Book Review: “The Villa” by Rachel Hawkins

Book Summary

BFFs Emily and Chess decide to spend the summer in Italy at Villa Aestas, an upscale vacation retreat in modern day, but flashback to 1974 and it was where a murder among a group of friends happened.

In 1974, a Pierce, Mari and Lara – musician, author and aspiring musician, respectively – vacationed at Villa Rosato (present day Villa Aestas) with rebel rock star, Noel. The summer was meant to spark inspiration for the various artists, but a series of events and weird love triangles (or love squares?) snowballed into bigger issues that lead to Pierce being murdered.

In present day, Emily and Chess are both authors working on their latest books while at the villa. After going through hard times with her husband and health, Emily has had a bit of writers block. However, as she uncovers some of the history of what happened at the house, inspiration sparks and she thinks there may be more to what happened at the house in 1974 than was originally uncovered.

My Thoughts

I was given an e-book advanced reader copy of this book and was super excited about this one since I’ve enjoyed Rachel Hawkins’ The Wife Upstairs.

There was sex, drugs and rock and roll. Love it.

There was multiple timelines. Love it.

There were well-developed characters. Love it.

But, there was something about this story fell a bit flat for me. Without giving away spoilers it’s hard to describe exactly what made it fell flat, but at a high level it was an overall slow burn with an anti-climactic ending.

Most Memorable Moment

“Later she’ll look back on this moment and wonder why there was no warning, no sense of the horrors that would unfold in that house.”


  • Book: The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
  • Release date: January 2023
  • Genre: thriller, suspense
  • Stars: 3.5/5
  • Burn speed: medium
  • Steam level: 1.5/5
  • Suspense level: medium
  • Conclusion: it was ok

Pre-order your copy here.

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