This novel combines the lives of three women of different times and cultures. Meg is a southern California gal, an editor for a publisher of travel books. Sofia is an older woman of Florence who claims to be a descendant of the Medici family. She hears the whisperings of Nora Orsini, granddaughter of the great Cosimo I and living in the sixteenth century.
The lives of these three women cross when Meg travels to Florence, a childhood dream and the promise of her father. Meg is introduced to Sofia through a mutual friend. Throughout Meg's week in Florence, she tries to unravel Sofia's story.
Meissner has created an interesting character study of three women. Meg's grandmother had a painting of herself as a child in Florence and that had put the dream to travel there into Meg's heart. While her father had promised to make it happen, Meg's parents had divorced and he had never followed through.
Sofia is convinced she is of the Medici line even though historical records indicate there are no living descendants of that historically important family of Florence. When Sofia is by statues or paintings, she can hear the whispers of Nora Orsini whose mother was killed and father abandoned her in the late 1500s.
Meissner skillfully interweaves the lives of these three women. She highlights the similarities in their families. For example, Nora's father abandons her. Meg's father made a promise he has not kept and has essentially abandoned her. Sofia's father is in the deep well of dementia, essentially leaving her.
Most of the novel takes place in Florence and there is a bit of a travel book feel to the novel. Unfortunately, there were not the gripping descriptions of buildings, statues, etc., to make me feel like I was really there. There is a hint of romance throughout the novel as Meg tries to figure out who she really loves.
Mostly the book is about women who are trying to understand who they are in the midst of life happening around them.
There was actually nothing “Christian” about this novel. This is a descent novel but not captivating nor page turning. There are discussion questions at the end.
Susan Meissner is an award-winning author of several novels. She is also a speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. When not writing she directs the Small Groups and Connection Ministries program at The Church at Rancho Bernardo in San Diego, California. She and her pastor husband are the parents of four young adults. You can find out more about her at www.susanmeissner.com.
WaterBrook Press, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.