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Book Review: Cross My Heart

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Cross My Heart
by Sasha Gould

4 Stars: Recommended
Format: Hardback
Publication: March 13, 2012
Pages: 272
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Buy it: Amazon Hardcopy | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Venice, 1585.

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.

You can't trust anyone in Venice, as Laura finds out in Cross My Heart. Sasha Gould proved these words to be true. When I thought that I had finally figured out the truth, something popped up and baffled me yet again. Inexperienced with politics after having spent the last six years of her life in a convent, Laura struggles to understand what she has gotten herself into as she is swept into the mysterious world of the Segreta. Initially, it seems that Laura may have done an incorrigible wrong in giving up the secret that she possesses, and I found it cowardly of Laura to betray the Doge's trust, but it is in truth a stepping stone into greater intrigue. And I can't blame her desire to get out of a marriage with a sleazy old man with bad breath.

Even as Laura's father uses her as a tool in his quest for greater power at the same time that she finds herself falling in love with a painter, strange events take place in Venice, and she learns never to believe anything is an accident. When she learns that her sister Beatrice was murdered after meeting with the Segreta, Laura suspects the women have another agenda in mind. I admire Laura's courage in the face of incomprehensible danger to protect the man that she loves.

Have I mentioned how hot the painter is? Not only is he good-looking, he is sweet, caring, and far above the men embroiled in politics. Laura's first meeting with him is at night when she flees from a party after discovering the identity of Beatrice's fiancé, to whom she is now engaged. From that moment, he captured both Laura's heart and my own. I knew that either there had to be more to him for the two to have a happy ending, or she would elope with him. The mystery of how they would achieve their happy ending kept me guessing as more truths came to light, new obstacles emerged, and the plot climaxed.

In the end, I still do not understand the intention of the Segreta other than to wield power over men from the shadows. The politics of the time confuses me. Seemingly kind people will turn on you the moment you threaten to take political power away from them; friendship means nothing. Then again, this book takes place in another century. Overall, Cross My Heart is an enjoyable read that I will definitely recommend to those who love a good historical and/or mystery book.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
4 comments on "Book Review: Cross My Heart"
  1. Oooh Venice!! Renaissance Venice!! And secret societies:)) Totally cool!!

    I love the sound of the Segreta and I love how Laura becomes more experience and how cool is it that she falls for a hot painter! (but of course, it is Venice!)

    Thanks for the review!

  2. This book sort of reminds me of one of my favorite movies.

    It's' called Dangerous Beauty, set in medieval Venice as well, and the women who wanted an education and power and training in dance and music had to become high-class escorts to the aristocrats. The wives were completely ignored, had no say. But the escorts were treated as equals by the men, their opinions on politics sought after by the men.

    The girl in Dangerous Beauty was the first published poetess and one of the most powerful women despite being an escort. I found the whole power-struggle thing intriguing and also found it interesting that the wives of the politicians were jealous of the escorts because their husbands admired and respected the escorts because of their education. And the wives had none of that respect.

  3. Wow this sounds good, haven't seen or heard about this one but I have just ordered it after reading this review! Thank you! :D


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