Cross My Heart by Sasha GouldCross My Heart by Sasha Gould

Cross My Heart

bySasha Gould

Hardcover | September 10, 2013

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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.
Sasha Gould lived in Venice until she was nine years old. She later studied fashion in London. Her favorite things are opera, ballet, and romantic movies. She now lives in the Lake District of England with her cat, Tosca, and writes about Venice, the beautiful and mysterious city she knows and loves.
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Title:Cross My HeartFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.55 × 5.88 × 1 inPublished:September 10, 2013Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385741502

ISBN - 13:9780385741507

Appropriate for ages: 12

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it An awesome read!
Date published: 2013-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In a city of secrets... What is YOURS worth? *copy provided by publisher for review* With a setting of Venice 1585 and a deliciously tempting cover, who could ever resist Sasha Gould's Cross My Heart? I certainly couldn't, and upon it's arrival, which was a complete and total surprise thanks to Random House of Canada, I absolutely could not wait to read it. Cross My Heart tells the story of one Laura della Scala, a sixteen year old girl who was sent to live in a convent by her father while her older sister lived on the outside, completely free. Unfortunately, when the news arrives that her sister has drowned, her father immediately sends for her leave of the convent. Upon returning home, Laura discovers that not everything is as well as it seems. Laura is being forced to marry her deceased older sister's fiancee Vincenzo. Furthermore, Laura comes to discover that in Venice there is an underground secret society called Secreta, one filled with women who deal in only one currency - secrets. The more Laura learns about the Secreta, the more of their secret agenda she unveils. Cross My Heart opens with an excitingly terrifying and dangerous prologue that instantly hooks the reader in. I highly doubt anyone could top the incredible excitement and suspense that the first 3 pages presented in Cross My Heart! Upon diving into Cross My Heart, I was instantly introduced to the late 1500's Venice, a beautiful setting deliciously wealthy of history and passion. Laura, Cross My Heart's protagonist, instantly became a character I greatly admired. She was wise, observing, determined, and cunning - a perfect protagonist for a romance mystery like Cross My Heart. In Cross My Heart I was immediately welcomed by Sasha Gould's beautiful and seductive writing. I found it instantly refreshing! It's very rare to come across writing that pulls you in so deeply to a new fictional world. Readers will, without a doubt, find themselves loving this very facet the most when it comes to Sasha Gould. Additionally, I found myself absolutely adoring Sasha Gould's tightly wound mystery that had me wondering and guessing right to the end. I found myself enjoying viewing things through Laura's perspective, whether it be uncovering secrets or falling in love. Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould is, by far, one of my absolute favorite thrillers yet! Readers can expect romance and unrelenting suspense in Sasha Gould's latest! I am, without a doubt, extremely excited to see what happens next in Heart of Glass, Cross My Heart's companion novel.
Date published: 2012-03-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Alluring YA Historical Novel What first attracted me to Cross My Heart was its cover, without a doubt. I love the dark background and the glamour of the girl's gorgeous Venetian mask, and after I read the plot description, the mystery aspects continued to draw my attention. Venice, a shadowy secret society of women, and a dash of forbidden romance... how could I resist? When Laura della Scalla learns she is to leave the convent her father forced her into many years ago, her happiness is soon shattered after she discovers she's only coming home because her beloved sister, Beatrice, has drowned. With a dwindling estate and ambitions for more political power, Laura's father is now forcing his daughter to marry the cold, old merchant Vincenzo whom Beatrice had been engaged to previously. Desperate to avoid exchanging one form of prison for another, Laura finds herself joining the Segreta, who are her only hope in avoiding the marriage. But when Laura learns there's more to Beatrice's death than a tragic accident, she doesn't know who to trust anymore... The novel really brings to light the limitations of the freedom woman had during the time period, and how their futures were often in the hands of men. Daughters were often forced into marriages that were more like business arrangements, so I admired Laura finding the strength to try and change her fate on her own terms. Not surprisingly, Laura practically has a non-existent relationship with her father, but she still has to play nice for him and not bring shame to her family name. But her years in the convent have also left her naive and unprepared in many ways for a high society where gossip, secrets, and power are everything. Sasha Gould's debut novel Cross My Heart is a wonderful historical novel that will allure readers with its Venice setting and the power of dark secrets just waiting to be revealed. I would have liked to possibly learn more about the origins of the Segreta and seen more suspense in Laura's inquiries into the death of her sister... but nevertheless, I still very much enjoyed seeing the storyline unfold before my eyes. You can read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com/2012/03/cross-my-heart-by-sasha-gould.html
Date published: 2012-03-12

