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The Ancestor

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  3,626 ratings  ·  811 reviews
From the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the Angelology series comes a bewitching 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.

It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by William Morrow
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Danielle Trussoni Hello Rita! I won't be recording The Ancestor's audio book, unfortunately. My publisher has found a wonderful voice actress however, and I think it is…moreHello Rita! I won't be recording The Ancestor's audio book, unfortunately. My publisher has found a wonderful voice actress however, and I think it is going to be incredible. You'll have to let me know what you think when you hear it.

If you like audio, you will love the audio drama podcast companion to The Ancestor. It is called Crypto-Z and will be available on Apple Podcasts and here:

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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  3,626 ratings  ·  811 reviews

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Miranda Reads
2.5 stars

Every family has its secrets but nothing reveals the truth like DNA.
Alberta "Bert" Monte has lived her entire life in the States. She's never truly been poor but at the same time, life is often a struggle for her.

When she gets a notification of a mysterious inheritance...she's understandably confused, and intrigued.

Turns out, she's the only living heir of a noble title, vast fortune and a castle in Italy. A castle!!

At first it seems too good to be true, but the more she re

The thought crossed my mind that I should have been a bit more wary before climbing into a helicopter and flying to God knows where without an escape route.

this. this a thousand times.

i used to read a lot of monsterporn because it was so much fun to review, and one of the things that always struck me was how agreeable the human participants always were, how easily they adapted to the situations in which they found themselves; able to go from zero to "i am having sex with two gar
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
**2.5-stars rounded up**

When Alberta Monte receives a letter telling her that she is the sole heir to a large fortune, including a gothic castle in Italy, she thinks it must be some sort of hoax.

Upon further investigation however, she discovers it is true. Why her parents would keep such a thing secret from her, she cannot imagine.

Before she knows it, she and her estranged husband, Luca, are being whisked away on a private plane to Turin. There Bert will meet with the attorneys for the Estate to
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I debated between four and five stars for this book, and I landed on five because it’s so refreshingly original and hard to categorize. I also think the storytelling is brilliant, so five it is.

Alberta “Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco.” She lives in New York, and this title comes as quite the surprise.

The kicker? She’s inherited the title, along with a castle in Italy. Bert isn’t fully buying into it, but she is interested in a holiday in Italy.

The trip
Diane S ☔
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
How would you feel if you some up one morning knowing who you are, but by afternoon you are no longer that person. That's the scenario Bertie is confronted with when a letter arrives telling her she is the last person left of an ancient bloodline. A Countess, and a wealthy one to boot, with a castle in the Swiss Alps. Soon she is whisked away in a private jet, taken to the castle to meet an aunt by marriage, whom is not in the best of health and quite elderly. What she finds their is beyond beli ...more
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

Who are our ancestors?
Where do we fit in the family tree, and where do our traits come from?

We have all asked ourselves these questions at some point or another and would be happy to find just a few answers along those lines. In Danielle Trussoni's THE ANCESTOR, the main character wasn't really in search of these answers, but her ancestors tracked her down and presented her with the gift of the past. Her own family legacy.

We all want to believe that we come from hearty, healthy, and s
Oct 08, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gothic-horror
Don't bother. I don't know where I found this, but it has no chills, no thrills and a ludicrous story. The main character is a woman who I first felt some sympathy towards in the beginning as she laments her broken marriage and many miscarriages. She reconnects with her husband in a romantic night in Italy, but then runs away from him. He goes back to the U.S. She doesn't think about him at all until a month passes. A month! So much for true love.

I thought this was going to be a Gothic horror sh
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic, favorites
I received this book for free free as part of an Instagram tour (TLC Book Tours specifically) I did to promote the book.

Wow. This was one of the most fascinating novels I have read in a long time.

First off, I love that the book description does not give away too much. You get to discover the truth about Bert’s family on your own.

It’s really hard to describe this book because it is so unique and I don’t want to spoil anything. There’s some gothic suspense, but also some family tragedy. Then und
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

Listen to me, child. I saw it. The beast came for me on the mountain pass like a ghost with its white hair and devilish blue eyes. Its teeth were sharp as razors. But worst of all, it was so like us. Monstrous and yet so human. The legends were true.

