Cover Image: The Villa

The Villa

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Member Reviews

Stuck between the past and present, fiction and reality, this book ended up surprising me more than I expected. At moments I truly wanted to stop reading and more often than not I was mentally cursing Emily and Chess for the stupidity of their conversations but at the same time I had a hard time letting go. I truly wanted to know what was actually going on and how everything was going to be developed. It was very interesting watching/reading the process of how everything lined up together and more or less gave us a whole picture. In my very own personal opinion, there were way too many loose ends and not enough answers. I get the appeal of cliffhangers and unanswered questions but, it gives you the feeling that this book was rushed and written in a very careless way, as if the author didn't have it in her to actually connect the dots in her own story. Maybe that is part of her plan but I would've definitely loved it more if I had more answer like "What was actually making Emily sick?". Overall the story was super interesting and intriguing. Very pleasant read. Give it a try. 

Thank you Netgalley, Rachel Hawkins and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity.
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The Villa is a tale of two moments in time, one in 1974 and the other in 2023. Mari, a 19 year old has been whisked away to an Italian villa for a summer of lounging by the pool, writing her novel, and continuing the role as muse to her boyfriend Pierce. Emily (Em) is a soon-to-be divorced author who has been whisked away to the same villa by her best friend Jessica (Chess) as a getaway that will allow them both to write.

Except in 1974, the unthinkable happened. Pierce was murdered and from the tragedy, came new lives for the two sisters there. Mari's biggest success was a fictional novel Lilith Rising, that seems to have some parallels to the villa. Once down the rabbit hole, Em is determined to find out what really happened that summer in 1974. Was there more to the story than what was publicly told? Is it true that houses remember?

The Villa was my first Rachel Hawkins novel and it was an extremely quick read for me. I really enjoyed that you were essentially getting two books for the price of one, with stories that intertwined. The writing very much would appeal to those interested in Ruth Ware or similar novels. I have a few of her other books on my TBR shelf, and I'll be placing holds for them at the library to see what she puts out next.

A thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing me with a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are purely my own.
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The Villa is a Gothic suspense novel told in dual timelines and dual points of view. I loved the Italian Villa setting and all the references to Mary Shelley and Frankenstein.

One timeline was present day and involved a toxic friendship between two authors. The second timeline was set in the summer of 1974 with a group of musicians and a writer. I was most interested in this past timeline and the dynamics of the group. You could feel the tension building as the summer passed. I liked how the author connected the two timelines in the end.

This was a fast-paced novel that I binged in 2 days! Thank you to the publisher for my e-copy of this book..
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This book was just okay for me; I wanted to like it because the book -and the author- are hyped up on TikTok and BookTube but maybe this author just isn’t for me. I started this as an ebook and couldn’t get into it at all. What sold me was the audiobook because I listened to it while I was at work. It was interesting but you could tell where the story was going and lost interest. Despite enjoying the audiobook, I was bored in this book.
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The Villa by Rachel Hawkins is a fantastic gothic suspense. 

Set in an Italian Villa, there was a dual timeline that i think really added to the story. 

The characters were well written and fleshed out. 

