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The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

The Scribe of Siena

by Melodie Winawer

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10613162,139 (3.59)5



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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I hated this book! I did not like the characters, the story had no movement. The only reason this got the 2 stars was because the scenery was written very well.
For more reviews see my blog: https://adventuresofabibliophile.blogspot.com
( )
  Serinde24 | Aug 17, 2018 |
I have soft spots in my heart for well-written books about time travel and the Plague. I know they're rather odd topics, but there you are. It's been a long time since I've read a serious time travel novel, and when I heard about Melodie Winawer's The Scribe of Siena, I knew I wanted to read it. Although I did find a couple of minor problems with it, I did enjoy being transported back to medieval Tuscany.

Through watching how Beatrice is with her patients, readers can immediately like her and care what happens to her. That feeling is further cemented when Winawer tells us of the wonderful relationship she had with her brother. And when she suddenly finds herself in Siena, she doesn't blend seamlessly into the woodwork. No, she gets in trouble for the way she's dressed (she doesn't have the right undergarments for the dress she stole from some poor woman's laundry basket). But she does get a break or two so she can scout around and try to figure out how to get back to the right time period.

Winawer brings medieval Siena to life while she roused my interest in a couple of things. Why was Siena so much harder hit by the Plague than all the other cities in Italy? Was there really an inter-city rivalry between Siena and Florence? That's one of the best things about well-written time travel books: they can jumpstart your curiosity and have you learning all sorts of things.

Earlier, I mentioned finding a couple of problems with The Scribe of Siena. One was that I thought the storyline could've used a slightly larger injection of the Plague to increase tension and suspense. The second was that the book seemed to run out of gas in the last hundred pages. However, this is a debut novel and an extremely enjoyable one at that. Melodie Winawer is an author to watch. ( )
  cathyskye | Jul 22, 2018 |
I love a good time travel book, so I was very excited to pick this one up. However, I wasn't excited about the beginning and I couldn't figure out why the author made the main character's (Beatrice) life so unnecessarily complicated (ie Her brother raised her when he was just 17 because her mother died at birth. Despite this setback, he went on to become a Ph.D. historian...okay. Also, why is Beatrice a neurosurgeon? She could have been any type of medical employee and I couldn't get the connection. Again, I thought it was just convoluted). This was, in many ways, Outlander with the Black Plague thrown in, except Beatrice was a nicer character than Claire.

Despite that, I thought that things picked up around half way and then I couldn't wait to hear what happened next. She did a decent job of describing the plague but I didn't really feel that I was actually there. I would recommend 'The Doomsday Book' by Connie Willis if you want to feel immersed in the 14th century.

3.5 stars - I would definitely recommend this book. ( )
  blogbrarian | Jul 16, 2018 |
The Scribe of Siena - Winawer
Audio performance by Cassandra Campbell
3 stars

There were a lot of things to like about this time travel romance. The historical setting was so interesting; 14th century Sienna! I’d never been to this particular literary destination. For that matter part of the book takes place in contemporary Sienna. Not at all a bad place to visit. Too bad neurosurgeon Beatrice Travato, the female protagonist, is visiting under such sad circumstances. Her brother, a respected historian, has died. She has inherited his house in Sienna and his unfinished research project; an investigation of Sienna during the Black Plague of the 14th century.

You can see where this is going. And she does go. To 14th century Sienna, where she becomes a Scribe for the Sisters who run the local ‘hospital’. She also falls in love with the sexy Gabrielli Accorsi who just happens to be painting a mural on the wall of the hospital.

There were a lot of things to like, but despite its potential, the book wasn’t very exciting. And, it wasn’t believable. Time travel books are by nature unbelievable, but if there is enough adventure and suspense, the reader doesn’t have time to worry about it. I liked the characters in both timelines. I thought the evil characters were appropriately vicious. But the story moved too slowly. I had too much time to think about how it couldn’t possibly happen. ( )
  msjudy | May 24, 2018 |
I could not put this book down.It was a lot like Outlander but the location was Italy. We'll written,a first novel. Takes place during the Renaissance when the plaque is beginning. ( )
  joanmd2 | Feb 10, 2018 |
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The problem with being a neurosurgeon is that when the telephone rings, you have to answer it.
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"Equal parts transporting love story and gripping historical conspiracy--think The Girl with a Pearl Earring meets Outlander--debut author Melodie Winawer takes readers deep into medieval Italy, where the past and present blur and a twenty-first century woman will discover a plot to destroy Siena. 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"--… (more)

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