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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally best-selling author of the Angelology series comes a bewitching gothic novel of suspense that plunges listeners into a world of dark family secrets, the mysteries of human genetics, and the burden of family inheritance. 

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. But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.

©2020 Danielle Trussoni (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Ancestor

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Provocative but potential unrealized

The story of (spoiler) the role of the icemen in the narrator’s life provocatively unfolds to lead us to think about what it means to be human. The main character, however, repeatedly behaves in an unbelievably passive manner when told she is the new heir and boss. She is attacked by an employee’s dog, and held prisoner in the castle, failing to assert her rights as heir. She strangely makes no case for her staff to organize a helicopter for her husband’s visit when the future of the family depends on her having a child. We are told her husband has skills that are needed in organizing the various businesses, yet she doesn’t try to assert her right to bring him in. Despite these plot issues, the author provides a sense of place that will make you feel you have experienced Italy’s northern Alpine region and you have experienced what it might be like to meet a tribe of distant hominid ancestors. You know what they look like. You will have considered all the issues of contact and will never feel the same about the Alps or flat feet.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

All Setup & Little Story

The book is well narrated, but the story leaves a lot to be desired. Where there could be "twists and turns", it feels more like an ongoing setup without ever getting to the story.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Inferior modern gothic, more parody than homage

I was really looking forward to this, as a bit of fun neo-gothic escapism. The New York Times book review, which invoked Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey ( which, in turn and at its time, head invoked The Castle of Otranto) made me expect much, much more. instead, I found The Ancestor written in such broad stoke, lacking in nuance, as to read as parody rather than smart modern "take" on the genre, or as homage. The orotahonist/heroine unfortunately comes across as something of a simpleton (rather than as an intelligent, though rather naive and impressionable young woman, as in those earlier classic works). And it made no sense at all that, within the first few of chapters, her ex-husband ostensibly storms off without explanation, and she readily believes it's because he was angered by her insistence on knowing information about her family that he doesn't want to disclose-- and blames herself!-- when he is the one that's being evasive! it does not help at all that the audio book is being narrated by someone who sounds like they're about 18 years old. The alternatingly plaintive and strident tone wore on me and further diminished the material. Could not get through it.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Eye rolling at times, interesting at others.

Very inconsistent. Some of the story made me roll my eyes. The reactions of the main character were bizarre and made the whole story seem unbelievable (and with a story like this you need the reader to suspend disbelief.) There were times I wanted to give up on in but I forged ahead. I thought in the beginning that it could be really interesting but it completely fell apart. THe narration didn't help. Too bad.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Love this author

Her books make you think “could this be true?” Maybe.....
This one was very Interesting. I love the descriptions of the mountains

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very unique

I really enjoyed this story. The writing, while being a bit too easy of a read, is compelling enough to keep on during the building of the plot & ive not ever read anything with a plot quite like this before which was a pleasant surprise (113 books read this year; it’s hard to surprise me). Overall, I am pleased with this purchase and definitely recommend this novel especially for fans of Victorian Gothic horror novels.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Absolute Drivel

This is my own fault. I am incapable of not finishing a book and this was painful to read. I was excited for the premise of this book and had high hopes. Those hopes were swiftly squashed. I also think there should be a trigger warning for those who have suffered miscarriages as well as sexual assault. But that’s neither here nor there.

Spoilers ahead

The protagonist is utterly unreliable and unbelievable as a character. She behaves erratically as though the author had one personality of the heroine in mind and then swiftly changed gears without bothering to rewrite. She “separated” from her husband but they are always together. Then drags him to Italy. Then just believes that the man she has spent the last 10 years of her life with and suffered multiple miscarriages with would just abandon her in another country? All because he told her that her family was “shunned”? Jesus Christ. It’s a vapid and empty attempt at writing a marriage.

Enzo plays a major part in the beginning of the book and then just….disappears? There is so much set up and then it’s as if the author decided she didn’t want to include him in her story and just…stopped writing him?

Bert-the protagonist- believes she is being held against her will and calls her husband after weeks (she didn’t realize WEEKS had passed) of being in the castle and he seems unperturbed that she’s being held against her will. Then she NEVER CALLS AGAIN and thinks he’s just abandoned her again? Call. Again. Or better yet, call the police.

Elenor’s diary is another thing entirely. The way she writes about Vita makes her sound as though she has a mental disability as well as being physically different. The inability to express in words that she was assaulted as well as her lack of impulse control makes Vita seem more animal than human. This is completely at odds with the well spoken, thoughtful, and compassionate anti-hero that Bert actually meets. This writing gives you whiplash.

Don’t even get me started on the stolen children that you never find out what actually happened or the frozen dead husband and father in law or the yeti hunters and cryptozoologist or the spontaneous lactation. No. Nope. Nein. It’s just…drivel.

There are so many intersecting plot lines that are never completed. And the erratic and unconvincing characters make this book a solid one star for me. The premise of the story is fun and intriguing but the execution is poor. Resulting in a disjointed and utterly manipulative storyline.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It is just another mythology gone wrong

This book have such a strong potential to be more but the delivery of the story line just broken at the beginning,the middle and finally at the end. It have a very intriguing ideology but they never go further than that. I was hoping for more WOW but it fell flat. The narrator was ok but not great. I can not figure out if she was mad,sad or anything. I kept going and see where it would take me. It took me to no where. The more I listened,the more I wish for it to end. It was draining me to have to keep going. But as the story seems to get a little better. They introduced all these characters that some I seriously thought might be strong point. It went no where again. Skip it if you want more mystery and not predictability.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Really difficult book to read

This is not your good feeling book not is it one I can suggest to anyone.....unless you wish to spend you money (credits) on crap!! Horrible, horrible HORRIBLE story!!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Poor personality development

Interesting idea and well read. I Did not like the writing. The main character’s thinking was hard to believe, as were her choices.