The Villa – Rosanna Ley

What to Expect:

When Tess Angel receives a solicitor’s letter inviting her to claim her inheritance – the Villa Sirena, perched on a clifftop in Sicily – she is stunned. Her only link to the island is through her mother, Flavia, who left Sicily during World War II and cut all contact with her family. Initially resistant to Tess going back to her roots, Flavia realises the secrets from her past are about to be revealed and decides to try to explain her actions. Meanwhile, Tess’ teenage daughter Ginny is stressed by college, by her blooming sexuality and filled with questions that she longs to ask her father, if only she knew where he was.

Three women, all seeking answers. Will Villa Sirena bring them together – or drive them apart?

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Although all three women feature in their own chapters, the lead is Tess, who was thrust into adulthood when she became a single parent to Ginny (now eighteen), and has coped ever since. When we meet, Tess is seeing a married man- hated by her friends and family- but her trip to Sicily is their make-or-break point. Tess is quite mature for her (thirty-nine) years, level headed and pleasantly assertive, but struggling to maintain her close relationship with Ginny.

Kooks for your Kindle?– I can’t really call everyone ‘characters’, they are more like real people. It’s always a pleasure to get lost in a book that feels like it’s a real world. Flavia has an interesting history, not just the WWII era- after which she left Sicily for good- but the following years as she settled in England. She’s a woman of secrets, who finally gains the courage to share them with her family. Ginny is having a crisis of her own; boys, life, friends, education, work, what’s a girl to do. Amazingly her long lost father, who abandoned her before she was born, turns out to be the one she relates to.

In Sicily, we have Giovanni, descended from the family that Flavia and Tess’s own fell out with. He’s a strong character who initially thinks he can control Tess- but what is it he wants exactly? Tonino is descended from another family connected to Flavia, he’s an artist doing magical things with sea glass while fighting some inner demons.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– I’ve spent some time in Calabria and Sicily, and I can say that this brings it all back. It’s another world with its own rules and traditions, and god forbid you should fall afoul of the local men-in-charge. The beauty of the island, the food and the sea are brought to life by this skilled author. As a scuba diver I also appreciate a little underwater action too.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s a gorgeous, atmospheric, engrossing read, with Sicily brought to life through food, people and history. The shady southern Italian ways seem pretty accurate, with men accustomed to getting their own way and families feuding with each other. It’s a long book, something to get your teeth into, with a likable heroine. The mother-daughter-granddaughter dynamic is at the forefront, with all its complexities. It’s a gentle book for all ages, possibly more for the 30+ market.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for 56p

US: Kobobooks for $4.99, Amazon for $9.99.

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