To be buried alive is everyone’s worse nightmare! A deadly plague is killing thousands in 17th century Vicenza Italy. Contessa Mancini struggles to protect her family and servants, but despite her precautions, she is the one who falls prey to the deadly illness. Her body is tossed into a coffin and swiftly buried in the underground, dank confines of her family’s vault. But Contessa Mancini is not dead. No, she is very much alive. She awakens terrorized, trapped in dense darkness surrounded by the flimsy wood of the coffin they buried her in. Desperate, she claws and kicks until she escapes its stifling restraint, only to find herself trapped in the mausoleum with the decaying bodies of her ancestors. As she seeks to escape, she discovers a vast treasure of gold, silver, and gems secretly hidden in the vault by brigands, and the secret tunnel they used to hide there. Free at least, she returns home to her beloved husband, her best friend, and her darling daughter. But before she reveals herself to her loved ones, she learns of an endless series of lies, deceits, and betrayal. As she unravels the labyrinth of shocking treachery, her wrath breathes life to an overwhelming need for vengeance. Slowly, meticulously, she launches her diabolocial vendetta. The Contessa’s Vendetta is a retelling of the classic novel, Vendetta by Marie Corelli. Inspired by this epic story, the author weaves her own captivating tale in a new setting, a new century, and with new plot twists while remaining faithful to the key story elements.
I liked this 35 chapter book. It was told through Carlotta’s first person point-of-view. Beware of a woman scorned. My favorite line: A false man or woman deserves death. It was amazing how most people in this time period thought it was acceptable to kill your cheating husband or wife since there was no law/punishment for adultery. Instead of going that route, Carlotta decided to devise a plan to seek revenge on her husband Dario, who had a secret affair with her best friend Beatrice.
Dario and Beatrice were cold-blooded–especially the way they treated the daughter Chiara. You don’t have to be a murderer or someone violent to be a villain. They were both despicable; they had no shame as though they were narcissistic psychopaths. But that takes a brilliant talent with the author’s ability with characterization. As a reader, I really loathed some and really cared for others. It felt good to have a strong reaction toward everyone, instead of a blah, not caring reaction. Readers should hate Dario and Beatrice because, of course, Carlotta wouldn’t shed them in a positive light.
- After escaping from being buried alive (they thought she had died from the plague), she wised up. Instead of crying in a corner, she got revenge. Mirella Sichirollo Patzer was also great with voice. The novel had a storytelling vibe as though Carlotta was talking directly to the readers. This tied in to the beginning where it’s revealed she’s transcribing her events (I believe as a letter).
I understood the concept of the story from the get-go, she would seek revenge, so I wished the word “vendetta” wasn’t used so often in the narration. But then again, Carlotta would’ve been obsessed with that scenario, so I can see why the word was repeated over and over. I also wished that there weren’t so many exclamation points, but it didn’t distract me from the story.
My favorite scenes: 1) when Carlotta meets a crazy old woman at the market who encourages her to kill her husband if he’s not excited for her return back from the grave, hinting he’d already have another woman 2) all the scenes with Carlotta and Paolo. I like that even though she got burned, she still believed in love and wanted other couples to make it 3) when both parts of the vendetta were executed.
I RECOMMEND this book to read.
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