Cover Image: Villa of Sun and Secrets

Villa of Sun and Secrets

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

When Carla's mother dies she is a bit at sea especially as she has discovered her husband has been having yet another affair...... and she is nearly 50!   Deciding she needs to get away she decides to visit her mother's estranged twin sister Josette in the South of France.   Not getting the warmest of welcomes she stays anyway and gradually gets to know her aunt but will she be able to discover what caused all of the bitterness between the two sisters....... and is it a secret she really wants to know! 

A lovely easy read book in a beautiful setting with likeable characters and a bit of intrigue and secrets to keep your interest.   Perfect light summer read
Was this review helpful?
Well there is a title that completely sums up the book, there is a villa that is key to the story, its set in the South of France in summer, so loads of sun.... and secrets...., that family is hiding a lot of secrets for many many years.  Aunt Josette has been cut off from her family for many years, but when her twin sister Amelia dies, and niece Carla comes to visit, well she knows its only a matter of time before the truth will out. 

There is such a lovely feel to this story, its, warm, had me smiling and gasping. 

I loved that it featured older characters, and how Carla is finally fed up of her cheating husband and is determined to start a new life for herself. 

Although I don't think anyone would be able to predict how different Carla's life would be by the end of the book compared with the start. 

It's a story that kept me on my toes and I couldn't stop reading it, determined to find out more the whole time. 

Just a really lovely story, and just what I've come to expect from this fabulous author. 

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book. A wonderful anytime escape about sun, romance and second chances. 
I loved Carla's story and the intrigue of long hidden family secrets mixed with the wonderful descriptions of the Cote d'Azur, somewhere I've never been but will certainly visit after reading this book.
Was this review helpful?
A lovely heart-warming story and very well written. Loved the French Riviera setting, I raced through it, absolutely loved it!
Was this review helpful?
Villa of Sun and Secrets - I really enjoyed this book. Well written with great characters who I easily identified with and a gorgeous setting. This is a rollercoaster read of family relationships and hidden secrets  with plenty of twists and turns along the way and a very satisfying ending. A perfect setting in France - I would love to to stay at Villa Mimosa.

Highly recommended - a perfect summer holiday read or for those long dark winter evenings. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
This was the first book I read by Jennifer Bohnet, and I must admit that I enjoyed her writing style so much that after I finished, I went to Amazon and purchased some of her other eBooks, including "I'm Virtually Yours," "You Had Me at Bonjour," "A Year of Taking Chances," and "A French Pirouette." I've definitely added her to my favorite authors' list!

Why does this book appeal to me? First of all, her books are set in romantic locales in France -- places I've always dreamed of visiting, or have visited. Like the Cote d'Azur, Brittany, Paris, Provence.  Secondly, many of her books focus on women who are rebuilding their lives after a tragedy. They need to reassess and refocus so they find themselves again. Thirdly, I can identify with these women, who are sometimes initially timid and overwhelmed by the changes forced upon them, but who become strong and confident through the process of rediscovering themselves.

This specific story centers around Carla Sullivan, an almost 50 year old woman whose world is turned upside down when her mother dies and she discovers her husband has had another affair. She decides to get away from the pain caused by the loss of her mother and her husband's infidelity by going to Antibes, France, to seek out her mother's twin sister Josette. Josette isn't welcoming, but she allows Carla to stay in her home with her. Eventually Carla overcomes some of her aunt's resistance and they begin to form a deep relationship while Carla rebuilds her confidence in herself.  

There are some interesting twists and turns in this story, and some of the characters turn out to have a deeper impact in Carla's life than she initially realizes. I don't want to give away any of the surprises, so you will just have to read this page-turner and discover the mystery behind the overriding story of Carla and her Aunt Josette!

