The Scribe of 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.

The Scribe of Siena Details

TitleThe Scribe of Siena
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 16th, 2017
PublisherTouchstone
ISBN1501152254
ISBN-139781501152252
Number of pages464 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Fiction, Romance, Fantasy

The Scribe of Siena Review

  • Crystal King
    April 17, 2017
    I loved this time-travel, medieval Italian tale with its trifecta of love, science and art, combining together for some fantastic historical fiction. Winawer has done her homework and she brings the time of 1347 to the reader in fascinating and accessible way. I loved the mystery that brought present and past together in the centuries old rivalry between Siena and Florence. There is a little magic, and a lot of intrigue, danger and passion, and I found myself loathe to put this book down as the I loved this time-travel, medieval Italian tale with its trifecta of love, science and art, combining together for some fantastic historical fiction. Winawer has done her homework and she brings the time of 1347 to the reader in fascinating and accessible way. I loved the mystery that brought present and past together in the centuries old rivalry between Siena and Florence. There is a little magic, and a lot of intrigue, danger and passion, and I found myself loathe to put this book down as the hours dwindled late into the night. I've seen other descriptions of the novel in how it will "sweep you away" and it is true. Scribe of Siena is a wonderful, must-read novel.
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  • Andrea Johnson
    March 12, 2017
    I read an advanced copy of this delightful book on Jellybooks. I knew nothing about the story, but was thrilled to find not only was it historical fiction, but also time travel, two of my favorites in one! I really enjoyed this book and will look forward to more in the future
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    April 17, 2017
    DNF 51%!I so wanted to like this book since time travel books are a favorite genre of mine. But, the more I read the more I started to get annoyed with the book and at this point, I can't see how it could get any better. Some thoughts I had about the book:* I can't see how a modern woman can adjust to Italy in the 14th-century so well. Just understanding the language or being understood should be hard. * Did she magically transport back in time? No clue since no explanation is given, perhaps it DNF 51%!I so wanted to like this book since time travel books are a favorite genre of mine. But, the more I read the more I started to get annoyed with the book and at this point, I can't see how it could get any better. Some thoughts I had about the book:* I can't see how a modern woman can adjust to Italy in the 14th-century so well. Just understanding the language or being understood should be hard. * Did she magically transport back in time? No clue since no explanation is given, perhaps it will come at the end of the book, but I'm not really that eager to find out.* The painter is living in the house Beatrice lived in the future. And, they seem to be fated to be together. Too bad that their romance is lacking all the chemistry needed for it to work. And, that the whole fated thing is bothering me. * The Medici murder thing and pestilence plot felt unnecessary and boring and the "villain" is so inept that it's laughable. Is she sent back in time to stop this or what? I don't care.* The author absolute done a great job with the research, but the story is wordy and slow and I failed to connect with the characters. Honestly, as I wrote this little "review" did I have to think for a couple of seconds to remember Beatrice name. Oh, and Beatrice is apparently psychic also. Can feel others feelings and see things. I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • Cynthia
    February 16, 2017
    A solid and entertaining debut, with a likable, resourceful main character, a charming love interest, and a wonderful supporting cast. Add in a gripping phase in history, time travel, and a beautiful setting, and you've got everything needed for page-turning historical/fantasy fiction. I look forward to more from this author.
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  • Jenny Williams
    March 25, 2017
    THE SCRIBE OF SIENA will inevitably—and rightfully—earn comparisons to OUTLANDER on the basis of its time-travel and romance elements. But to stop there does a disservice to the intricate, unique world Melodie Winawer creates in this cross-genre gem. The female characters are strong and distinctive—such a treat!—and the intersection of romance and history kept me thoroughly engaged throughout. Pure escapism with a touch of magic and modern medicine. Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an hon THE SCRIBE OF SIENA will inevitably—and rightfully—earn comparisons to OUTLANDER on the basis of its time-travel and romance elements. But to stop there does a disservice to the intricate, unique world Melodie Winawer creates in this cross-genre gem. The female characters are strong and distinctive—such a treat!—and the intersection of romance and history kept me thoroughly engaged throughout. Pure escapism with a touch of magic and modern medicine. Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kelsey Manning
    July 18, 2016
    Basically Outlander but in medieval Italy. Very entertaining.
