Review: The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

Book Review

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
Mystery, Thriller, Gothic

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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.

What I thought

Thank you, Macmillan Audio, for giving me a copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

Let me start off by saying that this book is not something that I would typically read.  I have not read many in this genre, so I do not have a lot to base this book against.  To be honest, it was the publisher’s blurb that make me want to pick this one up “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”  Now, with that out of the way, let me tell you that I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put it down.  I am usually not a fan of dual timelines because I usually find myself only liking one and then annoyed that I am being interrupted by the other.  However, that was not the case this time, I was fully invested in both. 

The first timeline takes place in the present day.  Emily’s life is essentially falling apart, she is way late delivering a book to her publisher and her soon-to-be ex is trying to rake her over the coals.  As you discover her ex’s motives, you find out how truly horrible he really is.  Then you have the Summer of 1974 where you follow Mari’s story.  In both of these timelines, people are coming to this Villa hoping to spark their creativity.  

This story kept me on the edge of my seat while I watched these two timelines unfold. Mari is writing Lilith Rising while her sister Lara is writing her first album, all while events are leading up to a horrific murder that ends their summer.  Emily becomes so immersed in Mari’s story and is trying to uncover what really happened that Summer in 1974 that she begins writing a whole new book.  

I found myself really wanting to read Lilith Rising and was a little disappointed when I discovered that it really does not exist, so here is to hoping that the author follows up with it. 

My Rating: /5

Have you read this book? If so what did you think? Tell me in the comments below.

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