Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. I was not financially compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.
The Scribe of Siena Official Synopsis:
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.
If you love time travel romances, then you’ll probably enjoy The Scribe of Siena. It’s quite a bit like Outlander just with less explicit content and with an Italian Medieval setting instead of Scotland. Still, the book has a unique enough voice not to be derivative of Outlander and other time travel romances that came before. In all, it’s a wonderful read – especially if you love the Humanities and Art History.
Melodie Winawer also proves she’s a new author to watch out for. Her attention to historical details gives the book an authentic quality necessary for a successful historical fiction book. And overall, while I think there’s room for improvement, Winawer succeeds with her entertaining debut.
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What I loved most about the novel was the romance between Beatrice and Gabriele. Their love story has a magical soulmate quality that reminds me of the classic film romance, Somewhere in Time. I also enjoyed the suspenseful addition of The Black Plague. If you’re going to be sent back in time to be with a swoony leading man, the worst time in history might just be Siena right before the deadly outbreak. The time and setting, however, build the romantic suspense which makes for a more engaging read.
If I had a criticism, it would be the narrative style and pace. Every time the story would get interesting, the narration would switch to characters I wasn’t really interested in reading about. Most notably, the somewhat bland villain – whose motivations weren’t always convincing. I would have been more interested in the leaders of the Black Plague conspiracy idea than with a puppet who only wants to please his villainous father. And I would have much preferred if the narration stayed with the perspectives of Beatrice and Gabriele. That would have given the book a quicker pace.
Overall, while I didn’t love the novel, I still really liked it. Winawer shows great promise as an author and I look forward to her future work. So, if you’re looking for an entertaining historical romance, The Scribe of Siena would be a perfect choice!
The Scribe of Siena would make a fabulous limited series with a high budget. Perhaps on streaming (like Netflix) or on Cable. A beautiful artistic setting, a captivating romance, mixed with the appeal of time travel, would make this a wonderful miniseries for period drama fans!
Content Note: There are a couple of sex scenes in the book but not overly explicit. The book is PG-13-like.
Have you read The Scribe of Siena? What are your thoughts on this time travel romance? Let me know in the comments!
“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce
me. Aren’t you?”
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My
feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me
to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”