Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins


Title: The Villa
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 3, 2023

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.

Another good novel by Rachel Hawkins.

The Villa is narrated by two characters: Mari in 1974 and Emily in the present.

Emily and Chess have been friends since they were kids. Through the years, they have stayed in touch but they haven't been able to spend quality time together in a long time. 

Emily is a writer of cozy mysteries. Her series' love interest is based on her ex-husband and because of it, she is having a hard time starting her next book without killing the character. On the other hand, Chess has become a very famous and successful self-help writer. When Chess invites Emily to spend a few weeks in Orvieto, Italy, Emily decides to go. Not long after arriving in Italy, Emily becomes quite intrigued by Villa Aestas' history. She learns the house has been the site of a murder in 1974. Emily starts thinking that a book and an album might have clues about what really happened that fateful day.

In the 1970s, Villa Aestas was known as Villa Rosato. Here a famous singer Noel Gordon stayed with Pierce Sheldon, his girlfriend Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. After Pierce is murdered, Mary writes the greatest horror novel of all time and Lara will compose a platinum album that everybody has heard and most own. 

The question is: 

Is the person who killed Pierce really the man accused of the crime or perhaps there is more to the story. 

I enjoyed the two timelines and the two main characters. I liked how the story progressed. We are able to learn how things occurred in 1974 although when you think you know everything, you really don't. 

I've been a fan of  Rachel Hawkins since her Hex Hall series and now I'm a fan of her thrillers.

Lastly, if someone from Netflix is reading this review, I think the Villa could be a great movie!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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