The Villa by Rachel Hawkins is kind of a ‘story within a story’ – it’s a gothic thriller with women as the main characters. I was slow to get hooked on this novel, (about 100 pages in), but the last two-thirds of the book kept me reading late into the night!
In the present day timeline, Chess and Emily are childhood best friends who get the chance to spend a few summer weeks at a famous villa in Italy. Their friendship is complicated, even though both of them have seen success. Chess is a self-help writer and Emily writes cozy mysteries. Will a vacation at the villa strengthen that friendship or tear it apart???
The second timeline takes place in 1974 – Mari and Lara are stepsisters who spend the summer at the Italian villa. Their time there is tumultuous – drugs, affairs, alcohol, rock stars and secrets. There is a murder during this summer, and rumors persist twenty years later about what happened among the five people who were staying at the villa. Was the right person convicted?
I’m glad I stuck with The Villa long enough to be hooked!! The two storylines do intersect really well at the end and I liked the chilling feel of the plot. There are lots of things happening beneath the surface and I was surprised at the end!