Obviously, I definitely recommend this book. If you like these type of stories (with strong women who overcome obstacles in a beautiful, exotic location), be sure to check out Bohnet's other books, too!
Was this review helpful?
There are ups and downs in our main characters story and I found the characters throughout were interesting and the plot engaging. I liked reading this book very much and recommend it as an easy quick read.
Was this review helpful?
Carla Sullivan has just buried her mother and while clearing out her things, she discovers a letter from her Aunt Josette in France, an estranged twin sister of her mother. When she also discovers that her husband David, in spite of all his promises, has been cheating on her again, Carla decides to buy a ticket and travel to the South of France to visit her aunt. Because of the rift between the sisters Carla doesn't know much about Josette and her life and she's desperate to find out more about her, and maybe her family. What she doesn't expect is that she's going to open a Pandora box full of lies, secrets and heartache.

I would have really liked the characters more if they weren't so overdone - they said and did all the right things in the right moments and solved one problem after another systematically and quickly, without big drama. They were either black or white, and I missed the shades of grey on them. Nevertheless, they were lovely described and there were life in all of them, they were not afraid to leave their comfort zones and adapted quickly to new conditions. Carla and Josette were strong and determined women, having courage for changes in every single moment of their lives.

There were, though, elements that couldn't agree with me. The story started to feel too over - dramatic, but not in a positive way, it started to feel too far - fetched, it was not like reading a book but watching a soap - opera like "Dynasty". The characters were so nice and kind and understanding that there came a moment that I thought I couldn't take any more. I know we always want our characters to finally start to talk, but these here were simply talking too much, over - analyzing and discussing everything with each other, so no wonder that the story felt too repetitive, as we were getting a version of the same situation from almost every single character. There were no secrets, everything was in the open and the author didn't keep me guessing.

The secrets have been revealed one after another, keeping the pace of the story on the right track and altogether, it was an easy, light and quick read, set in one of the most stunning places ever. I loved the setting of the south France that was so easily brought to life by the author. It was a story about fresh starts, finding your roots, discovering what is really important in your life. It was full of drama, secrets, loss, disappointment and hope.
Was this review helpful?
Carla's mother, Amelia has just passed away and she has stumbled across a diamond necklace from her husband intended for his newest mistress. From then on, Carla has had enough and flies to France to spend some time away with her aunt who she knows little about but is eager to finally get know the mysterious Josette better now that her mother can't object. 

What Carla hadn't anticipated was to find out that everything she believed about her family is all a lie when Aunt Josette slowly reveals the truth behind Carla's birth. 

I had high hopes for this book, but unfortunately, I found the writing didn't flow easily and the author repeatedly included unnecessary details about how Carla was feeling about the unsettling news, then jump to getting specific food items for brunch and then all of a sudden she's knocking on her aunt's door to invite her over. There was just no smooth fluidity and I found this style of writing very distracting. I hate to say it, but it started to become a chore to even pick this book up and finish it.
Was this review helpful?
One of the best reads of the summer. Super interesting. Great characters. Background location on the French Riviera. Heartwarming. Almost didn’t go to work so I could continue reading. As usual Jennifer Bohnet writes a sensational sentimental story. Some twists and turns that keeps the reader interested to the end. You can only feel rewarded at the end that you read the book.
Was this review helpful?
I couldn’t put this book down. I loved being drawn into the characters and the story. Josette and Amelia’s family relationship is compelling and a great reminder of the importance of family. Great read!
Was this review helpful?
This is like a coming of age story for a 50-year-old. I really liked the way the heroine (finally) decided to take control of her own life. It was a great, fun read!

Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Set in the South of France, this is a novel which sparkles in the sun and paints a wonderful picture of life in the Villa Mimosa. Behind the idyllic setting however, is a tapestry of family secrets which are slowly uncovered. Carla is at a turning point in her life, as she reaches 50 and has decisions to make about where and how she wants to live her life. She re-discovers her Aunt Josette and sets in motion a tsunami in her Aunt's life. There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot as it becomes clear just how many people's lives have been affected by the past.

