I’d like to do something totally 90s and ‘raise the roof’ over the fact that YA historical fiction has finally taken on RENAISSANCE VENICE. Y’all, I have this very romanticized, ideal notion of Venice – think sexy gondolas and starlit nights and ART and buildings. Yo, Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould is a debut that totally brings the sexy, but also the sinister.
16 year old Laura Della Scalla has been given the shaft in life. Her once rich dad is kind of poor now. SO instead of marrying her off like a normal father, he puts her in a convent. Laura’s older sister Beatrice is the one who will marry and bring the family out of the red. Yet, we all know what happens to the best laid plans. Beatrice gets KILLED DEAD. And so, Laura is pulled from the convent (YAY) and gets stuck marrying decrepit yucky old rich Vicenzo instead (BOO).
When a young painter catches Laura’s eye, she realizes she’s desperate enough to do anything to escape Vicenzo’s clutches. Consequently, she turns to the Segreta- a powerful underground society of women whose currency is SECRETS. BOOM. Y’all this is when things get real. We see cray-cray ladies, revenge and my personal favorite – FAMILY FEUDS in Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould. Oh.heck.yes.
I should mention that Laura’s dad is awful and totally sees his children as property and a means to rectify his bad financial decisions. My heart really went out to Laura with how much she has been jerked around and metaphorically stabbed in the back. Yet, she perseveres and does what she must to survive despite circumstances trying to keep her down. I admire that in character.
Y’all, if this book, Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould sets the precedent for Venice based historicals (I’m looking at you Venom) then I am ALL OVER THIS SCENE. Seriously, my little idealized heart was captured by Laura and her painter. I legit cannot wait to get my claws on Heart Of Glass – Gould’s sequel and to experience Renaissance Venice all over again.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.
Other reviews of Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould:
A Reader Of Fictions – “My heart went out to Laura from the beginning.”
The Allure Of Books – “The plot is full of masterful twists and turns”
The Book Cellar – “An epic story of indulgence, secrets, and forbidden love”
Tripping Over Books – “A solid, if not perfect, historical fiction YA”