  • Paul Pessolano
    February 22, 2017
    “The Scribe of Siena” by Melodie Winawer, published by Touchstone Books.Category – Historical Fiction Publication Date - May 16, 2017.This novel will give the reader a little History, a little Romance, and a little transporting, plus a great read.Beatrice Trovato is a modern day neurosurgeon whose brother lives in Siena and is studying the Plague of 1347 and the resultant damage done to the city of Siena. He uncovers what may be a sinister plot by its neighbor Tuscany and the Medici family. Beat “The Scribe of Siena” by Melodie Winawer, published by Touchstone Books.Category – Historical Fiction Publication Date - May 16, 2017.This novel will give the reader a little History, a little Romance, and a little transporting, plus a great read.Beatrice Trovato is a modern day neurosurgeon whose brother lives in Siena and is studying the Plague of 1347 and the resultant damage done to the city of Siena. He uncovers what may be a sinister plot by its neighbor Tuscany and the Medici family. Beatrice’s brother dies and she goes to Siena to try and finish his work. While working on the project Beatrice is transported back to the Siena of 1347. She is immediately faced with problems due to her dress and her medical knowledge, to say nothing of her bra and safety pins. Beatrice befriends Gabriele Accorsi a painter who witnesses a murder and becomes involved in the judiciary system of Siena. Beatrice finds herself falling in love with Gabriele and the Siena of 1347. This becomes a problem when she is transported back to the modern day. She finds a way back to 1347 Siena and must use her knowledge to help Gabriele at his trial and help people with her medical knowledge without them suspecting that she is more than what she appears to be. Does her life belong in the modern day or the Siena of 1347?
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  • Kim Killian
    January 1, 2017
    An opportunity from JellyBooks to be one of the first to read this debut book from a 1st time author Melodie Winawer. It's set in the 14th century Italy - where Beatrice Trovato the main character finds herself transported from modern day as a neurosurgeon to the past as a scribe. It's a romance hidden within a "historical conspiracy". Her brother, a historian dies expectantly and she travels to Italy to handle the estate. As the story unfolds she discovers a conspiracy that had happened over 70 An opportunity from JellyBooks to be one of the first to read this debut book from a 1st time author Melodie Winawer. It's set in the 14th century Italy - where Beatrice Trovato the main character finds herself transported from modern day as a neurosurgeon to the past as a scribe. It's a romance hidden within a "historical conspiracy". Her brother, a historian dies expectantly and she travels to Italy to handle the estate. As the story unfolds she discovers a conspiracy that had happened over 700 years earlier.While there she discovers the paintings of a Gabriele Accorsi, a 14th century painter who created a an image of her - how could this be? Find out as she's transported back in time, discover the plot, her falling in love with not only the city but with Gabriele just as the Plague is about to unfold. Will she survive?The story is beautifully and historically told, the intrinsic details build upon each other and provide a strong backdrop to a conspiracy that will keep you reading.
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  • Donna
    April 9, 2017
    More to come closer to pub date but I really enjoyed this book. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.-*-*-*-*-*-The beginning didn't completely pull me in but I kept going and so glad I did. One of the best parts of historical fiction is the "fiction" part. The author takes history (or what we know of certain things) and adds the magic of creativity & imagination to give us something fabulous. We've all heard of different plagues that struck Europe and one in particular decimate More to come closer to pub date but I really enjoyed this book. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.-*-*-*-*-*-The beginning didn't completely pull me in but I kept going and so glad I did. One of the best parts of historical fiction is the "fiction" part. The author takes history (or what we know of certain things) and adds the magic of creativity & imagination to give us something fabulous. We've all heard of different plagues that struck Europe and one in particular decimated Siena more than any other city but the reasons for this aren't truly known. I love the story MW created around this event. The descriptions in & around Siena are so vivid that everything came to life in my head. Google image search was my very close friend while reading this as I just had to see what MW was telling us about.Even though most of the events occur in the 14th C., the relationship between Gabriele and Beatrice (love the true Italian way of pronouncing her name) was genuine and true to the love between a man and woman, no matter the century.
