Review: The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni

The anticipation I had for this book was undeniable. I haven’t read anything by this author before, but I was in a Facebook group chat with her and won a copy of this book and couldn’t believe how good it sounded.

I have only recently really gotten into the horror genre, I love Gothic fiction (to me there is a big difference) but recently I have opened up to reading more and more traditional horror books and this one sounded like a perfect blend of Gothic and horror.

I was literally watching my mailbox like a hawk waiting for this one to arrive and when it finally did, I tore into it right away!


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. (summary from Goodreads)


This one started out so strong. The first few chapters left me wondering what in the world was going on—right up until I started reading Elenor’s journal. The creepy factor and mysteriousness was undeniable and I couldn’t wait to see where this one was going. But then—-it just didn’t go anywhere.

It started out as a great Gothic mystery with so much promise and the monster/horror element with the icemen but then somewhere along the way it just turns into this weird story that I can’t even describe. There is a ton of info about science and genetics which normally I would find fascinating but in this one I was just so confused. I started this book back in April right when I got it and I didn’t finish it until June. It took way too long for me to finish it and when I did I was left feeling confused and disappointed. I would pick it up and walk away for it for weeks at a time only to return to the same weird story.

I would have DNF this one, but the first third was so so so good and I just kept hoping that the last third would improve, but by the time I was 90% done it was clear that it wasn’t going to improve, ultimately I decided to keep reading—-after all I had come that far! But I felt so disappointed and sad because this book sounded like it was going to be so good and in fact started out so good that I just couldn’t reconcile the fact that the first part was so good and then the story just turned into something weird without direction.

I wanted to love this one—I truly did! And in all honesty, I want to read something else by this author because it did start out so good, but it just needed more direction and action to break up the last half of the book. I know there were a number of people who loved this one so it sounds like I am in the minority so if you like science and genetics plus Gothic and horror elements then this is one you should check out to see if you like it, for me–I love all those things but in this case it just didn’t work for me.

Book Info and Rating

Hardcover, 349 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by William Morrow
ISBN 0062912755 (ISBN13: 9780062912756)
Review copy provided by personal collection. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 2 stars
Genre: Gothic fiction, horror


7 thoughts on “Review: The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t like this book. I had a very different experience and found it fascinating. Yes, it went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting (and I won’t say what it was to avoid providing spoilers), but I still found it to be very interesting, and it really got me thinking. The writing was very fluid and atmospheric. I hope people will give it a try!

    1. Agree about the writing, the writing was great just the story wasn’t for me I don’t think. I mean it was ok but I didn’t love it like I was expecting and that made me so so so sad 😦

  2. That’s a shame that this one wasn’t for you, Anne. However, you were obviously impressed with her writing style, so maybe a different one of her books would fit your reading preferences better. x

      1. I always feel like one ok book is just not enough for me to decide if I like the author or not. Perfect example, Stephen King. I DNF The Gunslinger and absolutely hated it…..but I loved The Shining so sometimes I need more than one book to make a decision haha

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