This was well written and kept me guessing.
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This story was very well done. I'm not usually a huge fan of split timelines and dual POV's but it worked well in this case. Both POV's were interesting and kept me reading but they also ended at good points were I was ready to slip into the other timeline. Both mysteries were great, I loved the way they concluded. The end was a tiny bit open ended but it worked. Overall I loved this book and recommend it.
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that when Rachel Hawkins writes an unhinged popcorn thriller, I will read it. 😂 [laughing emoji] Thank you to the publisher for passing along her latest…⁣
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THE VILLA is the story of Emily, a struggling writer in the midst of a messy divorce, who travels to Italy with her childhood friend Chess who is now a wellness guru and inspirational writer. The villa they stay at with once the site of a brutal murder in 1974 when notorious rock star, Noel Gordon invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. ⁣
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After that fateful summer, Mari wrote one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composed a platinum album and Pierce was very dead… Once Emily starts uncovering the past, her present relationship with Chess takes a rocky turn…⁣
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THE VILLA takes its inspiration from the summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron where Mary first wrote Frankenstein and mixes it in with Fleetwood Mac-esque 70s drama and a touch of murder. The setting is fabulous and Hawkins’ writing is just entertaining as always, but I must confess this is not my favorite of her novels. The plot is a bit predictable aside from one concluding zinger that I’m still chuckling over. And although I share Hawkins’ dislike of Percy Shelley (aka Pierce), I also dislike Byron and felt like the reimagined character of John Polidori got the short end of the stick. (He wrote the first vampire novel! Give him some credit!) ⁣
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I’ll always be here for stories about sisterhood, female friendship, and revenge but this one was just 3 stars for me. (Also please note this is an adult novel with plenty of graphic content including drug use, sexual situations, and language.)
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Another great story from this author. I loved the flashbacks and the excerpts from Mary’s book as well as reading about her time at the villa. I didn’t know where this one was going but thought it was great and well told.
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This was such a great read for me! I usually feel like books need to be edited down, but I actually wanted more time with theses characters. I loved the dual timelines - the quippy, modern friendship of Chess and Emily and the slow and thoughtful timeline of Mari. I appreciated the exploration of art - writing and music, the Italian setting, and the murder mystery all wrapped in one. Rachel Hawkins is quickly becoming one my favorite authors with consistently enjoyable, unputdownable reads.
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The Villa is a fun, easy, compelling romp that will keep you entertained and then surprise you with startling twists. If you're looking for an enjoyable thriller that celebrates the importance of female friendships despite jealousy and competition, this one's for you.

The plot of the novel is a delightfully complicated envelope in an envelope, with the modern-day characters-- bff writer friends staying in an Italian villa for a summer -- looking back on stepsisters, a writer and songwriter, who stayed in the villa in the 1970s -- one of whom is writing a novel of her own about yet another character staying in that same villa. The best part is that this sounds confusing but is actually easy to follow because Rachel Hawkins knows how to juggle. 

The narration of the audiobook is a whole production with three actors reading the different parts. (Perhaps this helped with keeping the different stories easily separated.) I am grateful to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for providing me with an advance copy of the audiobook and to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an ARC of the ebook. (I preferred the audiobook for this one.) Enjoy!
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In 1974 rockstar Noel Gordon, rents Villa Aestas with his new upcoming musician buddy and his girlfriend and her stepsister. What’s supposed to be a summer of rock n roll ends in a gruesome murder, that no one to this day knows the exact details of. When aspiring writer Emily is offered to stay at the villa with her successful best friend, there’s only one thing on her mind, Yes! But soon Emily starts to dig into the past and sometimes the past is better left untouched.⁣
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What a book! I really enjoyed The Villa it was easy to immerse myself in the story and I even found it haunting. The relationships in this story are very complex and at times toxic, which adds to the appeal of the novel. ⁣
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I definitely prefer The Villa over last years novel Reckless Girls, if you’re a Rachel Hawkin fan make sure to grab yourself a copy on release date!
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True Crime? Best Friends? Vacation? Who wouldn’t want to read this book cause I certainly could not stop listening! Following Emily and Chess on their vacation to the Villa in Italy was a very interesting story, especially with the dual POV in different years and seeing where the past meets the present. This is the second novel I’ve read from Hawkins and I would say I enjoyed this one equally at the first. One thing I love about Rachel Hawkins's writing is that it feels realistic especially when it comes to characters' conversations and thoughts and how they would react to certain events. It’s one of my favorite parts about her books is that they feel real. Thank you NetGalley and @Rach for my copy of The Villa
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Two friends, Emily and Chess, decide to go to Italy on a girls trip. Both ladies need a break from work and life.  They are hoping for time to reconnect.

They stay in Villa Aestas and try to enjoy a long and much needed vacation.  Once there, they learn the history of the Villa and its deep, dark secrets.  It is discovered that betrayal and death once took place here with others.  As an author, Emily begins to write again.  The two friends reveal deep secrets with each other and the reader finds out why Chess orginally wanted to take the trip.