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  • Inigomontoya
    January 28, 2017
    1/28/2017: That was actually quite good, once the plot picked up the pace. Rtc.1/30/2017: In his chamber the despair and horror of the day tore through Iacopo afresh. He lay upon the floor, weeping but without the damp solace of tears.*The Scribe of Siena, once I got past about 30%, was actually seriously good. It took me about a month to move through the slow parts, but once I did, it got good fast. The book starts off by introducing the main character, Beatrice, who is a neurosurgeon, as well 1/28/2017: That was actually quite good, once the plot picked up the pace. Rtc.1/30/2017: In his chamber the despair and horror of the day tore through Iacopo afresh. He lay upon the floor, weeping but without the damp solace of tears.*The Scribe of Siena, once I got past about 30%, was actually seriously good. It took me about a month to move through the slow parts, but once I did, it got good fast. The book starts off by introducing the main character, Beatrice, who is a neurosurgeon, as well as some of her friends and her background. Plot happens, she goes back in time...somehow, to the 1300s when the plague is about to hit Siena, more stuff happens, she falls in love, more stuff, there's a lot of death, and the ending was neatly wrapped up. The one thing I didn't like about this book (other than the slow beginning) was the amount of questions it left me with. How was Beatrice really able to travel through time? What was with her ability to see into other people's...feelings, I guess? How did she manage to land exactly where she needed to? (No really, what was up with her powers?) However, the plot was intriguing. I don't read a lot of time travel books (though I plan to change that), but even though this concept wasn't the most original, it was executed very well. The writing flowed well- it wasn't too choppy, but it also wasn't too flowery and poetic. All the characters felt pretty realistic and three dimensional, and none of them made me particularly angry with their stupid actions. The reveal at the end also didn't feel like it came out of nowhere, because looking back on it, it had been implied through the whole book. The way Iacopo was dealt with felt a little odd and probably could have been handled better, but it also fit the book. I have to say, I totally called that twist in the middle. Of course, I didn't know it immediately, but I totally called it. 4/5 stars, would recommend. *quote taken from ARC. This review, and others, can also be found on my blog.
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  • Jelilat Adesiyan
    December 1, 2016
    I was extremely glad i received the email from Jellybooks that enabled me to read this book. For those who didn’t see my last post, Jellybooks is a company that collects reading data and gives readers the option to choose one of several books to read. I’s so glad I chose this book.I love historical fiction, especially when they involve an element of time travel. I’m really glad that the description of this book drew me in and that I chose I among all others. That’s 2 for 2 with the Jellybooks! ( I was extremely glad i received the email from Jellybooks that enabled me to read this book. For those who didn’t see my last post, Jellybooks is a company that collects reading data and gives readers the option to choose one of several books to read. I’s so glad I chose this book.I love historical fiction, especially when they involve an element of time travel. I’m really glad that the description of this book drew me in and that I chose I among all others. That’s 2 for 2 with the Jellybooks! (Yeaaaahhhh).The title of this book aptly if not broadly describes the content of the book (not!). It does and it doesn’t, but isn’t that the fun of titles. The novel features Beatrice, named after the Dante’s lady, and an artist named Gabriele (Gab-re-eleh). Beatrice while in Siena following the trail of her brother’s, Ben, research falls through time to medicinal 1300 Siena. A land of deep flavors and intrigue. There she finds a city that welcomes her, finds new love and family, and all before the Black plague fills the city with death. But why does Siena fare worse than other italian communes?I’m just going to throw in some spoilers. I love that Beatrice got to have her modern amenities, and that she said goodbye in many ways, and I especially loved that epilogue. I’m going to miss the story.It’s pretty clear that I loved this book. I’ll definitely give it a five-star rating, and would definitely recommend it to my friends.You should definitely buy/ pre-order it!
