I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press. This has not impacted my rating and this review is voluntary.
- Genre: Gothic, Thrillers, Suspense
- Published by: St. Martin’s Press
- Publish date: January 03, 2023
- Number of pages: 288 pages
- Author’s website: https://www.rachelhawkinsbooks.com/
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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.
I really loved this book. The mood, the vibes, and the setting were just so on point. The juxtaposition of a summery, Italian villa with its notorious dark past mixed with characters who hold the same mystery– beautiful women who hold storms inside.
This story felt like something Taylor Swift would write about in her songs a la Folklore and Evermore. But it also alludes to the notoriety of bands staying in a haunted home to write their hit album.
I was hooked by how this novel alternates between the past and current mysteries. Rachel Hawkins crafts a narrative where you are intrigued yet suspicious of everyone. I blew through this novel.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!