Winawer explores passionate love story in ‘Scribe of Siena’

“The Scribe of Siena” (Touchstone), by Melodie Winawer

When Beatrice Trovato’s brother dies unexpectedly, the accomplished neurosurgeon takes a leave of absence to settle his affairs. Traveling to Siena proves a welcome distraction from the hustle and bustle of home, and Italy is the perfect place to deal with her grief. Debut author Melodie Winawer provides Beatrice a little more than she bargains for in “The Scribe of Siena.”

Beatrice is determined to finish her brother’s research surrounding a 700-year-old conspiracy theory concerning medieval Siena. Poring over her brother’s notes, journals and paintings of a 14th-century painter named Gabriele Accorsi, Beatrice is shocked to see a familiar face staring back — her own.

She gets lost in the Accorsi journal and becomes fascinated with his life. She also gets lost in his timeline. After an emotional day, Beatrice finds herself miraculously transported to 1347 Siena. Having the historical knowledge from the Accorsi journal, Beatrice is able to somewhat blend into her surroundings. Thanks to her ability to read and write, she manages to acquire a job as a scribe in the building where Accorsi is working on his next project.

It’s love at first sight. Gabriele and Beatrice are drawn to each other in a supernatural way. Beatrice confides in Gabriele, explaining that she’s from the future and life as he knows it is about to change unless they join forces. An evil nobleman is determined to wipe out Siena — and Gabriele — in order to vindicate his famous father’s death. Should Gabriele and Beatrice manage to stop him, they still have something worse pending in the spring. The Plague is coming.

If you liked “Outlander,” you will enjoy “The Scribe of Siena.” Winawer’s physician background permeates the book, offering interesting medical details throughout the story. She paints a captivating story of time and place volleying with fate and love.