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  • Kim McGee
    February 28, 2017
    Beautifully crafted tale that blends modern day with 14th century Siena. Beatrice has just lost her only family- her older brother that has raised her. She travels to Siena where Ben has lived for years researching the great plague that almost killed the entire city and its orgins. As Beatrice reads an old journal of a 14th century painter named Gabriele Accorsi and sees herself in his painting she is transported back in time. She becomes a scribe and soon becomes comfortable in her surroundings Beautifully crafted tale that blends modern day with 14th century Siena. Beatrice has just lost her only family- her older brother that has raised her. She travels to Siena where Ben has lived for years researching the great plague that almost killed the entire city and its orgins. As Beatrice reads an old journal of a 14th century painter named Gabriele Accorsi and sees herself in his painting she is transported back in time. She becomes a scribe and soon becomes comfortable in her surroundings and the people of Siena. Beatrice finds herself learning more about Gabriele and the terrible plague that she is powerless to prevent or protect her new friends. The language is lush and you will easily see yourself in old Siena alongside Beatrice. Add to this the political intrigue, a new romance and the deadly threat that will soon take over Italy and you will be transported. This is "The Borgias" meets "Outlander". My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Jillian
    December 30, 2016
    This book held my attention from the first page to the last, and I absolutely could not put it down. The story was both realistic and fantastic, in the best possible combination. Beatrice’s character is perfectly created, and she acts and thinks in a very realistic and convincing manner.Everything from the historical to the fantastical is portrayed in such perfect clarity that you find yourself beleiving the entire tale, from beginning to end, and cheering for the characters as they navigate the This book held my attention from the first page to the last, and I absolutely could not put it down. The story was both realistic and fantastic, in the best possible combination. Beatrice’s character is perfectly created, and she acts and thinks in a very realistic and convincing manner.Everything from the historical to the fantastical is portrayed in such perfect clarity that you find yourself beleiving the entire tale, from beginning to end, and cheering for the characters as they navigate the murky waters of political intruigue and the coming of the plague which destroyed over half of the Siena population at the time.This book was provided by Jellybooks. You can see the rest of my review here: https://bookendtobookend.wordpress.co...
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  • Sofia
    December 8, 2016
    I got this book free from Jellybooks. It has been described as similar to Outlander, and I can total see that, but it is also completely it's own book. The main character, Beatrice, is relatable and interesting and her special empathy is a really fascinating character trait. The intrigue of the Sienese plague mystery was really fun to follow and discover and the the descriptions of Italy and medieval life were so detailed and interesting. Also, I just love that Beatrice becomes a scribe. So cool I got this book free from Jellybooks. It has been described as similar to Outlander, and I can total see that, but it is also completely it's own book. The main character, Beatrice, is relatable and interesting and her special empathy is a really fascinating character trait. The intrigue of the Sienese plague mystery was really fun to follow and discover and the the descriptions of Italy and medieval life were so detailed and interesting. Also, I just love that Beatrice becomes a scribe. So cool. I already like historical fiction and romance and learning about other cultures, so it was probably inevitable that I would like this book, but I would definitely recommend it if you like the same genres because this was a great read.
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  • Margaret
    December 14, 2016
    I loved this book. Takes place mostly in Italy and involves time travel. Lots of historical background and some fictional details. Just hated finishing this book. I hope the author will write a sequel. Totally unexpected as I read the book as part of a study for the publisher. I am so delighted to have stumbled on this gem.
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  • Kat
    January 16, 2017
    FanTASTIC book. So glad Jellybooks invited me to read this one.