Read from the Book

1None of us is known by our real name in here. Almost as soon as you arrive, you're christened all over again: La Grossa, La Cadavara, La Lunatica, La Trista, La Puera, La Pungenta--Fat, Deathly, Mad, Sad, Fearful and Stinky. Inside the walls of the convent, sneering adjectives are transformed, sooner or later, into names.They call me La Muta--The Silent One. It isn't that I don't have plenty to say, it's just that most of the time I keep things to myself. Daughters learn this early. Second daughters sooner.The Abbess used to tell me that she could see something feral in my soul--that there was something of the animal about me. A dog, perhaps, or maybe a rat. The creatures that slip into the convent at night in search of chicken bones and rotting food. It's something that she's determined to stamp out.My life, which once belonged to my father, now belongs to her. I am awake before two for prayers and then again at five, to go and sing perfect harmonies as the Venetian sun rises behind the grilles and the bars, dancing on the marble and gold in the chapel.The Abbess controls all the correspondence coming in and going out. Sometimes she withholds the letters from my sister Beatrice and I can't read them. Tell me your news, I beg Beatrice in writing. When will you marry Vincenzo? Does he make you happy? None of my questions can be asked without undergoing the prudish scrutiny of the Abbess. To a suspicious mind, alert to all possible evils, any of my words could somehow appear saturated with sin."I see everything," the Abbess tells me. "I know what is in your mind."I used to believe her. I used to think that perhaps she really did have the power to see my secret longings leaking like olive oil from the press. Certainly, I've seen her holding our letters out in front of her by the corners as if there's a danger they'll smear her cowl or habit. As if they're greasy, grubby things.Some of Beatrice's letters reach me. I hide them under a wooden floorboard with my own ring and with a silk-ribboned lock of her hair. Late at night, when Annalena is snoring and shifting under her sheets, I take my sister's folded ink-filled paper treasures and I read them again and again. Each of her letters carries something from the outside world, smuggling it inside these walls that separate us. Through nothing but an accident of birth, she remains free, while I languish.Annalena is my conversa, my lay sister, my servant nun, and she teases me for smiling in my sleep. She says my eyelids flutter and she wonders what worlds I'm traveling to in the dark.In my dreams I'm a child again. Beatrice and I are running down to the Lido for treats from Paulina's grandmother. Paulina--my friend without a father. It always saddened me that her papa had died when he was young, but now I wonder whether she might actually have been blessed, living as she did, alone with her mother. Her grandmama shrouded her body in black clothes, and the skin on her face was hard and grooved like a walnut."The little princesses," she would call us. And she would lisp, "Shhh!" and say "Don't tell your papa you were here." And as she looked at our faces she would gasp, "Oh, what husbands you'll have! What riches! How many men will long to touch your skin and to comb your hair with their fingers!"She had a bakery, and in the summer, when she couldn't bear the heat of the ovens, she would let them cool down and make nothing but meringues. She was famous for them. The recipe was known only to her, given to her by her own mother and her mother's mother before her. Sospiri di monaca. That's what they were called. "The sighs of nuns." Many recipes share this poignant name, but none have ever tasted like the meringues of Paulina's grandmother.On my seventh birthday, Paulina had taken me by the hand and we had run sweating and serious to her grandmother's bakery, where we both stood silently, looking at the wizened woman. "Grandmama," she had said eventually. "Laura's seven years old today.""E vero?""Yes, it's true."With fingers bent and twisted and brown, like twigs on an old tree, she put seven "sighs" in a little basket and handed it to me. I took a meringue and I bit into it. Brittle at first, and then soft, slowly giving up its flavors of golden sugar from the East, roasted hazelnuts from the South and the zest of Tuscan lemons. I closed my eyes. The sigh that came out of my mouth was hot on my hand."Oh, sweetheart!" The old woman grinned. "May all the pleasures in your life be so rapturous and so easy to make."

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2012:"Told in the first person, present tense from Laura’s perspective and set amid glittering ballrooms and dark canals, this richly atmospheric thriller stars a bold heroine who tackles murder, betrayal and revenge with contemporary gusto. Enticing, exciting fare."VOYA, February 2012:"Determined to unravel the truth behind her sister’s untimely death, the beautiful young heroine quickly discovers danger and intrigue involving arranged marriages, family feuds, political power plays, clandestine meetings, and a secret society of powerful women...The author is adept at portraying action scenes, and the story moves rapidly."