back today with my final post for Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

During the course of this tour, I've been a part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

I've been having a great time with this tour, and I hope you've been having a great time following along! 

Today for my final post of the Timeless Tour, I'm sharing my review for Melodie Winawer's THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

Here's a bit about the book:


Author: Melodie Winawer
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Received an ARC from S&S Canada to participate in the
Timeless Tour and give an honest review.
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 464 (Hardcover)

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.

Links: Indigo | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks


As soon as I read the description for THE SCRIBE OF SIENA, I was intrigued. A heroine who happens to be a neurosurgeon who accidentally time travels to Siena when it's on the cusp of the Great Plague outbreak? I was sure that it was going to be the kind of book that I didn't want to put down, and I was right! 

Most of the historical fiction that I've read have taken place in either England or Scotland, so the Italian aspect of THE SCRIBE OF SIENA were new to me, and I loved that! One of my favourite parts about historical fiction is that you learn about history and places while reading, and that was something that Melodie Winawer did an amazing job with. The setting and Beatrice's life in 14th century Siena felt extremely real and everything was described very vividly!

It took me a little bit to get into THE SCRIBE OF SIENA, but once I was around the 100-page mark, I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed getting the story through Beatrice's POV, and I loved the story even more once we got to Gabriele's POV, too. I loved seeing their world through the two of them, and I also loved seeing how they saw each other. There were a few other POVs in the story that were smaller, and I have to admit that I didn't enjoy them as much. I did like seeing the young priest's POV, but for the others, especially Iacopo, I would've preferred the sections to be shorter, or in a brief omniscient perspective. His parts of the story dragged for me, and I was always eager to get back to Beatrice and Gabriele's parts. 

The story itself was riveting!! The time travel was a bit of a mystery, and it was unsurprisingly (as the description hints at it) a fairly small part of the story. I really, really loved seeing all of Beatrice's various jobs though! Her work as a neurosurgeon was intense and fascinating, and I loved seeing how her "empathy," as she called it, played into what she was doing. Then when she got to Siena, I thought that her work as a historian when she was striving to finish her brother's research was also very interesting! I especially loved her passion, and finally, when she got to 14th century Siena, I loved seeing her work as a scribe!! It was described perfectly, and I think being a scribe would definitely be my 14th century Italian dream job, too. ;) 

Along with Beatrice's vast skill-set, I loved how Gabriele's painting was described! His process was amazing, and the way his finished artwork was described was phenomenal. I wish he had been a real painter so that I could've looked up his real life's work! ;) The final aspect of the story that had me glued to the page was the conspiracy! Beatrice's brother, Ben, had been working on research as to why Siena was hit harder by the plague than other places, and the explanation that was given in the story was intense and really well thought out! I loved seeing how everything fit together, and by the time I got to the final pages, I was definitely satisfied! 

Overall, I really enjoyed THE SCRIBE OF SIENA! While I could've done without a couple of the smaller POVs, I absolutely loved Beatrice and Gabriele, and I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the story. The time travel, historian, scribe, fresco painting, and conspiracy aspects had me hooked to the story! I'd recommend this one to fans of historical fiction who like intrigue, a little mystery, fantastic descriptions, and slow burn romances!

About the Author:

Melodie Winawer is a physician-scientist and Associate Professor of Neurology at Columbia University. A graduate of Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University with degrees in biological psychology, medicine, and epidemiology, she has published forty-seven nonfiction articles and book chapters.

Dr. Winawer lives with her spouse and their three young children in Brooklyn, New York. The Scribe of Siena is her first novel.

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