Book Review: The Villa

Book: The Villa

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Thank you NetGalley and Macmillian Audio for an advanced audio copy.

Kristen’s Review

Emily is a “cozy” mystery writer who has had a tough few months of being sick and dealing with a divorce.

Emily runs into Chess. Chess was her best friend since they were kids. Chess is a famous writer that had made a career in self-help motivation books.

After running into each other Chess asks Emily if she would like to go to Italy with her for the summer and stay at a villa. Emily agreed to go and was hoping that a change in scenery would help to get her out of the writing slump she is in.

The villa they stay in has a history. Back in the 1970s a famous singer died in the Villa. Emily is determined to find out what happened, so determined that she starts to write a story about what happened in the villa.

The story goes back and forth from the present, and back to the 1970s to tell the story of Mari and the famous singer.

I was a little concerned about the friendship between Emily and Chess at first. I thought Chess may have tried using Emily for her own benefit. It was great seeing their bond get stronger.

This book was really well done with some twists that will catch you by surprise.

Final Score 4/5

Brian’s Review

The Villa follows two best friends at different points in their life. Emily is a writer that has been dealing with writer’s block when it comes to the series she is contracted to write, she is also dealing with a divorce, and recovering from health issues.

Emily’s best friend Chess is feeling like she is on top of the world. She is also a writer and has made a career in self-help books. She is much more famous than Emily.

The two girls go on a trip to a villa in Italy. The villa is home to a dark past. A murder took place in the villa. Emily uncovers some secrets from the murder and her writer’s block dissipates as she writes a new book about the villa.

This book has an excellent idea but it failed to grab me for 80% of the book. Emily is an interesting and well-developed character and I liked learning about her past and where her marriage went wrong. As you learn more about her relationship with Chess I had a hard time understanding why Chess was a constant in Emily’s life.

Part of this book was told through Mary, Mary was in the house during the murder in the 70s. These parts of the story were often interesting and made me want more of the history of the villa rather than the Chess and Emily drama.

The third perspective this story is told through is from a true crime podcast. These were not done often and were really only valuable to the reader by a way of telling a major plot point at the end. Besides that, I did not enjoy these quick segments.

Overall I felt The Villa was mostly me waiting for something to happen. When that something finally does happen I did not find it interesting enough for me to be excited about recommending this book.

Final score 2/5

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