The Villa

A Novel

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 03 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 17 Jan 2023



"Hawkins weaves an engrossing tale about betrayal, sisterhood, and the power of telling your own story. Captivating!" ––People

"Hawkins is the reigning queen of suspense." ––Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author

The bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs returns with a brilliant new gothic suspense set at an Italian villa with a dark history.

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.


"Hawkins weaves an engrossing tale about betrayal, sisterhood, and the power of telling your own story. Captivating!" ––People

"Hawkins is the reigning queen of...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781250280015
PRICE $28.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 3544 members

Featured Reviews

This is another winner by Hawkins! In 2023, Emily and Chess have become distant, not the wonderful friends they had years ago. Emily is now a cozy mystery writer and Chess a famous influencer (whom Emily is always comparing herself to in a negative manner). So, when Emily is invited by Chess to a famous villa in Umbria she rented for six weeks, she jumps at the chance with the hope that this will revive her writer's block. The notorious history of the villa dates to the seventies with all the references to the time added to make it a fascinating read! Two of the women involved in the troubles ended up being famous for one of the best horror novels ever written, and the other for a platinum album. (Shades of Stevie Nicks!) Secrets, twists, and dangerous encounters kept me turning the pages and not wanting it to end! Excellent storytelling - thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of The Villa.

Was this review helpful?

Ooohhhh The Villa was STELLAR! I couldn’t believe I was approved to read it so I gobbled it up fast so they couldn’t take it back before I finished😂🤣

I loved this thriller, you get 2 stories in one book and WOW. I love all her previous titles but I think this is my new favorite.

The Villa kept me on my toes the entire time and I got seriously attached to the characters. I loved the extra twist at the end but I was not ready to say goodbye to this story!

Absolutely excellent thriller and a major thank you to @netgalley & @stmartinspress for my arc!

Was this review helpful?

Wow. I found this to be an amazing book. You know when a book is so good you can’t put it down, but at the same time you don’t want it to end? This is that book. Phenomenal.
Thank you so much NetGalley for this opportunity to read & review!

Was this review helpful?

Rachel Hawkins is one of those authors where I know I’ll love the book even before I read it. I had high expectations and The Villa surpassed them! I finished reading it 3 days ago and cannot stop thinking about it. I love how the book tells the story of 2 time periods & characters and weaves them together. The ending, which I always think makes or breaks the book, was perfect! I will be telling everyone about The Villa!

Was this review helpful?

I couldn’t put this book down once I started reading. It’s a crime/thriller based on two friends in the present and two sisters in the past and how their futures are influenced by the events that take place at the villa. Houses Remenber ❤️ This is definitely a book I will recommend to fellow readers upon release. The story had likeable characters and flowed with good pace. I totally loved it and this will be a book that will stay with me for a long time. The author definitely tells a good story and this was beautifully written. It was the first book I had read by Rachel Hawkins, but will definitely not be my last.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely fantastic! Could not put the book down. Going to recommend to everyone to check out this book!

Was this review helpful?

The newest thriller from Rachel Hawkins is AMAZING! This has all the great gothic vibes that she is so good at, but I think she took this to the next level. She weaves so many interesting dynamics, both past and present, into these characters relationships. You have the lifelong best friends on a summer trip to Italy, but there is a hint of competition and something even darker brewing. There is the story of stepsisters who share too many things, even when they don't want to. There are musicians working together for the summer, hoping the other will give them what they need to increase their success. Of course, there is a murder. On top of everything else, all of this takes place in a beautiful villa in a small town in Italy, which adds to the atmosphere.

I don't want to give anything away, but the twists were really good in this one. I had my thoughts of what was going on, but I love it when I'm wrong! This is my favorite of the author's books and I HIGHLY recommend.

Was this review helpful?

Wow. Apparently I have been living under a rock and have never read a Rachel Hawkins book before. This was superb! At first I wasn't sure but by 40 pages in I was hooked. Usually jumping back and forth between timelines is a little jarring but for her it's seamless and perfect for the storyline. Although I sort of hated the character of chess, it really did make the story come full circle.

Thank you to net galley for the advanced copy of this book, I may or may not have read this in one day!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley for a copy of this ARC from one of my favorite authors!

I really enjoyed following along with Em and Chess' story. As usual with Hawkins' novels, I was sucked in immediately. While the story didn't have too many shocking twists, it was eventful and exciting. I will definitely be recommending this to my thriller loving friends and secretly hoping it is picked up as a Book of the Month so I can snag it to shelf with my other Hawkins!

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with an advanced copy; I LOVED this book. I read it in two days; would have finished it in one if life didn’t get in the way!

What an original concept- a sorry within a story within a story. I loved the parallels between the 1970s storyline and present day storyline and, also, their differences. The influence of music and books as well as the symbolism of a getaway in a foreign country being both the best and worst things to happen to all the characters was fascinating. The story could have gone more predictable routes yet truly stayed unique and surprising until the end. Dark at times, the author really got to the core of how close relationships can bring out the best and worst in people.

This is the third book I have read by Rachel Hawkins; I find her to be a very talented suspense writer and I look forward to more titles. Highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

Rachel Hawkins does it again! A sweeping thriller in the beautiful Italian countryside that spans the ages. Two friends reconnect in a beautiful setting that was the site of a gruesome murder. But as Emily seeks more information about the villa, she feels that Chess is not exactly who she was or who Emily thinks she is. A cat and mouse game with interesting results. The Villa does not disappoint.

Was this review helpful?

Think Taylor Jenkins Reid meets Lucy Foley.. what more could you want?

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins takes us through two best friends journey to an infamous Italian Villa. Their story is intertwined with an account of what happened in the 70s to make this Villa so infamous and a glimpse at the sensational novel written by a young girl during her stay there.

This book took me on a roller coaster. I found the beginning intriguing but hard to follow due to the three separate narratives but once I had my bearings - I couldn’t stop reading. It was so fun throughout the book to notice the parallels between the multiple narratives. Just when everything clicks and you think you have the twist figured out, Rachel Hawkins throws a curveball that left me speechless. This book gained a full star from me just in the last couple chapters.

I truly believe anyone who didn’t like this book just wasn’t paying close enough attention. Such excellent, imaginative writing.

I would highly recommend this book!

Thank you to Net Galley, St. Martin’s Press and Rachel Hawkins for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: