Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Freebie: The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace

Congratulations to Cindy Fanning, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: The Music Lesson and True Confections by Katharine Weber.

This week's book giveaway is last year's hit novel The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace.  The debut novel, now out in paperback, is a magical mystery tour of the senses.  Here's the publisher's jacket copy:
In the early 1800s, a young Italian contessa, Carolina Fantoni, realizes she is going blind shortly before she marries the town's most sought-after bachelor. Her parents don't believe her, nor does her fiancé. The only one who understands is the eccentric local inventor and her longtime companion, Turri. When her eyesight dims forever, Carolina can no longer see her beloved lake or the rich hues of her own dresses. But as darkness erases her world, she discovers one place she can still see-in her dreams. Carolina creates a vivid dreaming life, in which she can not only see, but also fly, exploring lands she had never known. Desperate to communicate with Carolina, Turri invents a peculiar machine for her: the world's first typewriter. His gift ignites a passionate love affair that will change both of their lives forever. Based on the true story of a nineteenth-century inventor and his innovative contraption, The Blind Contessa's New Machine is an enchanting confection of love and the triumph of the imagination.

In her review at [tk] reviews, Hannah Wood had this to say about Wallace's novel:
For a book with blindness as a central theme, The Blind Contessa’s New Machine is strikingly visual. Wallace’s writing creates a richly evocative feast of light and color and texture, from the lush Italian hillsides to the exotic galas held within brocaded palazzo interiors. This renders the inexorable progress of Carolina’s disability even more acute; Wallace makes us, as readers, powerfully aware of what she is losing. It also explains why, as her waking world diminishes, Carolina’s dreams suddenly come alive—she compensates for her blindness with a surreal inner landscape that both echoes and departs from real life.
If you'd like the chance to win a new paperback copy of The Blind Contessa's New Machine, all you have to do is answer this question:

What is the name of the annual arts retreat in Michigan which Wallace founded?  (The answer can be found by poking around the author's website)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on July 28--at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on July 29.

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