The reasons why I loved this book are pretty obvious, and Melissa’s post was the cherry on top of an exquisite cake.
The book is Eternally Artemisia – Some loves, like some women, are timeless by Melissa Muldoon, women fiction.
They say some loves travel through time and are fated to meet over and over again. For Maddie, an art therapist, who wrestles with the “peculiar feeling” she has lived previous lives and is being called to Italy by voices that have left imprints on her soul, this idea is intriguing. Despite her best efforts, however, proof of this has always eluded her. That is, until one illuminating summer in Italy when Maddie’s previous existences start to bleed through into her current reality. When she is introduced to the Crociani family—a noble clan with ties to the seventeenth-century Medici court that boasts of ancestors with colorful pasts—she finally meets the loves of her life. One is a romantic love, and another is a special kind of passion that only women share, strong amongst those who have suffered greatly yet have triumphed despite it.
As Maddie’s relationship develops with Artemisia Gentileschi—an artist who in a time when it was unheard of to denounce a man for the crime of rape, did just that—Maddie discovers a kindred spirit and a role model, and just what women are capable of when united together.
In a journey that arcs back to biblical days and moves forward in time, Maddie encounters artists, dukes, designers, and movie stars as well as baser and ignoble men. With Artemisia never far from her side, she proves that when we dare to take control of our lives and find the “thing” we are most passionate about, we are limitless and can touch the stars.
Other buy links: Barnes & Noble
Youtube Video Trailer for Eternally Artemisia
Meet the Author:
Melissa Muldoon is the author of three novels set in Italy: “Dreaming Sophia,” “Waking Isabella,” and “Eternally Artemisia.” All three books tell the stories of American women and their journeys of self-discovery to find love, uncover hidden truths, and follow their destinies to shape a better future in Italy.
Melissa is also the author of the Studentessa Matta website, where she promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog written in Italian and English (studentessamatta.com). Studentessa Matta means the “crazy linguist” and has grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per l’Italiano and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram feed. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Programs, which she co-leads with Italian schools in Italy to learn Italian in Italy. Through her website, she also offers the opportunities to live and study in Italy through Homestay programs. 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. She is an artist, designer, and illustrated the cover art for all three of her books. Melissa is also the managing director of Matta Press. 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. Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Eternally Artemisia, Waking Isabella, and Dreaming Sophia.
She also curates the Dreaming Sophia Art History blog site and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy, where you will find companion pictures for all three books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.
Get to know Artemisia Gentileschi: The real-life heroine of Eternally Artemisia
By Melissa Muldoon
Like my protagonist Maddie, in “Eternally Artemisia,” from the first day I was introduced to Artemisia in a darkened lecture hall in college, I have been fascinated and intrigued by the seventeenth-century artist’s story.
During her lifetime Artemisia suffered through many dark days. She lived in a male-dominated society and hence, because of her gender, as a young woman she lived a very restricted life, and her liberties were extremely limited by her father. She was kept a virtual prisoner in her own home, not allowed to venture out on her own. Artemisia endured sexual harassment and rape at the hands of her painting instructor Agostino Tassi. He lied to her, abused her, and after raping her coerced her into accepting his promise of marriage so he could continue having access to her bed.
When Agostino Tassi finally reneged on his proposal of marriage, hampered by the fact he was already married, with children by his wife and his sister-in-law, Artemisia and her father took him to court. This was highly unusual and practically unheard of for a woman to accuse her rapist publically in the seventeenth century. Yet, in very public trial Artemisia she endured great indignities, and was subjected to physical inspection in front of a judge as well as torture to prove she was the one telling the truth as her rapist looked on untouched.
Artemisia won her court case but left the courtroom in disgrace and almost lost her promising painting career. To save her reputation her father had plans of sending her to a convent, thinking no man would ever touch her since she was soiled goods. In the end, he bartered her off to a philandering Florentine man, and Artemisia was forced to leave her home town and begin life all over again in a new city. There she lived with a man she didn’t love or respect, and who stole her money. During her years in Florence, she also suffered several miscarriages.
And yet, none of these events prevented Artemisia from maturing into a strong, independent woman, a successful artist, and the first female to ever be admitted into Florence’s exclusive Art Academy. She persevered, using her art as therapy to rise from the ashes to become a world-renowned artist, painting for Kings and Dukes all over Europe and even in England. She surpassed her male peers because she developed her own unique style did not merely imitate the work of other men.
It could be said she was one of the first to champion the woman’s movement, refashioning traditional biblical themes, repurposing them so that in her canvases, women become the center of the viewer’s focus. In her paintings, she demonstrates that when women unite, and take control of their lives and their destinies, they become the heroes of the story. By the end of my story I want people to realize the brilliance of Artemisia. I want them also to be inspired by Artemisia’s message and be indomitable like the goddess Artemis for whom my heroine was named.
- 1st Prize: Win a 3-book set (Dreaming Sophia, Waking Isabella, and Eternally Artemisia) by Melissa Muldoon;
- 2nd and 3rd prizes: Win a paperback copy of Eternally Artemisia (open to USA & Canada / 3 winners total)
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