My apologies for not blogging much in January. I had eye surgery in mid-January which put me behind schedule. I was very glad I had checked out some downloadable audiobooks from the public library to listen to while I was recovering. This was the first one I chose.
The Scarletti Curse
by Christine Feehan
Love Spell Books, 2000
Romance Audiobook read by Rebecca Cook
A classic Gothic tale, though written in third person omniscient point of view rather than the traditional first person. All the Gothic conventions are here: the young, innocent heroine, the older, domineering and mysterious hero, the forbidding house, in this case an Italian pallazzo, the dark atmosphere and sense of impending doom.
Nicoletta is a young peasant woman with a special gift for healing. She is sweet-natured and free-spirited, used to running barefoot over the hills of her homeland, but at the same time dedicated to her healing arts. When she and her guardian, Maria Pia, are called to attend the Scarletti family at the Pallazzo Della Morte (Palace of Death), as the peasants call it, she meets the dark and brooding Don Giovanni Scarletti. He and his little niece Sophie as ill from tainted soup. Was it poisoned? If so, who was the target?
She resists, even attempting to run away, but the don will have his bride. She goe
s reluctantly to the pallazzo, a dark frightening place with a reputation for destroying women. A number of them have been murdered, from Giovanni’s grandmother to several maids, including Nicoletta’s own mother. The pallazzo is full of secrets and dangers and Giovanni fears he cannot protect her. But who is safe in the Pallazzo Della Morte?
The danger and tension build to a dramatic climax that includes the requisite confession by the villain. Gothic fans will love the atmosphere and the satisfying romance. Rebecca Cook’s narration is delightful.
The only criticism I have, other than some occasional overheated prose, is that I didn’t get a good sense of time and place. I could not tell you what part of Italy the story takes place in nor which century. The audio cover didn’t help as the clothing pictured looked quite modern. The original paperback cover gives more of a Renaissance look, which I think is close to the period. It was clearly pre-Industrial Revolution, but that was as close as I could pin down. But I imagine most readers will not care.
As always, click on the graphic below for more great reviews in Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club!
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