Tag Archives: Ann Radcliffe

The Italian Book Review

A favorite book is always a treasured item. No matter how old we get or what happens in our lives, we know that we can go back to that book and be transported to our happy place.

One of my favorite Gothic romance novels is Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian. Set in Inquisition era Naples is the ill  fated love story of Ellena Rosalba and Vincentio di Vivaldi. Ellena is an orphan under the guardianship of an aging aunt, Vincentio is the son of the Marchese and Marchesa of Naples. Neither the Marchese or the Marchesa think that Ellena is a proper bride for their son. As soon as Ellena’s aunt dies, she mysteriously vanishes. Vivaldi goes on a journey to find his beloved, not knowing this his mother and her confessor Father Schedoni might be the ones responsible for Ellena’s disappearance.

This book is incredible. Set against the backdrop of the Inquisition, the story is kind of Snow White-ish, but it is much darker and deeper. The curve ball that Mrs. Radcliffe throws in at the end of the book is amazing and blew me away the first time I read this story.

I recommend it.

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Sweet Damage Book Review

There is something about a big, empty, dark house. It is ominous and scary, but it also beckons you inside to discover it’s secrets.

Rebecca James’s recent novel, Sweet Damage, is about a dark ominous house and the secrets it keeps.

Tim Ellison is in his early 20’s. He works in his father’s restaurant at night and surfs during the day. The novel starts when he is couch surfing, his current residence is his ex-girlfriend’s apartment. When she kicks him out, he responds to ad where the person posting is looking for a roommate. The rent is cheap and he has one job: look after the house’s owner. Anna London is an emotionally fragile, agoraphobic twenty year old who has not left her home in a very long time. As Tim and Anna interact and begin to spend their free time together, Tim begins to see much of what Anna has tried to hide.  Then things start going bump in the night and Tim finds himself attracted to his roommate.  Who is Anna London and what secrets does she keep?

I can see traces of Jane Eyre and the works of Ann Radcliffe in this novel. A big empty house, things that force the hairs on your arm to stand on edge and a mysterious man or woman that the lead character finds themselves attracted to. My problem with this book is that it kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. Then the bottom dropped and I was left hanging as a reader. The end felt unfinished and rushed, which is a shame, because up to that point, I was riveted.

Do I recommend this book? If the end of the book felt complete, then I would say yes. But because it felt incomplete and rushed, I have to say no.

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