When 16-year-old Laura della Scala learns that her older sister, Beatrice, has drowned, she is given no time to grieve. Instead, Laura’s father removes her from the convent where he forcibly sent her years earlier and orders her to marry Beatrice’s fiancé, a repulsive old merchant named Vincenzo. Panicked, Laura betrays a powerful man to earn her way into the Segreta, a shadowy society of women who deal in only one currency—secrets. The Segreta seems like the answer to Laura’s prayers. The day after she joins their ranks, Vincenzo is publicly humiliated and conveniently exiled. Soon, however, Laura begins to suspect that her sister’s death was not a tragic accident but a cold-blooded murder—one that might involve the Segreta and the women she has come to trust.
*Galley provided by publisher for honest review*
I have an overwhelming love for Assassins’ Creed II, I am overly Italian, my dream is to go to Italy. How could I give up an opportunity to read Cross My Heart? Answer: I couldn’t. So I read it, and I read it in a three hour span of a long car ride down to North Carolina for my Spring Break vacation. It was a slow beginning, but after the first few chapters, I was enchanted with the elegant and vengeful world of Venice that Sasha Gould had created.
Being the sister sent to a convent in order to give herself to God, while her older sister Beatrice is sentenced to an arranged marriage, Laura is surprised to be stripped from her compound and brought back home. Truth be told, it’s not the family reunion she’d been expecting after years of being locked. Beatrice had drowned and it was Laura’s turn to bring the glory of her family’s name back from the six foot grave it propelled itself into and by doing that: marrying her sister’s betrothed. Repulsed by her old and vile suitor, Laura exchanged her loyalty and a secret to the most powerful man of the city in order to call off her wedding, but doesn’t understand the situation she’d gotten herself into. Because skeletons in the closet are ones worst nightmare and Laura can’t shake Venice’s most powerful secret.
Beautifully written. Elegant and vivid, I adored Laura and the wonderfully enchanting painter her emotions become adorned to. The high life of 1500s Venice was gorgeous, the dances, the dresses, the Italian men. I was swooning right out of the car at 70 mph! How I wished to partake in the royalties that Laura had been invited too, even to meet a gorgeous painter boy. Oh, a girl can dream.
The realistic aspect of Laura, the submissive woman within a male society and the growth of her character, the elevated secondary characters, how, even though Beatrice was taken out of the novel from the get-go, you learn about her throughout as if she’d never left the novel. It was just a wonderful concoction of characters that made the story come to life, a beautifully told tale with mystery and suspicion weaved in.
Cross My Heart is a novel that you shouldn’t have to look twice upon. The writing vividly paints the time period as it should, the characters are in their height and glory, and the dark element of secrets brings out the elements needed to progress the novel further and further. Ms. Gould leaves you stunned as one piece fits with another until the whole puzzle finally comes together.
First Line: This gondola slips through the water like a knife cutting into dark silk.