  • Carly
    April 18, 2017
    Review:Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster for sending an ARC copy in exchange for my honest opinion. As well as including me in the http://content.simonandschuster.ca/ti... (Timeless Tour)I absolutely love any book that has to do with time traveling to the past or future, so when I received this book, I dropped everything and started to read it. Winawer has done her research and is able to take readers back in time and experience the hardships that many had faced. With many of the other b Review:Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster for sending an ARC copy in exchange for my honest opinion. As well as including me in the http://content.simonandschuster.ca/ti... (Timeless Tour)I absolutely love any book that has to do with time traveling to the past or future, so when I received this book, I dropped everything and started to read it. Winawer has done her research and is able to take readers back in time and experience the hardships that many had faced. With many of the other books that have been included in this Blog Tour, the female character again takes hold and controls the tale. It is different to read a book such as this one from a female perspective, but it encompasses many different thoughts that would not have been possible with a male point of view. Beatrice Trovato is a strong female that is not afraid to challenge those around her. Starting as a neurosurgeon and later a Scribe in the past, she is able to accomplish it all. Not only revolving around the past, The Scribe of Siena has also a twist of romance in it, along with incorporating the past challenges with knowledge from the future *cough* the plague *cough*.The only question I had was how Beatrice was able to tell/travel the future or the past. It was an odd gift that was not fully explained in the storyline. Other than that, the tale is perfectly told and includes a variety of novel genres.The story is beautifully and historically told, the intrinsic details build upon each other and provide a strong backdrop to a conspiracy that will keep you reading.
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  • Luella Lee
    April 9, 2017
    I received a free copy of this book from a Simon and Shuster Canada. I really wanted to love this book. Honestly. I thought the premise was promising. Who doesn't love a great romantic tale and time travel. But, I thought it was truly lacking any sustained romance and I had no idea how Beatrice time travelled? I must have missed that. I did learn much about the plague though.Don't get me wrong, this was a great effort of a first novel, but I think the author tried to mix too many elements of acc I received a free copy of this book from a Simon and Shuster Canada. I really wanted to love this book. Honestly. I thought the premise was promising. Who doesn't love a great romantic tale and time travel. But, I thought it was truly lacking any sustained romance and I had no idea how Beatrice time travelled? I must have missed that. I did learn much about the plague though.Don't get me wrong, this was a great effort of a first novel, but I think the author tried to mix too many elements of accuracy of the times and language and the story itself felt flat and too was too long. As an aside, archivists don't allow original copies of works to leave their buildings. This happened twice in the novel.
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  • Joy (joyous reads)
    April 19, 2017
    What a delight!Love, love.
  • Denice Barker
    March 29, 2017
    The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer Wow. Well, where do I start? If you like time travel stories, and I do, if you like reading about medieval times, and I do, if you are interested in anything about The Plague, and I am, then truly, this book had only to prove itself a bad choice because it didn’t deliver. But, oh, it does, it does deliver. Beatrice Trovato and her brother Ben are both in the medical field. Beatrice is a neurosurgeon who can immerse herself so deeply in her patients she can The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer Wow. Well, where do I start? If you like time travel stories, and I do, if you like reading about medieval times, and I do, if you are interested in anything about The Plague, and I am, then truly, this book had only to prove itself a bad choice because it didn’t deliver. But, oh, it does, it does deliver. Beatrice Trovato and her brother Ben are both in the medical field. Beatrice is a neurosurgeon who can immerse herself so deeply in her patients she can read their thoughts, while Ben is a medieval Plague scholar living in Siena, Italy. When Beatrice finds that she is too tangled in the brain ganglia of her patients, she decides to finally visit her brother. Before she can arrive, by mere days, Ben dies and leaves his research and home to Beatrice. While looking through Ben’s research Beatrice finds he was trying to unravel a conspiracy that could explain why Siena was particularly hard hit by and never fully recovered from the Plague. In the journal of 14th century artist Gabriele Accorsi, she finds a portal to medieval Siena and just months before the Plague arrives she lands there. With what little knowledge she gathered before her ‘trip’ and with Accorsi’s journal, Beatrice finds herself in the middle of the conspiracy Ben was investigating, and while Ben’s research was through ancient documents, hers is first hand. Other than the lack of toilet paper, Beatrice falls in love with medieval life, and with Accorsi. The Plague fast on their heels, Beatrice finds herself torn between life in medieval Siena or in her own time. The question for her is, when is her own time? I only questioned to myself the time altering decisions Beatrice made. If she had not been there, what would have happened to these people. Because she was there what was she changing? As I kept reading these questions were answered. I wasn’t disappointed. This story wasn’t easy, it was dense, complicated, layered, well researched and smart.
