The Villa by Rosanna Ley
ISBN 978 1 78087 505 0
RRP: UK £7.99
Copy courtesy of Quercus
Synopsis: When Tess Angel receives a solicitor’s letter inviting her to claim her inheritance – the Villa Sirena, perched on a cliff top 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.
My thoughts: I really liked this book. It focuses on three generations of women in one family. Flavia is Sicilian in origin and she has something in her past that she comes to the conclusions she needs to share with her daughter, Tess. Meanwhile her daughter is having an unfulfilling affair with a married man. In the meantime, she inherits a villa in Sicily: why , she is not sure. Then there is Tess’ daughter Ginny, who is going through her own difficulties including finishing college and coping with boys and best friends and their priorities.
I loved the way that Ley showed the female’s characterisations and how they dealt with their varying challenges. In particular I liked the way she described mother/ daughter relationships. The thread that had me particularly intrigued was Flavia’s story. It was engrossing, and there were some twists to the story that had me hooked, meaning that I found it hard to put down. There were the moody, dark Italian men in the book. There was even a dolled up woman in Cetaria, who reminded me of the character in the film version of ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. There are some recipes mentioned as well that the foodie in me really loved.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to any Italophile. I am looking forward to summer next year when her next book comes out, different setting, but I do believe it will also have me glued to the page. Rosanna not only writes books and articles. She also organises writing holidays which are held either in Italy or Spain, as well as offering mentoring services for writers.