This is a book which is full of friends and family, of starting over and not living in the past. It is full of the colours and scents of France and has a real summer feel. There are plenty of secondary characters to spark your interest, as Carla's life opens out, as she faces the future. It is written with a light touch and some deft characterisation.

Thanks to the author for a copy of the book
Was this review helpful?
This is a story of first love, old love and new love, and lots of other kinds of love, too. And secrets. Lots of secrets, and how the keeping if them affects lives, as well as the revealing of them. It’s also about new beginnings and not dwelling on the past, but looking to the future. 

An uplifting story set in a wonderful location - this book is truly heartwarming.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to net galley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion. 

This book is such a lovely feel to it. When Carla’s mother died a mother who was never a warm and fuzzy woman, she is requested her house and some personal belongings. While going through the personal belongings she find some pictures that belongs to her aunt, her mother’s twin, from her she’s been estranged most of her adult life. Carlo then discovers much to her dismay that her husband has been cheating on her and on a whim decides to fly off to visit her aunt  this book is such a lovely feel to it. When Carla‘s mother died a mother who was never a warm and fuzzy woman, she is requested her house and some personal belongings. We’re going through the personal belongings she finds some pictures that belongs to her aunt, her mother‘s twin, from whom she’s been estranged most of her adult life. Carla then discovers much to her dismay that her husband has been cheating on her and on a whim decides to fly off to visit her aunt. to deliver the pictures and a mysterious package.

 What Carla finds when she gets to France, is not just an aunt who she vaguely remembers from a few visits, but a whole New World. Carla takes a leap and she decides to move there and start her life anew.  While getting to know her Tante Josette, she finds out so much more about herself in a series of shocking discoveries. This was a lovely book, great characters, a beautiful setting; Villa Mimosa sounds like a place that I would love to go on a little vacation to.  I really enjoyed this book and the ending left me a little teary-eyed and smiling. Great book I can’t wait to read more books from this author.
Was this review helpful?
Great summer escapist read

I love reading romance novels, and I love France.  So, what could be better than a new (to me) author writing romance novels set in France!?  I thoroughly enjoyed Villa of Sun and Secrets.  It is full of twists, but not so complex to read on vacation or at the beach.  

Thank you to the publisher who loaned me a time-constrained e-copy via Netgalley.  The opinions in this review are my own.

