Audiobook, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins @LadyHawkins @justjuliawhelan @voxwetherell #ShiromiArserio @librofm @MacmillanAudio

the setup…
Emily Sheridan is the author of the Petal Bloom cozy mystery series and she’s struggling with the next book. She’s only recently recovered from a baffling illness and her husband Matt left her in the midst of all that. Out of the blue, she receives a call from her estranged childhood friend Jessica Chandler, who now is well known as the successful self help author Chess Chandler. When they were teens, they’d attempted to write a book together but it failed. Chess not only wants to resume their relationship but make another try at co-writing. And, she’s agreeing to fund a vacation in Italy, renting the Villa Aesta. While it’s against Emily’s better judgment, she’s enticed by the possibility of breaking her writer’s block. But when she learns about the villa’s dark past, Emily becomes consumed by that history and that’s the book she begins to secretly write.

the heart of the story…
The story presents a dual timeline featuring the points of view of Emily and Mari Godwick, a writer famous for one highly successful horror novel who was one of the people occupying the villa the summer of 1974. It was rented by rock star Noel Gordon and where musician Pierce Sheldon was murdered. At the time, Mari and the married Pierce were living together with her stepsister Lara Larchmont, a budding songwriter and singer, all Noel’s guests. Emily finds clues Mari left behind and becomes obsessed with their story, questioning whether the real truth of what happened is yet to be revealed. There were so many parallels between Emily & Mari and Chess & Lara, at least in my mind, making this one of the more complex mysteries I’ve read in some time. While I was highly interested in the past, it was the relationship between Emily and Chess that consumed me. I was terribly suspicious of Chess from the start and those parallels were guiding me strongly, seeking to confirm or alleviate my concerns.

the narration…
I’m convinced the über talented narrators contributed to my emotional connections to this story from start to finish. All inhabited their characters skillfully and were expert storytellers. Definitely opt for the audio version if you have a choice as they served the writing extremely well.

the bottom line…
I inhaled this story, mentally and emotionally. When I wasn’t listening to the book, I was thinking about all the potential angles. It was clear there would be a twist at some point but it wasn’t what I thought it would be…at all! I’m left speculating about the implications, changing my assortment of the facts and actions, wondering about some of the stuff not completely made clear. This would be an ideal book club pick because you’re gonna want to talk about it. I certainly do! And, if there’s a chance for a sequel…

Book Info

  • Release Date: January 3, 2023
  • Narrators: Julia Whelan, Kimberly M. Wetherell & Shiromi Arserio
  • Audio Length: 7 hours, 57 minutes
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio



Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |



(Thanks to and Macmillan Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

15 thoughts on “The Villa by Rachel Hawkins @LadyHawkins @justjuliawhelan @voxwetherell #ShiromiArserio @librofm @MacmillanAudio”

  1. That was exactly my experience. Wendy (Bashful Bookworm) felt that it lagged in the middle, and I realized it didn’t for me because I was so swept up in the atmosphere and the connection I felt to the main character. I just loved this book! Excellent review!


  2. I’m guessing this has a Frankenstein connection, with the 1970s set-up relating to the gathering at Lake Geneva of Mary and Percy Shelley, along with Lord Gordon and Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont? As you say, it sounds a fascinating choice for a book club!

    Liked by 1 person

Comment anyone?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s