The Villa

Thank you, St Martins Press, for the gifted copy of The Villa {partner}

Genre: Mystery
Format: 📖
Pages: 288
Pub Date: 1.3.2023
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆


“As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.

Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.

As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.

Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.”


“All the drugs and the women and the men, all the wild, dark rumors, all of that is both a distraction from and an offshoot of what this man can do.”

The Villa was one of my last reads of 2022 – I was trying to save it for the start of the new year, but I couldn’t do it because I always enjoy Rachel Hawkins’s books. I’m reasonably sure I devoured The Villa in less than 24 hours because it was -17 outside, and why wouldn’t I want to get lost in an Italian Villa?

I love Hawkins’s vivid descriptions of the Villa’s past and present – they brought the whole thing to life and transported me into the book.

I went into the book with little idea as to what to expect; the only thing I saw is that, to one reader, it felt more like historical fiction. It blended historical fiction, mystery, and domestic suspense. The book was more about unraveling the secret from the past while mixing in a bit of domestic tension into the modern-day perspective.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and I kept trying to guess at the different twists and turns that might come from the story. While I could imagine one of them, I was thoroughly surprised by the other. I felt like I was helping the MC, Emily, discover the long-hidden secrets of the Villa as she discovered clue after clue.

✌🏼 Dual Perspective (40 years apart, same Villa)
🐌 Slower in the middle
🤬 Chess is just the worst
🔀 Historical Fiction + Mystery + Domestic Suspense
🤩 Started & ended with the same line

I recommend reading The Villa if you enjoyed reading The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins.

Format: 288 pages,
Published: January 2023
ISBN 9781250280015 (ISBN10: 125028001X)

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