Thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April 7th 2020
Synopsis: It feels like a fairytale 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.
There was much that I loved about The Ancestor. The story is very creative and original, the characters are interesting, and the settings beautifully described. So why am I only giving this 3 stars? Without giving away any spoilers, there are things that happen that just defy logic. Okay, I have to share a semi-spoiler or else I’ll explode. Bert’s estranged husband (who’s still deeply in love with her despite the difficulties they’ve been happening), accompanies her to Italy. Yet after a minor argument he flies back home without a word to her, and she accepts this as normal. It doesn’t seem like a big thing, but for me it was jarring, and there are other scenes that left me almost as frustrated. So, while I ordinarily would have been oohing and aahing over the beautiful description of the French Alps, gasping in sympathy and horror over the revelations regarding Bert and her family legacy, and wondering with deep admiration how Danielle Trussoni came up with this tale, I was left extremely aggravated, especially at the ending. In my opinion, The Ancestor could have been a fantastic novel, but instead it’s left me somewhat disappointed over what it should have been.