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Cross My Heart Paperback – March 12, 2013
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Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2012:
"Told in the first person, present tense from Laura’s perspective and set amid glittering ballrooms and dark canals, this richly atmospheric thriller stars a bold heroine who tackles murder, betrayal and revenge with contemporary gusto. Enticing, exciting fare."
VOYA, February 2012:
"Determined to unravel the truth behind her sister’s untimely death, the beautiful young heroine quickly discovers danger and intrigue involving arranged marriages, family feuds, political power plays, clandestine meetings, and a secret society of powerful women...The author is adept at portraying action scenes, and the story moves rapidly."
About the Author
SASHA GOULD lived in Venice until she was nine years old. She later studied fashion in London. Her favorite things are opera, ballet, and romantic movies. She now lives in the Lake District of England with her cat, Tosca, and writes about Venice, the beautiful and mysterious city she knows and loves.
Top customer reviews
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It stars a young girl, who has just been taken from the convent where she has lived for most of her life. Her father sent her there as a child and has not heard from him in years, until her beloved sister dies. Then she is sent for and replaces her dead sister in a horrible arranged marriage. The main character, Laura, is horrified by her ancient, awful husband-to-be. When she is invited into a secret society of woman who offer to get her out of the marriage, she jumps at the opportunity. This leads to a series of murders and secrets that rock Venice to its core.
This book was great. It was definitely predictable, but the writing and characters made it enjoyable. I immediately knew who Laura would end up with and as the story went on, the murderer became more and more obvious. The predictability is why I didn't give it five stars, if the mystery of the story had felt more... mysterious, I would've given it five stars plus a thousand. That's how into the book I was.
The author, Sasha Gould, is wonderfully descriptive. The story she provides us is vivid and captivating. Ms. Gould has an almost lyrical prose that enamored me. I really, really enjoyed this story and the way it was written. I've never been out of the United States, but I've dreamed of traveling across Europe. Cross My Heart only made my desire to visit Venice even greater. The pictures that Ms. Gould paints are easily seen in my mind. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see Venice the way Laura does.
I assume the characters are realistic for their time period. I haven't made many stories based in Italy, and none of the ones that I have read were set in Venice. So I'll have to believe the author. In my opinion, the story was fluent and the ideas sound. Basically, I'm saying I believe that the author is faithful to the era she wrote about.
There is a goodreads page for a second book. Cross My Heart would've been a great standalone novel. I was very surprised to see that book two, which is titled Heart Of Glass, is supposed to be released this year (I think that's a mix up seeing as book one was released in Spring 2012). While I'm shocked that the author is writing a followup to Cross My Heart, I am very interested to see where she will take us next!
It seems she's just traded one prison for another, so when Laura is approached with an offer of aid by a secret society called the Segreta, she barters the secret she has to free her of the horrible impending union. But as she reacquaints herself with the world outside the convent walls, Laura begins to think her sister's death wasn't an accident, and the Segreta aren't to be trusted.
Cross My Heart was a good read. Gould wrote a solid book, with good ideas, defined characters, a nice romance, and some intrigue. But I suppose I was hoping for more. More romance and twists more Venice. I wanted to read Cross My Heart because of it's setting, I wanted to revisit this beautiful unique city, but it wasn't highlighted like I thought it would be. It was a lot of good ideas wasted on typical story lines you could see straight through. The book was safe and formulaic. I wished the author would have push it and been more daring and different.
The understated Cross My Heart is really just a nice quiet read. What I thought had all the qualities of a stand out book, unfortunately blends into a sea of similar novels.
For one thing, the romance felt manufactured. Laura and Giacomo fall for one another after only a handful of meetings. Younger readers might overlook this in their enthusiasm for the intrigue of the Segreta and the darkly mysterious depiction of Venice, but I think older readers look for a little more substance.
Laura, for all that she is the heroine of the book, suffers similar issues. Outwardly, she is interesting enough, but inside, she is dull as dishwater. I never got the sense that anything truly mattered to her. Not her relationship with her family, not her involvement with the Segreta and certainly not her relationship with the young artist. Gould's leading lady tends to go through the motions while the rest of the cast carries the story.
To her credit, Gould did throw the occasional curve ball, but in the end I didn't feel it was enough. The mystery felt too contrived, the solution too convenient and outcome too neatly wrapped up. I don't believe this poses much of a problem for the target audience but I feel older readers will have a tough time sinking their teeth into Gould's story. There just isn't enough here to chew.
Decent, if not particularly memorable. Recommended to fans of Lisa Tawn Bergren's River of Time series.