on April 7, 2020
Source: the publisher
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From the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the Angelology series comes a bewitching gothic novel of suspense that plunges readers into a world of dark family secrets, the mysteries of human genetics, and the burden of family inheritance.
It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco” at her Hudson Valley, New York, home that claims she’s inherited a noble title, money, and a castle in Italy. While Bert is more than a little skeptical, the mystery of her aristocratic family’s past, and the chance to escape her stressful life for a luxury holiday in Italy, is too good to pass up.
At first, her inheritance seems like a dream come true: a champagne-drenched trip on a private jet to Turin, Italy; lawyers with lists of artwork and jewels bequeathed to Bert; a helicopter ride to an ancestral castle nestled in the Italian Alps below Mont Blanc; a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never knew existed; and a cellar of expensive vintage wine for Bert to drink.
But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I LOVED The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni! This is exactly the type of story that I want to be reading when I’m stuck inside with the pandemic in full force.
Bert Monte lives in New York at the start of the novel. Very early in the story, she receives a fancy piece of mail informing her that she is the last living relative of the Montebianco family and that she has inherited the family’s castle, estate, fortunes, etc. In order to receive her new inheritance, she must appear in person at the estate and speak with the family’s legal team. When Bert arrives at the dark and beautiful property high in the remote Alps, she finds that she is essentially trapped there. She also discovers that the Montebianco family has some seriously big secrets.
At first, The Ancestor reads like a mystery-thriller, but it has a wonderfully dark, atmospheric, gothic vibe. Not like a historical mystery, mind you, although the age of the castle and the surrounding areas sometimes make it feel like there is definitely some history in there somewhere. There is a place in the story when things take a little bit of a turn in tone, and then it feels more like a creepy horror story.
I absolutely loved it. I could not stop turning the pages.
I love the level of suspense that is present for the entire length of the novel. Every chapter practically begged me to read another, and another, and so on. I actually ended up reading the book in two long chunks, which was exactly what I wanted. The chapters are short, though, so if you need to read little snippets here and there, that would be fine too. Only I thought that being able to inhale the story pretty much all at once made it more suspenseful and made me curiouser and curiouser about what was coming in the next few pages and chapters.
I liked Bert so much. How odd would it be to have your entire life uprooted because you find out you’re part of a family that dates back to Medieval times? How odd would it be to realize that your relatives (and perhaps even YOU) aren’t what you originally thought? Let me tell you, I felt for Bert. But I also couldn’t look away from her story.
I think sometimes when we hear the word “gothic” we immediately think of stories like Jane Eyre or Dracula. And okay. But that’s not what this is. It’s creepily fantastic and a little bit strange and I loved it to pieces.