Reviewed on, pending their vetting process.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed reading this book.  Have recently changed the genre of book I read from thrillers back to this sort of book..  Ideal to read on summer holidays as easy to read.
Was this review helpful?
I have a bit of an embarrassing confession to make.  Although I have a couple of Jennifer's books on my ever increasing 'to be read' pile, I haven't actually read one...…….until now that is.  Judging by how much I enjoyed reading 'Villa Of Sun & Secrets' I can guarantee that those books will not be on that pile for very much longer.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Villa Of Sun & Secrets' but more about that in a bit.
I took to Carla from the first moment I met her.  When the book begins she is a married mother of two, who has just recently lost her mother and she is trying to sort out her mother's estate.  It emerges that her marriage isn't altogether a happy one.  Carla's husband has had several extra marital affairs.  Carla finds evidence of her husband's latest affair.  Carla is in a highly emotional state already following her mother's death but her husband's latest affair is the straw that broke the camel's back.  Her mother's twin lives in France and the twins still partially own a property that their parents had.  There was a falling out between the twins and they hadn't spoken for years.  Relations have been strained ever since.  Carla has to flee to escape her home and her husband, whilst dealing with the intense emotional trauma of everything that has happened of late.  Carla kills two birds with one stone because she goes to France to sort out her mother's share of the property she partially owned and to find out more about the French side of her family.  Carla also hopes that she will get to the bottom of why the sisters fell out and why they hadn't talked for years, as well as reunite her aunt with a letter that Carla's mother wrote for the aunt and to ask her about family photographs.  Carla starts to form a relationship of sorts with her Aunt and secrets and lies come tumbling out of the closet.  I really felt for Carla because she is on the receiving end of one emotional trauma after another.  It didn't take me long to warm to her and by the time I got to the end of the first couple of chapters I began to think of Carla as being a friend of mine.  I almost cheered when she gave her husband what for over the phone and for the fact that she stuck up for herself.  I think that she had spent that long making sure that everybody around her was ok that she neglected her own self care.  She certainly gets a bit of attitude, which I loved.
Oh my word, I became addicted to 'Villa Of Sun & Secrets' just from seeing the beautifully bright and cheerful front cover.  When I saw the cover I immediately felt myself cheering up a bit and I felt as though I had been transported from the damp and miserable North East of England to sunnier climates.  I began to read the book and I was immediately drawn into the story.  I think that because I was so drawn to Carla, I had to keep reading to see how her particular part of the story panned out and to find out what secrets the family were trying to keep hidden.  I also found that I was comparing Carla's family to my own as we also have a family feud going that first started over something as trivial as a missed phone call.  Anyway enough of my wittering and back to the review I do go.  I started to read only intending to read a couple of chapters but I was still sat there over half a dozen chapters later.  I was so taken by the story that I didn't notice the speed with which the time was passing or the speed with which the pages were turning.  At one point the pages were turning that quickly that it was almost as if they were turning themselves.  I reached the end of the book far quicker than I had anticipated or expected.  I was enjoying the author's writing style, the characters and the storylines that I wanted the book to continue for a lot longer than it did.
'Villa Of Sun & Secrets' is extremely well and beautifully written.  Jennifer has created a story which will ring true for a lot of people.  Family fallouts over something trivial, extra marital affairs and secrets that only start to emerge after somebody has passed away.  She certainly knows how to grab your attention from the start and she keeps your attention throughout the story.  That's what happened to me at any rate.  Jennifer uses such realistic and powerful descriptions that I really did feel as though I was part of the story myself.  If I closed my eyes, I could just imagine that I was in France myself with the sun beating down on my face.
Reading 'Villa Of Sun & Secrets' took me on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride with all the highs and lows, the happiness and sadness and well you get the picture.  I found that I was going through the same emotions that Carla was going through at the same time.  On a few occasions I did feel as though I had developed a lump in my throat.
In short, 'Villa Of Sun & Secrets' is one beautifully written book, which will appeal to a lot of readers but particularly to those who love chick lit sort of books.  I can't wait to read what Jennifer comes up with next.  Here's hoping that we don't have too long to wait.  Whilst I wait I will definitely be reading Jennifer's other books just as soon as I can.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
Was this review helpful?
A beautiful story about fresh starts and discovering who you really are with the stunning setting of the South of France as a backdrop, VILLA OF SUN AND SECRETS by Jennifer Bohnet is simply wonderful.

Carla has just buried her elderly mother and while clearing out her things, uncovers a letter from her Aunt Josette in France whom they are all estranged from. Wondering about that side of her family, it may just have come at the perfect time because when Carla discovers that her husband has cheated on her, yet again, she is no longer willing to look the other way. Packing up her belongings, Carla sets off to find her Aunt in France and a journey of a lifetime awaits as secrets, heartache, and hope will all come to bloom in a villa that will take your breath away.

This lovely book has got it all - drama, loss, secrets, and love, and I was hooked as soon as I read the first page. The characters are well-developed and I felt for Carla as she yearned to forge a relationship with Josette, who has her guard up and tries to keep Carla at a safe distance, but as we get a glimpse into Josette's past we begin to understand this woman a little better. This writer has a fabulous way of bringing a setting alive and after reading VILLA OF SUN AND SECRETS, I wanted to book a family trip to France asap!

VILLA OF SUN AND SECRETS by Jennifer Bohnet is an engaging and entertaining story with characters that will warm your heart and I highly recommend it to all fiction fans.
Was this review helpful?
This was a superb summer read and I loved being whisked to the south of France. 
This book keeps you on your toes as the family secret is revealed. The villa is a perfect setting and is the icing on the cake
Was this review helpful?