… inheritance is a trickster. One generation may hide its genetic treasures, while the next will put them fully on display.

Leopold had described the village as a seed pressed into a rocky furrow, and it seemed exactly that: a furtive
Alma Katsu
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A young woman at a crossroads in her life is informed, out of the blue, that she is the last remaining member of an old, wealthy European noble house. In order to inherit, however, she must fly out to the family estate high in the Alps. There, she finds she's a virtual prisoner in an isolated old castle, as she tries to piece together her family's strange history.

While this may sound a bit redolent of Gothic thrillers like Dracula, that's where the similarity ends. Trussoni takes us to new place
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways, own
Ouch. My forehead still hurts after face palms I've done while reading this book. It is said to be a horror novel but suddenly, after major spooky mysteries are revealed it suddenly loose all its dark traits and turns into bright adventure in the wild/teary story about motherhood. The whole book feels like the author struggled to keep control over the story which in the end made it incredibly messy. I could live with major mood shift but simply can't stand this lack of information consistency th ...more
The Ancestor is a book about family secrets, yes! my favorite, that takes some wild and unexpected turns. Just when you think it’s going to be one thing (a straight-up gothic tale perhaps?) it turns out to be something else entirely and I LOVED that. I enjoyed the foray into the strange and unexpected and that it bravely went the last place I would’ve expected it to go!

Alberta “Bert” is separated from her husband Luca when the story begins. She’s grieving the loss of her relationship and several
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(4.5) Thank you for the gifted review copy Danielle Trussoni and William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review!

I feel like we get a little bit of everything in THE ANCESTOR! There's some mystery, hints of romance, and, oh yeah - creepy old ladies living remotely in a castle, with a dash of evolution! Sounds weird, but oh my god was it amazing! I actually learned quite a bit about genealogy and homo sapiens, and all that pre-human life jazz. It was really cool exploring Bert's family history,
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I won this as a goodreads giveaway. Thank you William Morrow for the book.

This book was brilliant. And if you love cryptozoology, like I do, get it now.

This story was full of twists and turns that made it even more compelling. Try and finish in one sitting.
This really wasn't my cup of tea...
It started off as a perfect Gothic novel, maybe too perfect for a good while, which then took a completely off the charts left turn into a direction I really don't like much reading about. It seriously feels like the author lost control over the story after the twist and it went all over the place. There are also a few inconsistencies that bothered me- like everybody in Italy speaking American English, in an Alpine region where an accent mixed with French is sp
Nov 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arcs
Honestly, where do I even start?

This book begins with an interesting premise. Young woman in the middle of a quarter-life crisis receives a weird package completely in Italian telling her she is - SURPRISE- actually an Italian noble and the last surviving heir to the house of Montebianco. She gets whisked off by a family lawyer to visit her new estate, and according to the book jacket summary, there are lots of dark family secrets to uncover. WHOO. FUN MYSTERY TIMES.

***There are spoilers after t
La Crosse County Library
I picked up this book right after reading Devolution by Max Brooks when a colleague recommended this one due to a similar type of premise. I was excited to jump from a pack of Sasquatch terrorizing a commune during a natural disaster to an ancient castle with a Yeti.

From the premise, I was expecting the story to follow certain horror tropes according to my colleague’s spin on it with a Yeti terrorizing a town and a castle. Suffice to say that my expectations were subverted. Instead of the story
Jessica Woodbury
I am all for a horror novel that doesn't play by the rules, but with THE ANCESTOR I couldn't tell what the book actually was. It shifted and then shifted again and then it was over and I wasn't sure what had just happened.

At the beginning, the book feels like it's in a rush to get to the good parts, which leaves you somewhat baffled by the time we get to our primary setting of a Norther Italian castle cut off almost entirely from the outside world. It's not quite clear how our protagonist, Alber
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Ancestor is a wonderful shape-shifter of a novel. One minute you’ll suppose you’re in a haunted house: think Shirley Jackson. The next, you’re transported into the sort of world Mary Shelley might have created for Frankenstein. Danielle Trussoni is an immensely gifted literary descendant of both storytellers — they are among her ancestors — which is one of the many reasons why I savor her work so very much.
Erin Craig
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always loved Trussoni’s books and THE ANCESTOR did not disappoint! The perfect blend of gothic horror and biological. If Mary Shelley was a Sasquatch’er, she would have written this! I devoured this book!
Sep 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

This was a really interesting book. It was well written and the pacing was perfect. I don't want to say too much about the plot because the mystery and family secrets are fun to unravel. I will say this story takes a turn that you will either love or hate. I really enjoyed it and thought it made the book unique. The first half of the the book had strong gothic vibes but the tone completely changed in the second half. Even though I was fascinated with where the story went,
Jan 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing
"You must come to understand your inheritance and take charge of it. Or you will find that your inheritance will take charge of you."