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  • Madeline Mora-Summonte
    April 11, 2017
    * I received this ARC through a giveaway on BookBrowse. *This is a thoroughly enjoyable time-travel, historical fiction read. It's packed with history and art, mystery and romance. Smart, strong female characters abound, through all the time periods and places - from the main character of Beatrice to Donata to Sister Umilta and Ysabella, these women are far more interesting - to this reader, anyway - than most of their male counterparts. An excellent debut!
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  • Caity
    March 12, 2017
    Historical uncertainties leave room for fictional invention The fun thing about historical fiction is that ambiguity and uncertainty inherent in certain time periods leave a lot of room for play. That leads to stories like The Scribe of Siena, about a neurosurgeon in New York who travels to Siena, Italy to continue her recently deceased brother's research. From there, she winds up on the trail of a possible conspiracy leading to the fall of the city, assuming she can survive long enough to share Historical uncertainties leave room for fictional invention The fun thing about historical fiction is that ambiguity and uncertainty inherent in certain time periods leave a lot of room for play. That leads to stories like The Scribe of Siena, about a neurosurgeon in New York who travels to Siena, Italy to continue her recently deceased brother's research. From there, she winds up on the trail of a possible conspiracy leading to the fall of the city, assuming she can survive long enough to share what she has learned.I want to say upfront that the half star was docked from this book's score solely because of the length of some of the chapters. One was 43 pages and I am not a fan of chapters exceeding 15 pages in length. As you can likely see by the number of books I have going at any one point in time, I've got a bit of reading ADD.That said, this book has FAR more strengths than weaknesses. Chief among them is Winawer's attention to detail, which feeds into and strengthens the narrative of the story. The world she creates in mid-14th Century Siena is rich and deeply imagined, coming to vivid life in my mind as I read. I don't remember the last book that was this effortless for me to imagine how things looked, felt, and smelled. As an example, I had never seen pictures of the Ospedale before, yet the other day I googled it out of curiosity and it was identical to what I had pictured as I read the book, down to the set-up of the other buildings and streets around it.That takes a special level of skill and Melodie Winawer has got it.Beatrice, our main character on this historical romantic adventure, was another relatively strong point. While she maybe could have been a little more flawed, it wasn't particularly necessary in this case due to the inherent flaws that came with a 21st Century woman being transported to 1347 and required to figure out how to function in a new, but old, society.Overall, I very highly recommend this book and actually intend to buy a hard copy myself. I may even spring for a hard cover, and I save those for special cases.
