Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dreaming Sophia: Book Spotlight

é bella! While I don't judge books by their covers, Dreaming Sophia: Because Dreaming is an Art caught my eye, due to its vibrant, colorful cover, which was designed and illustrated by the author, Melissa Muldoon. This author also has a dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta, and a special YouTube channel, to help others who wish to learn to speak Italian and to learn about the culture.

Here is my personal connection to Dreaming Sophia, which I hope to read, and all things Italian. Some of you may already know that I'm part Italian. My grandfather, Luigi, was from Sardinia.  He immigrated to Ellis Island, lived in NY, got married, and worked hard (he did something with boats at NY Harbor, I believe).  Grandpa was a gifted, ambidextrous musician who played the lute (and perhaps other instruments as well), and his eyes changed color.  He was fascinated by geography and was quite knowledgeable.  Perhaps because I was a skinny kid, he used to explain to me that there are three basic body types, ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph.  While I was growing up, Grandpa would bring our family the most delicious bread (and cheese) from a special Italian shop, which was probably the best I've ever tasted.  My mother, Lita Anna Maria, was proud of her Italian heritage (her homemade lasagna was world-class), and I am, too.  I'd love to travel to Italy in the future!

Below is more information about Dreaming Sophia, which was published in 2016, and author Melissa Muldoon.

Book Description:

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.

“Italy is the answer.”

Buy the Book: 

Amazon – print
Amazon / Kindle – ebook
Create Space
I-tunes – Apple Store-ebook
Barnes & Noble – ebook

Author's Bio:

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 ( 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.

Connect with the Author:   Website  ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ YouTube ~ Pinterest

Author Melissa Muldoon with actress Sophia Loren

Warm thanks to Laura from Italy Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour.  For more spotlights of this book as well as some giveaways, please visit Italy Book Tours' other stops for Dreaming Sophia


  1. That cover grabs my eye too. The book sounds good!

  2. I am also of Italian heritage. Italian culture is wonderful. Thus this book sounds appealing.

    That is a great cover.

    There was a time that my Italian was not half bad. However, I have lost most of it due to disuse :(

    1. Brian Joseph, you might want to visit the author's YouTube channel, to refresh your Italian language skills! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  3. That is a lovely cover and I'm always drawn to books with pretty covers. Reading about Italian culture sounds interesting and relaxing. Right now I have have so many books I want to read but find myself wasting time playing Yahtzee and Scrabble obsessively on my phone…..sigh

  4. That is a pretty cover, enjoy Dreaming Sophia! Your grandpa must have had beautiful eyes and the bread and cheese must have been delicious. Italian food is so good, we have a fav restaurant and bakery in Brooklyn we like to go to from time to time.
    Happy weekend :)

  5. This sounds lovely. My grandparents came through Ellis Island from Ireland and made their lives in NY.

  6. Yum! Nice to celebrate food heritage!

  7. This looks good and the cover is beautiful.

  8. I love the cover for this book! It sounds great- thanks for sharing!

  9. I love books where you learn about other things and Italian food is one of my favs.


  10. This sounds really interesting...and I love that cover...what a dress :)

    Thanks for sharing your story as well, it was wonderful!

  11. The cover is stunning! Thanks for sharing the story of your grandfather. :)

  12. The cover is beautiful and this does sound like a fantastic book for you. What a wonderful heritage. So much good food from Italy.

  13. I, too like the cover, and am glad you enjoyed the book. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man.

  14. Thank you Suko for featuring my book Dreaming Sophia! I hope you enjoy your journey with Sophia to Italy. Un abbraccio forte! Melissa

    1. Thank you for very much for stopping by, Melissa! :)

  15. As soon as I saw this post, I thought, what beautiful book cover! I'm glad it captured you as well. Good book covers draw me in. I loved the story of your grandfather. I'm not Italian (that I know of), but I still find stories of Italy fascinating.


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