This book was truly a surprise, I thought it was going to be a creepy monster spooky story but we took a turn into complicated familial bonds and unique characters that you won't see coming. It's a beautiful, sad, atmospheric story!
Frank Phillips
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing mystery/horror/syfy novel about an inheritance in a haunting, gothic, richly atmospheric Italian Alps castle. I loved it, from the very first to the last word I was simply captivated. it's been quite some time that I have picked up a book that's had me so enthralled that i did not want to put it down and race through it while also wanting to make the experience last as long as I could at the same time. Very impressive stuff from Trussoni, whom I've never read before. I was so ...more
Sadie Hartmann
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cemetery-dance
Review originally published at Cemetery Dance:
I have never wanted to live in the pages of a horror novel as much as I did while reading The Ancestor. Alberta Montebianco lives a stressful, emotionally complicated lifestyle in New York. With almost magical timing, a letter shows up addressed to her but with a new title in front of her name— “Countess.” As it turns out, Alberta discovers that she is possibly the sole, living heir to a noble title, and a
Robin Bonne
2.5 Stars. The first half of this book was four stars, the end of the book was a one star. The book shifted in tone from gothic mystery to something else that I didn’t enjoy.
Ashley Daviau
Feb 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I had a feeling I’d enjoy this book but I had no idea that I’d love it so much that it would become a contender for my favourite book of the year! It might be classified as a slow burn in true gothic horror fashion but it was absolutely riveting and I never felt like I wanted the pace to pick up, a slow burn was perfect for this story. I was hooked from start to finish and I couldn’t put the book down, I had a deep burning desire to find out how it would turn out. I really couldn’t have loved th ...more
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just imagine for a second that your dreams of being royalty (a princess or a countess) comes true. Then you receive a letter stating you have inherited a castle in Italy and you are a Countess! What would you do?

Well this is the story of Alberta "Bert" Monte who was told she is the new "Countess Alberta Montebianco". She is flown to the Alps of Northern Italy near the city of Turin to see the estate she just inherited via a private jet. She meets with the attorneys and is whisked to her new life
Jenny Baker
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, 2021
I got this book through my public library’s Surprise Me Bundle, which is their version of Pick One for Me. You fill out a form telling them what genre or topic interests you, the format, and the number of items you want up to five. They select them, put them on hold, and notify you via text or e-mail so that you can get them via curbside pickup. It’s so much fun! I’ll definitely participate again. I may not have loved this, but I did enjoy it. I would have overlooked it if I had seen it on my ow ...more
Janelle Janson
4.5 - review to come
Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club)
QUICK TAKE: you had me at “gothic novel of suspense that plunges the reader into a world of dark family secrets, the mysteries of human genetics, and the burden of family inheritance.” And I was totally into the first half of THE ANCESTOR. Loved the wish-fulfillment in discovering you’re actually of noble descent and the new owner of a castle. Loved the creepy castle and weird caretakers and strange family history mystery. And just when I thought I had an idea of where this one was going...BAM.. ...more
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Danielle Trussoni is a New York Times and Internationally bestselling novelist, with books translated into over thirty languages.

Trussoni wrote the supernatural adventure novels ANGELOLOGY

Articles featuring this book

In literature, the term “Gothic” is a notoriously slippery designation. Ask a dozen English professors what it means, and you’ll get a dozen...
298 likes · 16 comments
“The mind is like warm wax, the world like a brass seal pressed into it. Such imprints are forever stamped into us. I am eternally marred.” 2 likes
“The thought crossed my mind that I should have been a bit more wary before climbing into a helicopter and flying to God knows where without an escape route.” 1 likes
More quotes…