Cross My Heart Sasha Gould Book Review

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.

Cross My Heart Sasha Gould Book Cover

Cross My Heart

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

The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Latest posts by April (Books&Wine) (see all)

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I’m so glad you loved this one too! Secrets! Hot painter boys! The crazy old school Italian version of a Red Hat Society! This book rocked.

  2. I love the sound of this book! I have read other YA books set in Renaissance Italy but they were set in Florence (The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli for instance) and I like that this one involves a secret society. I will have to look for Cross My Heart at the library. Thanks for your review!

  3. I’ve been on the fence about this one, but I think I’m leaning towards reading it now…

  4. This sounds fantastic! I will have to check this one out. Thanks for the review!

  5. ComaCalm says

    I really want this so I’m glad you enjoyed it so much!

    ComaCalm’s Corner is giving away Throne of Glass!

  6. You know, I dabble in writing historical fiction, but I don’t think I’ve ever read specifically YA historical fiction. And I know next to nothing about Venice! I’ll definitely check this one out! Thanks for the review!

  7. Thanks for reviewing this, April, you have made it sound fantastic and I’m sure this would be something I’d pass on if not for this review!

    • THIS IS MY GOAL AS A REVIEWER! Like, I enjoy reviewing big title books but sometimes it is awesome to review a book that might have slipped under the radar and bring it to people’s attention. I do hope you check it out!

  8. Secret Societies of WOMEN FTW!!! Loved this story so much!! I agree with you about Venice, I can not wait to visit there again in the sequel!

  9. Bahahaha, sexy gondolas. That cracks me up.

    I really liked this one too. There’s a sequel, you say! I did not know this thing…or I forgot it. Either way, hurrah! More Venice. I lov Venice. Navigating is so fun!

  10. I have been really wanting a great YA historical fiction and this book looks amazing! I will definitely be adding it to my growing list of books to read!

  11. Seriously, I’m pretty sure every book I’ve read in the past 2 months has had at least one scene in Venice. So yeah… I’m all about some Venice and can get behind this one. I actually think I saw this a while ago on Amy’s (Tripping Over Books) blog and thought that yeah, I wanna read that shizz! So yeah… I WANNA READ THIS SHIZZ! 🙂

  12. This book sounds absolutely delicious. Cannot wait to get the chance to read it!

  13. I am looking forward to the sequel too! I loved the setting and the story. It made me really want to go back to Venice…

    Great review….

  14. I’m glad you reviewed this because I’m all about the Renaissance period! I haven’t heard of Cross My Heart before now, but I’m definitely looking for it this summer. Great review!

  15. Not my usual genre, but I may have to check this one out based on your and Allison’s reviews – it sounds amazing. And that cover – I love it!! I’m a sucker for sparkly things. 🙂

  16. Sounds like a good book! I love the cover. Also, I’m loving that you used the word “cray-cray.” Totally made my day! 🙂

  17. I really like historical fiction, but I don’t know if I would have picked this one up if I hadn’t read your review. That’s because the cover kind of reminds of the cover of a book I absolutely HATED so I think I would have judged this one by my mental association with the ugh book and have totally given it the side eye. But now I think I’ll check it out! I seriously need to stop reading your blog because I want to read ALL THE BOOKS that you love.