Author Rosanna Ley has completed an MA in creative writing, she’s written articles and stories for national magazines, but The Villa is her first novel. She lives in the UK (West Dorset) and her writing vacations take place in Italy and Spain.
Tess, the main character in The Villa, lives in West Dorset with her daughter Ginny and unexpectedly inherits a villa in Sicily. It appears Rosanna stays on familiar ground when writing this book, and I believe that’s mainly what makes this story so easy to read. You feel like she knows more about the scenery she writes about than the characters.
It’s a light summer read, with elements of mystery, intrigue and romance, that reads like a sugar-sweet dream, too-superficial-to-be-true, but entertaining. The ‘mysterious grumpy guy / romantic introvert’ is intriguing, the alarm bells go off the moment the ’bad guy’ enters the story, and everything around them is semi-predictable yet fun. The side story that describes Ginny dealing with an anger that her mother knows nothing about, her insecurities around boys and relationships, and her desire to know who her father is – basically a coming-of-age story - has cute elements, like Ginny’s inner dialogues, but is ultimately uninteresting. You want the story to get back to Tess, the villa she inherits and the two men that want to help her but are keeping secrets from her at the same time. The end of the book is a little messy, slightly far-fetched but happy.
What I loved most about the book was the scenery of Sicily. The way Ley wrote about it, you really feel you’re there. The location around the inherited villa was described in a romantic, mysterious and care-free way.
A nice summer read that leaves you wanting to visit Sicily one day.