Sixteen-year-old Laura della Scala has spent the last six years in a convent – only ten when her father sent her there, forcibly, to save money. She has missed her older sister Beatrice desperately, and longed to clearly remember her deceased mother’s face.
But shortly before she’s about to be confirmed, her father sends for her.
Why? Because her beloved sister Beatrice is dead.
Before she even has a chance to grieve over the death that pierces her heart so deeply, her father expects her to replace Beatrice as the fiancé of Vincenzo – an old merchant with a monstrous disposition – to help continue his ambition to redeem his wealth and position in society.
The gowns, dinners, and sudden introduction once more into society does nothing to quell the building panic in Laura. The thought of marrying Vincenzo horrifies her, and the thought of her sister bearing the same future before her death saddens her.
When a woman she barely knows invites her into the Segreta, a powerful, underground, highly guarded society of women with luring promises of saving Laura from her inevitable marriage… she succumbs. But they ask for something as payment: a secret. Their power stems from them.
Laura’s secret is explosive though, and with the reveal comes a profound shame.
And soon Laura begins to suspect that her sister’s death, and other questionable events, might have the hands of the Segreta behind it… but as Laura is thrown into the world of Venice’s political intrigue and her own furtive romance, she finds she might be too entrenched to fight her way out…
Cross My Heart was a surprise in many ways.
The pacing was very crisp, the emotions were felt through the pages, and the increasingly cloak-and-dagger sensation was thrilling!
Sasha Gould creates a relatable, sympathetic character in Laura with her cold home, unfeeling upbringing in a convent, and her new grief and shock at the loss of her sister Beatrice. The disasters seem to keep piling on lonely, quiet, mournful Laura in Cross My Heart… All the more reason to feel glued to the pages.
Visions of gondolas slicing through the water and of 16th century Venice played a compelling picture in my mind sight. It’s an intriguing, unique setting for a YA novel and I am happy to say it worked well. Plus, with the shocking twists, murder, and the deadly mayhem of secrets it began to provide, Cross My Heart transformed into a read that cannot be denied!
And I can sometimes be harsh with romantic elements – it really depends on how it’s done… but here, wow! I’ll admit that as Cross My Heart morphed slowly, effortlessly into a riveting love story I was swept off my feet! That, coupled with the evolution of Laura, really sold me.
Cross My Heart kept me guessing, involved, and absorbed as to what may happen – and now that I know there is a sequel coming out called Heart of Glass in March 2013, I’m even more interested…
I think you will be, too!