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  • Katherine
    November 22, 2016
    Thank you to Jellybooks.com for the free ebook. This book started out slowly, but picked up steam about a third of the way in. Reminiscent of the Outlander series but with medieval Italy, a less steamy romance, and mind-reading/empath abilities. Beatrice is a modern-day surgeon who begins to feel something is amiss when she starts feeling her patients' emotions during her surgeries. When her brother dies in Italy, she travels to Siena to wrap up his affairs and gets sucked into the research he w Thank you to Jellybooks.com for the free ebook. This book started out slowly, but picked up steam about a third of the way in. Reminiscent of the Outlander series but with medieval Italy, a less steamy romance, and mind-reading/empath abilities. Beatrice is a modern-day surgeon who begins to feel something is amiss when she starts feeling her patients' emotions during her surgeries. When her brother dies in Italy, she travels to Siena to wrap up his affairs and gets sucked into the research he was doing into why the plague was so much worse in Siena than elsewhere. When she encounters a painting by a medieval painter that bears a strong resemblance to her face, she is transported back in time to medieval Siena just a few months before the plague is due to hit. While I enjoyed this book overall, I felt there were some flaws. First, the time travel was a bit wishy-washy; basically the reason she could time travel was because she was special and she didn't have a connection to any particular time. It felt too convenient of a device. Second, it's a bit of a stretch to think that a modern surgeon, afforded every bit of a freedom that comes with, would be happy in a medieval society functioning as a scribe. Not to say that it couldn't happen; in fact, the author herself is a neurosurgeon, so she probably has a better idea of what would satisfy a surgeon that I do. But it still seems unlikely and was enough to keep me from sinking fully into the story. These were both minor flaws, however; the biggest was the story of what I'll call the "plague conspiracy," encompassing both the medieval actions to spread the plague and the modern-day attempt by other scholars to steal the research Beatrice's brother had been conducting. This book was going for an "ah ha!" moment a la The Da Vinci Code, but it fell far short.That said, the book was still entertaining, and while I'm not sure I would recommend this book to people unless they were fans of Outlander, I will probably take a look at her future works.
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  • Betty
    January 2, 2017
    Review coming soon.
  • Kelsi H
    April 23, 2017
    Please read all of my reviews at http://ultraviolentlit.blogspot.ca!Beatrice Trovato is a successful neurosurgeon living in New York. Orphaned at birth, Beatrice was raised by her older brother Benjamin, who named her after Dante’s muse. He insisted they honor their Italian heritage and learn to speak the language, which came in handy when Ben moved to Siena three years ago. Beatrice has never visited him there, and she is ready to change that – but before she can go, she receives the devastatin Please read all of my reviews at http://ultraviolentlit.blogspot.ca!Beatrice Trovato is a successful neurosurgeon living in New York. Orphaned at birth, Beatrice was raised by her older brother Benjamin, who named her after Dante’s muse. He insisted they honor their Italian heritage and learn to speak the language, which came in handy when Ben moved to Siena three years ago. Beatrice has never visited him there, and she is ready to change that – but before she can go, she receives the devastating news that Ben has died suddenly of a heart condition.Since childhood, Beatrice has always had a powerful sense of empathy. It often connects her to her patients, and being able to feel what they feel has occasionally helped her to save lives. However, her empathic feelings are growing stronger, and beginning to impede her work. It seems like the perfect time to take a leave of absence and travel to Siena to deal with Ben’s estate, including the mysterious research he was involved with at the time of his death.Benjamin was a microbiologist, but his interest in Italian history led him to research 14th century Siena and its fall from power during the aftermath of the plague. When Beatrice reads through Ben’s papers, she finds intriguing clues that point towards a conspiracy to decimate the city – Siena’s decline might have been a political powerplay, caused by the city’s enemies and their intentional spread of the plague. Also included in Ben’s research are the journals of Medieval painter Gabriele Accorsi, who seems to be somehow involved in the plot against Siena. Beatrice immediately feels a connection to the artist, and when she uncovers one of his paintings on the walls of Ben’s home, she finds an image of her own face painted by Gabriele. Inexplicably, her empathic connection to Gabriele draws her back in time, and she arrives suddenly in the year 1347. She is still in Ben’s neighbourhood, but nothing else is familiar, and it’s not long before her modern sensibilities get her into trouble. Fortunately, Suor Umilta from Siena’s Ospedale della Scala is in search of a scribe, and Beatrice takes the job in exchange for a sense of security in this unknown world.Through her work as scribe, Beatrice soon meets Gabriele – and their connection in person is just as strong as it was through his painting. However, happiness