The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace is a enchanting story about Carolina, a young woman in 19th century Italy. She lives with her parents in a small town, and spends most of her time in a small cottage by the lake her father constructed for her mother. She's a fanciful girl, and her imagination is endless.
Nearby lives Turri, a young man who is known for being eccentric. He is always tinkering with inventions, and is obsessed with making wings so he can fly. The two meet at the lake, and form a friendship that lasts years, from Carolina's childhood to adulthood. From this friendship, loves blooms.
The only problem is that Carolina is engaged to Pietro, the town "catch", and Turri is married with a young son. Carolina is also going blind. She tells her parents and Pietro before they are married, but no one believes her. Soon after her marriage, she completely loses her sight. She mourns the loss of freedom and struggles to make her way to the lake, where she finds comfort in the sounds and her cottage. While she can no longer see, in her dreams she sees everything again, and flies. Turri is there, too. He invents a typewriter for Carolina, so she can communicate with him via letters. Will they find happiness together? And who is following Carolina around the house at night?
This is a very lovely tale. It's fanciful, beautifully written, and very easy to fall into. It is magical--if you're a fan of Garden Spells, or Alice Hoffman, you will enjoy this book.