“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.” – Amazon
I don’t recall how I came across The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni, but I’m glad I did. For some reason I love to read gothic horror novels in the Summer… you would think I would prefer Autumn… so when I read the description I knew the warm Wisconsin weather would be perfect to counteract the cold temperatures and ice of the Italian Alps.
Trussoni hooked me right away with a mysterious document appearing and Bert needing to seek out her husband’s grandma, a woman who’s never liked Bert and you just know is a master at giving the evil eye, to help her make sense of the papers. She doesn’t get too much information but she does get more shade thrown at her and her family. Then we have a lawyer step in who seems like a dream man, the way he dresses, his manner of putting one at ease, and who’s free with giving out new clothes and large stacks of cash. Even with all the gothic horror that I’ve read I would have totally signed up to take a trip to a castle far away where all the townsfolk hated my family.
Once Bert gets to the castle the weirdness begins and so does the fun and chills for the reader. A mysterious person kind of seen through an upstairs window, gutted animals in a far wing of the house, you know, the things that make a good gothic tale. Trussoni must have read a lot of them because her descriptions and pacing is perfect.
When we finally found out the family secret it took an interesting turn and had me thinking about a favorite series of mine, the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire, so that made The Ancestor even better for me.
I don’t want to give too much away since the enjoyable part of The Ancestor is finding out what each layer contains, but I know I will be reading her next book no matter what it’s about.
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