I picked up The Villa hoping that it would be the sweeping family saga set in a seaside town I wanted The Rocks to be. It was! This followed three women, each representing a different generation of their family. Tess, a single mother who wrestled with whether or not to continue having an affair, was the main character. When she learned she inherited a Villa in Sicily from an unknown benefactor, her trip there forced her mother, Flavia, to examine the loves in her own past. Tess’s daughter Ginny, led a predictable life as a teen and was thrilled to have the house to herself while her mother traveled abroad. Reading this was like traveling with old friends to a romantic location.
This wasn’t exactly a literary masterpiece, but the writing was solid enough to delve into the hearts of the women while also giving flowery descriptions of the food Flavia made and the Italian sights Tess saw. Filling this length novel were plots involving romance, mystery, and self-realization. I was pleasantly surprised that all the plots were equally represented and each explored in absolute proportion for the overall story. The interactions between characters at the Villa occurred naturally and I liked both Tonino and Giovanni, the two hot-blooded Italians interested in Tess. The romance that developed wasn’t too cheesy, but was believable. The mystery was intertwined with family drama as ‘ancient grudge breaks to new mutiny’ through Tonino and Giovanni. I could have done without the chapters devoted to Ginny, which were really juvenile and didn’t add much to the main story. There was also a frequent reference to a weird physical condition ailing Ginny that became annoying.
The love story Flavia wrote in her journal was interesting, but didn’t shed any light on the neighborhood mystery Tess became trapped in. Ultimately, the three narratives didn’t do much to move forward the others, instead they could have been stand alone stories. Still, the setting was visibly portrayed and brought the beauty of Sicily to my living room.
This was absolutely enchanting! I enjoyed reading it and would read more by this author.