The story is told in present and past tense.  The reader learns of the mysterious happenings at the Villa from long ago, while reading about Emily and Chess in the present. 

I personally found the book confusing.  This was not the thriller that I was hoping it to read.  In my opinion, it is not the author's best book.
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Hawkins does it again!  This book combined a past and present story line at a beautiful setting in Italy. The house was basically another character in the story. One of the things I love about reading is that it allows me to travel without leaving my house and this book was great for that. The scenery could be felt. Also, what woman can’t relate to having a frenemy, especially in this time of social media comparisons?  The story line that took place in the past kept me questioning what really was going on and captured the drama of fame and artistic temperament. The modern twist felt a bit rushed to me but that may have just been because I was reading so fast to see what happened and how everything was tied together. Overall, I feel like this story really captured a place, a time, and my imagination.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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This book simultaneously explores two storylines.  Emily and Chess are best friends who are trying to reconnect on a girl's trip and write the book together they have always wanted to. The villa they stay at is connected to a murder in 1974 and another book was written there by Mari.  As they start to uncover what happened in the past you also learned what happened in the present.
This book very quickly draws in the reader and the twists and turns made it difficult for me to put it down.  The two stories being told side by side push each other forward in a way that keeps the reader wanting to know what happens next.  
Towards the end, the characters are less likable as you realized what they had actually done and what had happened.  The book as a whole is definitely more plot-driven and if that is what you enjoy as a reader then this book will keep you entertained. 
I found myself more intrigued by the Lilith Rising and Mari storyline and it felt adjacent to reading a Taylor Jenkins Reid book.   
Overall I enjoyed the book and I would read it again and recommend it. 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the ARC from netgalley.com.
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This is my third Rachel Hawkins book, and it did not disappoint. I love how it follows two best friends who need to have a reconnection and go on a trip together. Also, the past timeline with Mari and Lara and how two step sisters are fighting over the same man. All of this takes place at the same Villa, just many years apart. I preferred the storyline of Emily and Chess to the one with Mari and Lara. Only because Mari and Lara came off very catty with each other. The story definitely kept me intrigued and wanting to figure out why this Villa that was once the crime scene of a murder was still so scary to this day.
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I picked this up bc I really enjoyed Reckless Girls. This was just ok for me. The last 80% was great but the 1st part was honestly a struggle. Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.
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The Villa’s strength was in the atmospheric setting In both timelines. I really enjoyed the old villa and it’s vivid presence in the book. I preferred the historical timeline to the present day one, as it felt more gripping and tension-filled. The toxic friendship explored in the present day was well written as it was frustrating to read! 
Overall, a quick and fast-paced suspenseful read that I enjoyed. My first read from this author, I will keep my eye out for more of their work in the future. 
Many thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I’ve read multiple books by Rachel Hawkins and this has the best character development backstory out of the ones I’ve read. The twists were not as wild as I wanted, so I couldn’t give it more stars. I would rate this as 3.5.
Emily and Chess were best friends growing up. Now that they are older there see each other when  time allows. Emily has always been the more reserved reasonable one while Chess tends to be more wild and extroverted. 
Both are authors. Emily writes cozy mysteries while Chess writes self help. When Chess asks Emily to go on a summer long vacation to The Villa Emily decides she should go as she has been dealing with a messy divorce and needs a break.
When Emily starts to research where they are staying she realizes it’s called the Murder House. She starts deep diving into the history and gets motivation to write about it, 
The book flips to the past 1974 when Mari and musician boyfriend Noel get invited  by a famous musician to The Villa. Mari tells her story and what leads up to the murder of one of the summer guests.
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I was confused off and on through this book. I really enjoyed it but I kept getting the characters and their connection to each other mixed up in my head. The story is told in two time frames interspersed with excerpts from books and words to songs. It was almost like a book within a book within a book. Overall I liked the book better than Reckless Girls and found it to be a smooth read. Also, there aren't quite as many f-bombs as in Reckless Girls but still quite a few.

My thanks to St. Martin's Press via Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own. This book was published January 3rd and is available for purchase now.
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