Reading Journey 3: The Boys by Katie Hafner

Hello, fellow bookworm! Today I'm going to share with you updates on the book that I am reading, The Boys by Katie Hafner.  It's about an introverted man Ethan who fell in love with Barb, an extroverted woman. They thought that they complemented each other but it turns out their differences drove them apart.  In the beginning, Ethan left the most impression on me because of his introvertedness to which I could relate. His sad childhood made me identify with him more. When he met Barb, it's so nice seeing he's opening up to new experiences. Barb was his total opposite. She loved to explore the world.  They got married, went to an amazing escapade in Italy, but when they fostered twin boys, their relationship became wobbly. It was aggravated by the pandemic when people globally literally stayed and worked from home. This part made the story realistic as I also experienced staying at home, social distancing, and the wearing of the mask and plastic face shield.  The strain

A Book Review: The Scribe of Siena


Time travel is impossible. Stephen Hawking said that if it was possible, we could've met tourists from the future. Well, I have never heard of any news about people bumping into other people from the future, let alone meeting them in person. But then again,  it's exciting to imagine what could've happened if we could travel hundred years into the past or the future. Thanks to fiction, storytellers can invent people who travel forward and back in time

Melodie Winawer's debut novel, The Scribe of Siena,  is about Beatrice Alessandra Trovato,  a note-worthy neurosurgeon in New York. She was the sister of Benianimo Emmanuel Trovato,  a medieval scholar living in Siena. When her brother died, Beatrice became all alone in her life, and his brother left her a house in Siena and all of his work as a historian.  He discovered the real reason why Siena fell from its pinnacle after the bubonic plague. Fearing that her brother's work would fall into the hands of Sienese scholars who have malicious intent, Beatrice took over the research.  As she pored over manuscripts and books, something happened that changed her life completely. She traveled more than six hundred years into the past and found herself in medieval Siena. Confused, she had no choice but to find a way to blend in with the crowd before figuring out how to go back to the 21st century. 

Reading the Scribe of Siena was a marvelous experience. Winawer transported me to the mid-1300s in Siena as she described the people and places vividly. I have a penchant for history so I enjoyed reading every non-fictional and fictional detail of the lifestyle, culture, traditions, and beliefs of Sienese in the 14th century. Winawer conjured fictional characters and events based on some missing information in Sienese histories such as the painter of the fifth fresco of Ospedale of Siena and the prominent Florentine families who conspired against the Sienese government. 

One interesting point about this novel is it is told from multiple perspectives in shifting points of view. This is the first time I experience reading a story delivered in this way. The pronoun shift caused a little discomfort but I got used to it as I read more and got engrossed in the plot and the medieval world. 

All in all, I enjoyed The Scribe of Siena. I recommend it to readers who love historical, science fiction laced with romance and mystery. 

Discussion Questions

  1. When you hear the phrase “time travel”, what comes to your mind?

  2. How significant is the setting in the story? Did it make you enjoy the story more? Why or why not?

  3. Is the author’s description of place and time accurate? Why or why not?

  4. Describe Beatrice Trovato. 

  5. Who was your favorite character? Who was your least favorite character? Explain. 

  6. Discuss the plot of the story. Was it believable?

  7. What was your favorite moment in the story? Why?

  8. How does the title relate to the book?

  9. Did you like the book? Why or why not?

  10. In what ways did this story make you reflect on your own life?

Further Information

Title: The Scribe of Siena

Author: Melodie Winawer

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Gallery Books; Reprint edition (January 2, 2018)

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Print length: 480 pages

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1501152262

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1501152269