Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Cross My Heart

Cross My Heart
By Sasha Gould
Expected publication March 13, 2012 by Delacourte Books for Young Readers

Laura della Scala has lived the last few years in a convent, where her father forcibly entered her when she was young. Her life is about to change in ways she never could have imagined. When she discovers her older sister, Beatrice, has died, she is devastated. But instead of being able to mourn, she is told she will marry Beatrice’s intended – a repugnant old merchant named Vincenzo. Desperate for a way out of this fate, Laura stumbles upon the Segreta – a society of Venetian women that specialize in secrets. For a price, they may be able to help her.

I can’t remember if I picked this one up or if a publisher gave it to me but either way, I was happy to delve into it. I’m a big fan of historical fiction, but I don’t read a whole lot nowadays that doesn’t take place in America. Gould does a decent job of evoking the Venice of the 16th century – what’s proper behavior, courtly intrigue, vengeance, secrets, suspicion, and the high value of esteem. It’s interesting because I don’t really think the writing is spectacular, but it had me hooked all the same. I think the atmosphere that Gould has created is the most compelling aspect of the novel – who doesn’t want to read about deadly secrets, intrigue and, yes, forbidden romance?  Laura is, at times, an annoying character, but it’s not hard to believe that a typical Venetian convent girl in the 16th century would probably have annoyed the hell out of me. I like that she is clueless because of her upbringing and not just because she’s a silly little girl. I also like how she eventually finds her voice and stands up for herself – even to her father, something that was definitely not okay at the time. The romance is a bit too convenient – as in, we only met twice but I know that I totally love you forever – so that part of the book fell a little flat. I’m glad to say that I didn’t have the mystery solved before the end of the book and I think the layers of deception and treachery will keep readers engaged. This is not a perfect book but it’s a pretty good one.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader’s copy.

1 comment:

  1. I've been dying to read this for a long time now but for some reason I haven't gotten round to it. I love this cover much more than the horrible pink and yellow one over here. Glad to hear there's some good romance (though sadly not enough!).

    charmaine of Kansas Pheasant Hunting