08. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Teen Books

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould, 262 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/20/2012

When Laura Della Scala’s sister, Beatrice, drowns in the canals of her hometown of Venice, Laura is plucked from the convent she’s been living in for the past six years. Thinking her life is going to become more exciting and comfortable, she is happy with the change. At least, that is, until she is finally told that her sister is dead and that she will be taking Beatrice’s place in the marriage that their father had arranged. Laura must now attempt to take her late sister’s place in high society as their father’s wealth continues to dwindle. He is convinced that the only thing that can possibly keep the small family afloat is a good marriage. Unfortunately, Laura’s betrothed is an elderly, disgusting and mean man. Laura is appropriately horrified, much as her sister must have been. Then Laura gets an invitation that just might turn her life around. There is a secret society of women in Venice known as “La Segreta” who wield more power than anyone can possibly fathom. In exchange for getting Laura out of her situation, she must give up a secret. With that, Laura is made a member of the secret society, but quickly begins to realize that they may not be a group Laura can trust. In this world, secrets can be deadly and powerful.
This is a surprisingly short novel that rarely relents in its pacing. Enter the enchanting world of 16th century Venice and dabble in its secrets. My only issue is the naming of the main character. Isn’t there something more…Venetian…sounding aside from Laura? Everything else feels so authentic, but the name “Laura” feels too modern to me. Anyway, a mildly intoxicating read.

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