Roseann B. (Santee, CA)
A tale of loss, both physical and emotional
The real premise of this romantic story is the fact that Carolina realizes she is going blind right before her wedding day and while most do not believe her, Turri does and creates a writing machine (typewriter) which leads to a hidden romance and a love triangle that lasts a lifetime.
I should begin by saying that I generally stay away from romances, unless there is some paranormal aspect present, but I really enjoyed this story. The romance, while ever-present, does not overpower the trials that Carolina faces at dealing with blindness. I think that losing my sight is my (and probably most readers') greatest fear and Ms. Wallace has Carolina face it with dignity and grace. I also love the idea that someone would create a way for his beloved to communicate when she no longer could write. Wallace also adds a depth to the characters which is not often seen in romance fair—there are undertones of deeper psychological torment throughout that made this a book I did not want to put down.
Joan V. (ny)
The Blind Contessa's New Machine
This book was an interesting read, but the ending was rushed and left a lot of questions unanswered. Some of the characters, Pietro, the husband were a bit too conventional. To me the most interesting and original character was Turri. He was the most three dimensional person in the book.
On the positive side, the descriptions of the Contessa going blind and her eventual blindness were very vivid. You could feel Carolina’s fear mounting as her blindness progressed. The scenes where she learned to travel around the house at night and find her way to the lake were interesting, but became a bit repetitious after awhile.
I definitely would like to read more by this writer.
Kim L. (cary, IL)
The Blind Contessa's New Machine
I found this book to be slow to start. I was disappointed in the ending, it left me wanting more. This was because there was no real depth to any of the characters and I felt let down when I finished the book. It was an intriguing storyline which led me to read the book but it didn't satisfy.
Catherine H. (Nashua, NH)
I really wanted to like this book but....
As I read the last line, it left me with a feeling of frustration. The story was interesting enough: a blind Comtessa in the 1800s Italy, the husband, the friend and lover, who invents a "new machine" for her especially: both characters and story are not developed enough; I ended up the book wanting more. Nice book for a summer afternoon.
Lesley F. (San Diego, CA)
Blindsided by Blind Contessa
I loved this small-sized, quickly-read, summer-reading-prize of a book. The story is a heart-stopper. It is exciting, thrilling, a great love story, mysterious and dangerous to the end. Then what? It ends. Fast.
But I needed something to carry on with at the end - something to hold fast to as the inevitable happened. The author left me with nothing. This is, as has been noted by experts, clearly a generational difference, as apparently, young people don’t mind an incomplete ending. I understand that, but her epilogue is so abrupt, that, while one person in the story at least exhibits some closure, the other does not, at all, and that is a great pity. It gets a three only because the story is such a good one. It gets no more because of that ending.
Bea C. (Liberty Lake, WA)
Imagining is seeing
I couldn't put this one down. I didn't particularly like the characters or feel like I knew them very well, but the story the author tells is captivating. As the Contessa goes blind, her imagination becomes as important as real life as she envisions her surroundings and imagines herself and her forbidden lover in distant settings when they meet. There is suspense and mystery, and the story didn't end the way I expected it to. Book clubs will love discussing why the characters do what they do. This should appeal to readers of romantic books who don't like to figure out the ending before they get halfway through the story.
Eileen F. (Ephrata, WA)
In her debut novel, the author has created a fairy tale-like story and setting. As a reader I felt she left room for my imagination also. It is a story of sadness, love, humor and betrayal. Carolina's dreams were an interesting part of the narrative, as well as her relationships with Pietro, Turri, Liza and Giovanni. It was an entertaining read.