The Villa

Rachel Hawkins


From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set at an Italian villa with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

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.

Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Once again, thrillers are the only books to get through to me! This one being based in Italy is definitely a plus! Emily has been down on her luck when her bestie invites her to Italy to spend the summer and work on her novel. How can she pass that up? The history of the house in Italy has a dark past and Emily starts digging, determined to find more.

6 weeks in Italy? With a bestie? Sounds amazing. Except I didn’t get nearly enough bits of Italy descriptions so that was a bit disappointing.

I loved the backdrop and the history of the house. The second POV was a bit confusing at first until I put the pieces together. That mystery from years ago was intriguing enough to peak my interest well. How it ended was all sorts of revenge, justice and eye rolling for so much trust and gullibility. But it fabulously made the story. I’m not sure I loved the end but it added a great twist.

Audio: Fabulous! I didn’t realize until it started that my fav narrator narrated this one so that was a nice surprise. You know you’re an audiobook junkie when you have a fav and Julia Whelan has been mine for quite some time. Whelan is always great at adding intrigue to the audio. She talks like she’s your best friend just telling you a story. The other POV played beautifully into the past part of the story.

General content summary: F words= 20+, C word= 1, language, story of people in an open relationship, previous death of a baby from a sickness, m/m/f threesome (kissing but no other details other than waking up together), teen pregnancy , chronic illness, drugs (multiple), suicide (drowning), alcohol (multiple), physical violence (fist fight), infidelity (multiple), killing (blood, sounds, blunt object, water), miscarriage, previous plane crash and death. 

Thank you to Libro.FM for the complimentary copy!

The book releases January 3, 2023.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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