04 April 2012

Review: Cross My Heart

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould
Publication date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press

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 fiancĂ©, 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.

I love history, so it should be assumed that I enjoy a good historical fiction novel. When I received Cross My Heart, I was so excited. It takes place during the Italian Renaissance and it revolves around a mystery! My mind went right to The Ruby in the Smoke which is one of my favorite historical mysteries. I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Ruby in the Smoke, but Cross My Heart definitely has its positives.

It should be said that Sasha Gould's writing is gorgeous. From the first sentence, I was immediately drawn into the world of Laura, a convent raised girl who is immediately thrust into Venice society by her money and status hungry father. I found it interesting to read about a naive young girl discovering her place in a, previously unknown, society while at the same time trying to solve the mysterious death of her sister. It's this that leads her to the Segreta, a group of women who collect secrets. I found the idea of the Segreta fascinating and wish we got to spend more time within their ranks, but without the mystery surrounding them, Cross My Heart wouldn't be much of a mystery. A few red-herrings were thrown in there and it wasn't until near the finish that I predicted the ending. Good on Sasha Gould!

As interesting as I found Laura's situation she sometimes came across as a little bland for me. It was the characters around her that kept me interested. I also wasn't convinced about the romance that grows between Laura and the painter. If I remember correctly, they only interact in the book three times before they confess their love. Cross My Heart isn't about the romance, but if placed in the book, I still expect to feel it and have it make sense to me. It's just another part of the novel (like the ending) that felt rushed.

All in all, I liked the story and the idea of it, but I feel like the execution could have been a bit more drawn out and detailed.


  1. Huh, I've never heard of Cross My Heart before. But the cover is absolutely gorgeous, that's why I clicked on your review from my reader! I think I'll give it a shot, even though the ending is rushed. If her writing style is good, like you say, then I think I can overlook that. :) Great review!

  2. @Ashley: Isn't the cover something?? I love it too. I really did enjoy the writing and hope you like the book!

  3. This sounds interesting. I'm reading Grave Mercy, another YA historical with a character in a convent.

  4. This sounds like a really interesting historical fiction- I'm not a big reader on historical fiction though this seems cool enough. I've never heard of this before, but from now on I'm definitely going to be putting this on my TBR list. Thanks for putting this in my radar- this was a really good review.

    Nicole's Library

  5. @Jen Ryland: I LOVE Grave Mercy. Hope you enjoy it too!

    @Hayley: Thank you Hayley! Glad to be of service. ;)


Thank-you for commenting! I always appreciate and read each one! I also try to reply to each one, but I'm really bad at this, so I apologize in advance for one (or any) I may miss. Please note, I love all of my commenters. In fact, it may be more like "in love." Comment at your own risk.