Book Review: The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace

"He executed a handsome bow. You look lovely tonight, he told her. Just like you fell out of the sky. He lifted her small hand, bent low to kiss it, and slipped away into the crowd." page 9

In 19th century Italy 18 year old Contessa Carolina Fantoni is going blind, no one believes her except her friend Turri. Carolina has known her neighbor Turri since she was a young girl. Their friendship grows and strengthens, she feels a kindred soul in him. Turri is a creative, imaginative, brilliant inventor. He is married and has a son. Meanwhile Carolina's parents do not believe her when she states she believes she is going blind. They encourage her to proceed with marrying handsome Pietro. As Carolina's peripheral vision disappears and her sight world diminishes, she depends more on her memory and on those whom she feels she can trust most.
What I loved most about this story was Carolina's descriptions of scents, smells, and even visual images until her sight world turns dark. For example: scents of lemon, lily, basil, spicy cigar smoke. Mention of her Robin's egg blue brocade dress. And her dress "shone in the morning sun like a piece of the sky."
Carolina's character is perceived to be a delicate fragile butterfly. She is an introvert, a thinker, obedient to her parents, pleasing, and kind. As the story unfolds her courage and fortitude comes to the surface of her personality. She is a character that I felt great empathy for, she is a character that could easily be taken advantage of. At times I wondered who in her life was trustworthy, not by their words, but in their actions that were hidden from her easily because of her blindness. 
There is no story development in Turri's wife or son. There is little development with Carolina's parents except in brief conversations with Carolina.
The front book cover is enchanting! Luscious!

Reprint June 28, 2011/Originally Published 2010 by Penguin
224 pages

Link @ Publisher:,,9780143119319,00.html?The_Blind_Contessa%27s_New_Machine_Carey_Wallace#
Paperback $14.00
eBook $9.99

Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $11.90
Kindle $9.99

Short Biography on New Author Carey Wallace:

Blissful Reading!