“Cross My Heart”

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould is targeted at ages 12 and up.  I am significantly over 12 and I enjoyed it a lot.  Laura della Scala was sent to the convent as a young girl so that her family could afford to launch her sister on society.  In Renaissance Venice, she anticipated staying there for the rest of her life, only able to correspond in writing with her sister.  When she finds out her sister is betrothed to a man named Vincenzo, she is happy for her since it seems as though her sister is happy.

However, she is removed from the convent on orders from her father.  She arrives home after being gone for a number of years to find her sister dead and unmarried.  Laura is forced to take her sister’s place in the marriage…..and Vincenzo isn’t a young handsome man, but rather a withered old man who holds a lot of power…and her family needs the connection to regain its fortunes.

Laura ends up being connected to the Segreta, a group of women who can make things happen, in exchange for a secret, but it has to be a good secret.  If you betray the existence of the group, your life is forfeit.  Members are identified only by the mask they wear, and any indication that you know who is behind the mask is not recommended.

Throughout the book, I was drawn in my the vivid language and the pictures the words evoked.  The plot twists and turns (often unexpectedly) and the ending is satisfying.  I will definitely pick up other books by this author.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through Edelweiss.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

“All the Pleasures of the Season”

This was a quick read.  Lady Miranda Archer has had her debut season.  She is trying to do what is right for her family and live up to their expectations.   Her family is no stranger to scandal and she just wanted to be the normal child.  So she picks a man who has been pursuing her all season that by all appearances would be a good match.  Her sister has been pushing for him and her family approves…except her brother.

However, there’s a problem.  Miranda doesn’t really like him.  She doesn’t know him all that well, and there’s just something about him that strikes her as “off”.  She would prefer to be marrying Gilbert, who is a second son and destined for the armed forces.  The problem is that she doesn’t think anyone in her family would support that match.

Miranda begins to understand what marriage to her selected fiance would mean and tries to get out of it.

There’s not a whole lot of depth to the characters, but I would be interested in reading more from this author.  I enjoyed the book and it was a great little read during all of the holiday chaos.

I was provided with this book from Edelweiss.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.