An Unexpected Inheritance Comes with Plenty of Dark and Twisty Family Secrets in Danielle Trussoni’s ‘The Ancestor’ [REVIEW]


The secrets to one family’s dark past lies buried deep in the Italian Alps. (Photo courtesy Canva)

She is trying to put her life back together when she receives a letter that challenges everything she thought she knew. But the truth comes with a warning… and a price. What cost will she pay to unlock her family’s darkest secrets? Find out in Danielle Trussoni’s engrossing new gothic suspense novel, The Ancestor.

Danielle Trussoni's THE ANCESTOR

William Morrow

When an unexpected letter arrives at her Hudson Valley Home, Alberta “Bert” Monte isn’t quite sure what to make of it. But she will soon discover that the letter penned entirely in Italian is a last will and testament designating her as the final heir to a noble title, wealth, and even a castle. What it doesn’t tell her, but which her grandmother-in-law alludes to, is that nothing is for free, and the branches that come with this particular family tree are dark and twisty.

Still, when a gorgeous attorney shows up on her doorstep soon after, he whisks Bert and her husband away to Turin, Italy aboard a private jet where they obtain their Italian passports and glasses of Cristal to sip along the way. Once they arrive, they’re dropped at a posh hotel and given brand new wardrobes (after all, they can’t look like casual Americans when they’ll be rubbing elbows with the Italians). But the fairy tale doesn’t end there. Once Bert finally does meet with the lawyers, she discovers her generous ancestors also left her loads of artwork, precious gems, and the aforementioned ancestral castle which comes with a fully stocked wine cellar and a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never even knew she had.

As exciting as all this seems, however, Nonna’s early warnings come back to haunt Bert as she discovers just how complicated the family really is. As she learns the extent of her new fortune, she also realizes that the Montebianco family secrets are much darker than she bargained for.

With The Ancestor, Danielle Trussoni has delivered a captivating story that lures us in from page one and keeps us turning pages late into the night. It is the tale many of us hope to be told one day. You know the one, when a stranger suddenly appears with a golden ticket to a family fortune we never knew existed. But Trussoni does much more than just create a fabled Cinderella story with a happy-ever-after ending. Instead, she tantalizes us with beautiful things, a mythical lineage, and a gorgeous locale only to lead us on a suspenseful, riveting journey we find impossible to resist.

Reading this book, I was reminded of the best stories authors like Phyllis A. Whitney, Mary Stewart, and Daphne du Maurier used to write. They were women who knew how to blend romance and suspense with dark secrets and imminent danger. Theirs were novels I devoured for years, and The Ancestor is equally absorbing. Italy is romanticized for many of us anyway, I think, so it was the perfect setting to have Bert’s character explore. Yet there is much unknown here too, such as how the family discovered her whereabouts to begin with, why they have been hidden all these years, and what exactly will she have to give up if she’s to accept this inheritance at all. Trussoni’s writing exudes confidence and mystery, and becomes a delicious book we are powerless to resist.

If you love gothic suspense, you’re in for a rare treat. The Ancestor is a perfect tale to thrill and delight you, particularly during quarantine. It will sweep you away to another land that will enchant you, even as it has you biting your nails with equal fervor.

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Danielle Trussoni

Danielle Trussoni
(Photo by Oren R. Cohen)


Danielle Trussoni is the New York Times, USA Today, and Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of the thrillers Angelology and Angelopolis.

She currently writes the “Horror” column for the New York Times Book Review and has recently served as a jurist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

Trussoni holds an MFA in fiction from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she won the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship award.

Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages.

She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family and her pug, Fly. For more information, visit, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Danielle Trussoni
368 pp. William Morrow. $27.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase The Ancestor at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, HarperCollins, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

The Ancestor is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

3 Responses to An Unexpected Inheritance Comes with Plenty of Dark and Twisty Family Secrets in Danielle Trussoni’s ‘The Ancestor’ [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: Danielle Trussoni, author of The Ancestor, on tour April 2020 | TLC Book Tours

  2. trish says:

    This book sounds so good! I would love to imagine inheriting a huge castle, and I love the less-than-Disney spin on it.

    Thanks for being on this tour!

    • Jathan Fink says:

      Trish, I can’t recommend this one enough. I couldn’t put it down. I love gothic suspense, and this is like Mary Shelley meets Daphne du Maurier meets Michael Crichton. It is everything this genre should be and so much more.

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