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The Blind Contessa's New Machine

A Novel

by Carey Wallace

The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace X
The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2010
    224 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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There are currently 23 member reviews
for The Blind Contessa's New Machine
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  • Maggie P. (Mount Airy, MD)

    A Haunting Love Story
    As Carolina prepares to marry Pietro she realizes she is going blind. Finding no solace in Pietro, Carolina turns to someone she has known since childhood, Turri. Through the years, Carolina and Turri grow closer despite the fact they are married to others. Things change when Pietro discovers the affair.

    The story flows so well it is easy to read in one sitting. The end left me with a physical ache because of the resolution of the story. I would definitely recommend this book to others and look forward to Carey Wallace’s second book.
  • Vicki O. (Boston, MA)

    Delightful Debut
    This book is not a page turner, but I found myself drawn into the story. I loved the author's lyrical yet simple writing style. By using vivid descriptions and fresh dialogue, the author treats the reader to a visual experience. There was an earthy/dream like quality that reminded me of some of Alice Hoffman's novels and she is one of my favorites. Hopefully we will hear more from Carey Wallace.
  • Sandra H. (St. Cloud, Minnesota)

    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.
  • 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.
  • Nancy D. (Charlotte, NC)

    The Blind Contessa's New Machine
    A magical read - part fantasy, part reality, part pain, part triumph. It is definitely not a "feel good" book - and I can't say that I liked the main characters - but it is certainly a book that would offer up lots of discussion. I didn't like the ending, but I'm not sure how it could have ended any differently.
  • Therese X. (Calera, AL)

    The Blind Contessa's New Machine
    Young 19th century Contessa, Carolina Fantoni, realizes she is losing her eyesight and tells her fiancé, who laughs as though it's a joke. When she tells her mother she's losing her sight, Mama only nods and sighs , "Yes. I have been in love, too.". Finally, she blurts out her fate to her father, who waves a hand in front of her eyes and finally concludes "But you haven't, yet!" Frustrated, she confides in her childhood friend, Turri, who has become a unique scientist and peculiar though clever inventor. He creates a unique gift for Carolina: a writing machine. Each letter of the alphabet has its own key in succession and she can touch them to make words appear from a special paper. This becomes her new mode of communication with friends as well as Turri when she wants him to meet her. The blind Contessa’s new machine soon creates a sensation but Turri's invention threatens to invade the privacy and intimacy of their friendship.

    Because the book opens with the threat of blindness, it doesn't come as a surprise, yet as a reader, I felt, "Not yet! Don't become blind just yet!" because I wanted to know the real Contessa first. Well, as Carolina adapts to her cruel ailment with curiosity and action rather than self-pity, she shows her true self much more quickly and deeply. She stands above the other characters in the novel in courage and resourcefulness. Except for Turri. When she tells her friend that she begins to dream of wonderful adventures where not only can she see, but she can fly, he falls deeply in love with her (if he wasn't already!) and together they search for a future together. But can that happen if she is now married to Pietro and Turri has a wife and beloved young son?

    This small gem of a book is larger reading than one expects. Yet, it could have been somewhat deeper on the supporting characters, and at times I wasn't sure exactly when Carolina was dreaming until she described something, so I gave the book a “4” rating. However, I believe the author, Carey Wallace, has a splendid way with words and descriptions and making the reader feel for the main characters, so I hope there will be further novels. She's certainly off to a good start!
  • Sandra L. (newton, MA)

    The Blind Contessa's New Machine
    A very slow book to begin with, this does get more interesting as it goes on.

    It is about a blind Contess,her unexpired husband and the involvment of her long time companion,older than her, but whom they have a wonderful and powerful relationship.

    It is based on a true story of the 19th century inventor and his ability to create a typewriter machine for helping her blindness.She ended up,through her dreams and her friend, by being able to communicate by a" writing machine"

    A powerful book for anyone nearing the hardship of blindness and learning how to get around the tragedy of this

    This is a good historical novel and would be excellent were it not too slow.

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