is fleeting as they are threatened not only by the impending plague but also by the ruthless Florentine men who wish to destroy Siena’s political power. The details of Medieval life are intriguing and thoroughly researched, and the collision of art and science (and artist and neurosurgeon) is fascinating.The Scribe of Siena is immersive historical fiction, seen from the modern perspective of Beatrice, a strong, capable woman who is able to deal with extraordinary circumstances. Of course it is not always realistic, and the time travel aspect is mostly left unexplained, but it is well worth it to suspend disbelief and enjoy this clever, entertaining novel. It will inevitably be compared to Outlander because of the plot, but I also think it is very similar in tone and character. I’m curious to see whether this novel is also expanded into a series, as I think it would work very well. I received this book from Touchstone Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Milena
    April 30, 2017
    I love historical fiction and I love time-travel, and so I was very excited to get a chance to read The Scribe of Siena early. Most of time-travel books I read take place in England or Scotland therefore I really liked the fact that in The Scribe of Siena we get to visit 14th century Siena, during the time when the Plague swept across Europe. I love strong heroines and I really liked Beatrice, who is a neurosurgeon in the present. Once she was transported to the past she was quick to think on he I love historical fiction and I love time-travel, and so I was very excited to get a chance to read The Scribe of Siena early. Most of time-travel books I read take place in England or Scotland therefore I really liked the fact that in The Scribe of Siena we get to visit 14th century Siena, during the time when the Plague swept across Europe. I love strong heroines and I really liked Beatrice, who is a neurosurgeon in the present. Once she was transported to the past she was quick to think on her feet and to adapt to a new, harsher reality. There are also a lot of interesting secondary characters who enriched the story and added to my enjoyment of the book. I also loved learning about life in medieval Italy, the rivalry between two great cities, Florence and Siena, and the origins of the Plague. Some of the aspects of time travel were a little hard to swallow and prevented me from suspending my disbelief entirely but overall I really enjoyed this book. *ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
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  • Megan
    April 25, 2017
    If you love history and time travel this is a great book, especially if you have an Outlander series hangover!Reading this book has also made me want to get myself to Siena, the author did a great job of bring the old and new Siena to life. You can tell that a lot of research and time went into creating a historically accurate account of the era used in the book. I found the end to be long, but I do thing I was partly to blame, I was picking the book up and reading in spurts near the end. I thin If you love history and time travel this is a great book, especially if you have an Outlander series hangover!Reading this book has also made me want to get myself to Siena, the author did a great job of bring the old and new Siena to life. You can tell that a lot of research and time went into creating a historically accurate account of the era used in the book. I found the end to be long, but I do thing I was partly to blame, I was picking the book up and reading in spurts near the end. I think it also seems long because there is some loose ends to tie up and it's nice to see an author dedicated to the book and story that way. Would overall recommend and enjoyed the read and history/facts I learned while I read.
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  • Annie
    April 21, 2017
    When I was younger and just getting into history, I used to think a lot about which time and place I might travel to if I ever got the chance. (Before I got older and realized that I would be burnt as a witch in most times and places.) One of the last times and places I ever wanted to go was 1348 in Europe. Unfortunately for the protagonist of Melodie Winawer’s The Scribe of Siena, that’s exactly where she ends up when she suddenly slips through time...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Typ When I was younger and just getting into history, I used to think a lot about which time and place I might travel to if I ever got the chance. (Before I got older and realized that I would be burnt as a witch in most times and places.) One of the last times and places I ever wanted to go was 1348 in Europe. Unfortunately for the protagonist of Melodie Winawer’s The Scribe of Siena, that’s exactly where she ends up when she suddenly slips through time...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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  • Ambur
    April 22, 2017
    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 favour 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!
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  • Mer
    April 21, 2017
    I loved this book! A fantastic look at Italy in the 14th century with tons of amazing detail...you really feel like you are in Siena! The perspective of Beatrice--a 21st century New Yorker and neurosurgeon--is so unique and adds a very cool twist to what is already a stunning work of historical fiction.
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