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The Scribe of Siena

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,254 ratings  ·  706 reviews
“Like Outlander with an Italian accent.” —Real Simple

“A detailed historical novel, a multifaceted mystery, and a moving tale of improbable love.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Readers of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring…will be swept away by the spell of medieval Siena” (Library Journal, starred
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Gallery Books
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Melodie Winawer To recoup the money spent on building the bridge, soon after its completion, the government of Florence rented out the 46 shops built on it. Various t…moreTo recoup the money spent on building the bridge, soon after its completion, the government of Florence rented out the 46 shops built on it. Various tradesmen used the shops to start with, but in 1442 the government let them all to the Guild of Butchers. (1442 is about 100 years after the book takes place)

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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,254 ratings  ·  706 reviews

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Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beatrice Trovato is a top notch neurosurgeon residing in New York. Recently during operations she would start to feel a hum inside her head and instinctively know if the patient was in distress even before the monitors did. Perhaps it was time to visit her brother Ben in Italy who had been asking her on numerous occasions to come for a visit. However, sometimes bad luck or fate arrives. After she booked her flight to Siena news arrived her brother had died of heart failure leaving his much loved ...more
Angela M
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I went with Beatrice Trovato when she traveled back in time to 14th century Siena in this novel that held my interest from beginning to end. To enjoy time travel stories, a reader has to be accepting of a premise that a character is transported by some means to another time in history and sometimes the future. It's something I accept every time I read historical fiction whether it involves time travel or not . I feel as if I time travel whenever a book transports me to the past . In the case of ...more
Crystal King
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I did finish it. The last 70 pages were a struggle. It's more and more of the same.

This premise is nearly exactly like The Outlander although within different time periods. Here it is the present New York City and mid-14th century Siena, Italy. In the year before and within the Black Death / Plague.

Also, like Outlander, she is the time traveler and she is in medicine. A neurosurgeon of self-depreciating kindness and selfless 14 to 16 hour a day work applications. And there are all kinds of det
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
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
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this Advanced Reader's copy for a fair review and I'm delighted that this story did not disappoint. An engaging protagonist and a compelling time traveling story line kept me invested through the last page. Great storytelling in my favorite genre makes this a big win! ...more
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. ...more
Andrea Johnson
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jenny Williams
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Outlander fans & fans of time travel romance.
Back in November, I received an email from Simon & Schuster offering a free ebook if I was willing to take part in a study to help them learn more about how readers engaged with their books. All I had to do was create a Jellybooks account, pick my freebie, and start reading. At the end of every chapter, I would click on a button that said 'sync reading stream'... easy-peasy. Of the five book choices, I had already read one of them, and had my request on Netgalley declined for another. Thinking I ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
I'm a bit on the fence with this one. The writing was pretty good, but not quite great. The plot was solid overall, but things worked out a bit too nicely most of the time. Also, the protagonist was one of those people who seemed to be able to do everything, from effortlessly learning to be a medieval scribe to delivering babies. I guess I like my heroines a bit flawed. I did enjoy the book and this is an excellent debut, but maybe 3.5 ⭐️. ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
so... the fact it took me 5 weeks (!!!) to read this book should be telling. usually, a book like this would take me just a few days to read. each time i put this book down, i wasn't hugely compelled to pick it back up again. in theory, this novel should have been a dream read for me, ticking so many boxes: debut; doctor-author; historical fiction with a mystery arc; strong female lead... and yet. and. yet.

unfortunately i never really engaged with the scribe of siena. i found the suspension of d
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a ripping good story. I love time travel books for heir magical elements but also for the history they contain and Winawer seems to have done here research about the Medieval Era. The Scribe is set in Italy in the mid 1300's and features an American neuro of Italian descent living in New York. She travels to Italy due to a death in her family and begins to indulge her love of history until presto she lands in Medieval Siena right before the plague is due to hit Europe.

Miraculously (tongu
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)

Fantastic debut novel. Detailed, rich, immersive, atmospheric.

Fans of Susanna Kearsley will want to take note of this time slip fiction that sends a modern-day neurosurgeon back to 1300s Italy as the Plague is due to hit -- and in the Tuscan city worst affected by la Mortalità. Wrapped up in conspiracies and unfamiliar customs and culture, Beatrice must find the truth and where she belongs.

(view spoiler)
Jeannette Nikolova
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

It wasn't that the book was horrible, really. It was simply very, very dull.

I won't be the first or the last one to point out that The Scribe of Sienna reads a lot like Outlander, except that Outlander has better world-building, more vivid and interesting characters, and you know... Jamie.


In The Scribe of Sienna, we meet Beatrice, a New York neurosurgeon of Italian descent whose brother passes away in Sienna and she travels there to settle his affairs
Bree Hill
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Maybe now wasn’t the time for me to read this. It has just about everything I want in a story..but I would set it down and have to force myself to pick it back up after a while, both physically and the audiobook.
It has one of the best main characters I’ve ever read from the perspective of. I like how she stuck to her guns when in certain situations. I of course enjoyed the love story and how it developed..and the goodness! This is one of the only historical fiction time traveling sto
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
My mom's book club would really like this novel. The Scribe of Siena centers on Beatrice, a single, American neurosurgeon who somehow travels back in time to find love (and mystery!) in 14th century Siena. Don't get me wrong, the book is reasonably well-written, entertaining, and seems well-researched (at least to me, with my nonexistent knowledge of medieval Italy). And it would be a good beach read, accompanied by an ice cold margarita. But it was like reading the Italy chapters of Eat Pray Lo ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cheapthrills
Imagine a hybrid fantasy/historical fiction novel in which a neurosurgeon decides to complete the book her dead brother -- a Ph.D. specializing in the fourteenth century -- left unfinished, despite having no training in his field of research. If you can imagine how well that project would turn out, you can imagine how well this novel went, written by a neurosurgeon with no training in historical research or fiction writing.
Within the first few pages, Winawer invites us to suspend our disbelief b
The Lit Bitch
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was marketed to fans of Outlander and I can totally see why. Lady doctor some how time travels back hundreds of years and falls in love.

Sounds a lot like Outlander right? If you want to get that basic, then yes it is similar to Outlander, however this book is not Outlander so if you are looking for another book series that’s basically like Outlander, then I suggest looking elsewhere. Now that said, if you liked Outlander this book has similarities that you might find intriguing and int
Jelilat Adesiyan
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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! (
Luella Lee
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 18, 2016 added it
Shelves: for-work
Basically Outlander but in medieval Italy. Very entertaining.
Kim Killian
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5 stars for me
Read this at my library today trying to decide whether to carry the book a few miles, and then I just remained seated and finished it off quickly by skipping over parts. I wanted to give this one a chance because of the author's impressive education/career and perhaps unfairly had expectations raised a tad high. It is her first novel. I rarely enjoy fantasy/time travel schemes, so there you have it. Not for me.
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Meg Clayton
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
THE SCRIBE OF SIENA is one part historical mystery and one part love story with a captivating dose of art mixed in for good measure. If that weren't enough, it all comes together in that most evocative of settings: Siena, Italy. Winawer's smart debut is a joy to read! ...more
Monica Hills
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this time travel novel to Siena during the outbreak of the plague. On the cover someone compared this novel to Outlander meets Girl with a Pearl Earring. I have read both of those and this novel is no where close to the caliber of Outlander. However I enjoyed the history and the descriptions were great. There was intrigue, action and romance. I'm really glad that I came across this novel and would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction and time travel. ...more
Paul Pessolano
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it

“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
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Play Book Tag: The scribe of siena, 3.5? by Melodie Winnower 4 23 Apr 09, 2019 05:31AM  
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