In the early 1800s, a young Italian contessa, Carolina Fantoni, realizes she is going blind shortly before she marries the town's most sought-after bachelor. Her parents don't believe her, nor does her fiancé. The only one who understands is the eccentric local inventor and her longtime companion, Turri. When her eyesight dims forever, Carolina can no longer see her beloved lake or the rich hues of her own dresses. But as darkness erases her world, she discovers one place she can still see - in her dreams. Carolina creates a vivid dreaming life, in which she can not only see, but also fly, exploring lands she had never known.
Desperate to communicate with Carolina, Turri invents a peculiar machine for her: the world's first typewriter. His gift ignites a passionate love affair that will change both of their lives forever.
Based on the true story of a nineteenth-century inventor and his innovative contraption, The Blind Contessa's New Machine is an enchanting confection of love and the triumph of the imagination.
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"[A] charming and refreshingly modest debut. Wallace has a smooth style and a sure hand in combining near tragedy with whimsy, whether she's detailing Carolina and Pietro's social circle, the state of scientific knowledge, or the progression of Carolina's blindness. A work of surprising insight, humor, and heart." - Publishers Weekly
"Writing with the assurance and the clarity of a seasoned author, Wallace crafts a seemingly simple, but ultimately iridescent, love story." - Booklist
"[An] enchanting debut... Carolina's struggle feels timeless. A dreamy, sensual fairy tale." - Kirkus Reviews
"Wallace is clearly a gifted writer and a wonderful storyteller. Her first novel, full of heart, wit and intelligence, is a remarkable accomplishment and gives us great reason to look forward to her next." - Debra Ginsberg, Shelf Awareness
"Carey Wallace has written a book of the senses, of sweet lemon blossoms and mysterious footfalls in the night. The Blind Contessa's New Machine is magical, rich and daring. You will be gloriously overwhelmed by this book. I know I was." - Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells and The Girl Who Chased the Moon
"In this vibrant, aching romance, a young inventor helps a despairing contessa find an escape from her blindness in words and fantasies. In language both lustrous and lucid, Carey Wallace offers us a similar escape, transporting us into a lush and tirelessly imaginative dream of nineteenth-century Italy. To think that this is Wallace's first novel is to become suspicious that she has taken her sentences out of some ancient sorcerer's lost handbook; Wallace spirits us away with a master's spell." - Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting
"An unusually poetic first novel, original and moving in its depiction of loss of sight and gain of words and love." - Sheila Kohler, author of Becoming Jane Eyre
"The Blind Contessa's New Machine is a delicate fable of loss, memory and most of all, the enduring legacy of self-sacrificing love. I was enchanted by Carey Wallace's gorgeous, magical prose, the effortless way she spins a timeless fairytale out of historical fact. This is a novel that, like the contessa's dreams, casts a spell of ethereal beauty." - Melanie Benjamin, author of Alice I Have Been
"The Blind Contessa's New Machine is a dazzling, fanciful tale that celebrates the imagination. Carey Wallace's debut novel is like a lovely little petit fours: exquisite, delicious, perfect." - Carolyn Turgeon, author of Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story
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