23 January, 2024

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins - [Book Review]

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Here comes the first review of the year 2024. Happy new Year!

Book Details:

Title: The Villa

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Genre: Mystery, thriller, fiction

Publisher: St Martin's Press

Print length: 279 pages

Source: A copy from local library


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.

Purchase Link:


My Review:

I picked this book from the suggestion of other book bloggers and reviewers.

The Villa Aestas in Italy is a high-end holiday home. In 1974, a famous rock star Noel invites upcoming singer Pierce, his wife Mary and Mary's step sister Lara. A holiday where Noel and Pierce decide to compose songs and create something together turns into a murder house. This story is about the turn of events that take place there. 

Coming to the present, 2 friends Emily and Chess plan to have a fun and relaxing month at the Villa to focus on their writing careers. 

While chess is a successful writer, Emily is struggling to get back to writing after her divorce to Matt. While Emily slowly tries to dig more about the murder that happened in the villa Aestas in 1974, more secrets about her personal life get revealed. What does Emily do? and how this vacation impacted their lives is the remaining story.

This story covers 2 stories in parallel - one about Pierce, and Mary , another about Chess and Emily.
Both stories are completely different. 

What I liked?

2 stories in different generations connected by same place. The twists in the story. The complexity of characters.

The book cover and title are apt. 

What might have been better?

Characters are little complex , especially Lara, Paul, Johnie, Matt etc., I wondered many times why they behaved such way. Why they took those kind of decisions? I think, It might have been good if the book revealed more about them. 

There are good twists for sure but this is not a thriller. I missed suspense and at a few places, I felt the narrative boring.

My Rating: 3/5

About the Author:

Rachel Hawkins (www.rachel-hawkins.com) was a high school English teacher before becoming a full-time writer. She lives with her family in Alabama, and is currently at work on the third book in the Hex Hall series.

Until next time,

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