From the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the Angelology series comes “an ingenious and entertaining neo-Gothic novel ”* of suspense that plunges readers into a world of dark family secrets, the mysteries of human genetics, and the burden of family inheritance.
*New York Times Book Review
It feels like a fairy tale 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. Bert is so swept away by the luxury – and so desperate for a break from her life back in New York – that she ignores the signs that would ordinarily give her pause: the abandoned village at the base of the castle; the whispers of stolen children and a legendary monster in the mountains; the taciturn castle staff, all of whom seem to be hiding from the world outside.
The longer Bert remains at Montebianco Castle, she more she learns that her true inheritance lies not in rooms full of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes. And soon she will have to make a choice: to keep the Montebianco family secrets and give up the life she’d known before, or to abandon a complicated legacy generations in the keeping.