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The Blind Contessa's New Machine

A Novel

By Carey Wallace

The Blind Contessa's New Machine
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2010,
    224 pages.

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There are currently 24 reader reviews for The Blind Contessa's New Machine
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Julie Rand. (Jefferson, ME) (06/10/10)

The Blind Contessa's New Machine
This passionate love story of Contessa Carolina Fantoni, Turri, her lover, and Pietro, her husband, explores the conflict between individual expression and societal traditional mores. The strength of this novel lies in its charming description of the natural world through Carolina's disclosures of visual detail, dream fantasy and memory recall. In addition, Carolina provides the vehicle for a believable account of the onslaught of blindness and eventually the means of coping with complete loss of sight. Although lyrical and well constructed, the theme of blindness necessitates long passages which tend to retard the flow of the story line and stagnate the mystery and suspense that the author endeavors to create. A pleasant summer's read, the book cleverly succeeds in rendering some redemptive quality to the plight of the blind Contessa.
Heather F. (Tulsa, OK) (06/09/10)

The Blind Contessa's New Machine
This short book has an ethereal beauty to it. The reader feels transported into a gauzy world of another time and place where emotion and reason are not center place. The two main characters seem to float above the rest of us in a place where their love and devotion are so strong that the constraints of this earth don't apply. A delightful read!
Sandra H. (St. Cloud, Minnesota) (06/09/10)

The Blind Contessa's New Machine
A beautiful young girl growing up with little attention from her loving but distant parents, Contessa Carolina Fantoni is allowed to do what she wants until they discover that she spends most of her days with Turri, her married neighbor who fills her mind with his impractical but fascinating and often beautiful experiments. When Turri, 10 years her senior, tells the 17-year-old Carolina that he is in love with her, his words ring "in her mind like an alarm bell."

At 18 Carolina marries Pietro, the most eligible suitor in her neighborhood, and is set to live a life of luxury. Unfortunately she is going blind but neither Pietro nor her parents believe her until it happens. Left alone with only the handsome but unimaginative Pietro and a servant to read to her, Carolina lives in her dreams until she stumbles her way to the lake where she had spent her childhood. There she meets Turri who creates a special "writing machine" for her so they can communicate. Perhaps his only practical invention, this machine will eventually determine the outcome of their lives.

This beautifully realized story, takes readers into a world that is part fairy tale and part fantasy yet still grounded in reality. Readers see the world as Carolina sees it, experiencing her gradually diminished sight and her attempts to live in a dark world.
Rita L. (Green Bay, WI) (06/04/10)

Light Reading
I would consider this book a light summer read. While the story was interesting enough, with the invention of a “writing machine”, I thought the characters were underdeveloped and I had no strong feelings about any of them. I enjoy historical novels when there is detail about the customs and culture of the time, but I felt this was missing here.
Carm D. (Omaha, NE) (06/04/10)

The Blind Contessa's New Machine
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and retained my interest through the entire story. I would have preferred a different ending but the characters are wonderful. This is a lovely first novel.
Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD) (06/02/10)

I wanted it to be better
This book was a fast read, but it didn’t grab me. Carolina Fantoni, the contessa of the title, was the only character who seemed particularly fleshed out. The characters are based on historical figures, so perhaps Wallace had less to work with for the characters of Pietro (the husband) and Turri (the friend and inventor of an early typewriter). I did enjoy Wallace’s description of Carolina’s experience as she was going blind. This wasn’t a bad book, but I wanted it to be better.
Roseann B. (Santee, CA) (06/01/10)

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) (05/31/10)

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.
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