The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins is an absorbing and suspenseful gothic novel set in Italy.


Emily, the author of a long-running book series, feels like her life is in a rut. Not only has her husband left her, but she’s also suffering from writer’s block. When her lifelong best friend and self-help guru, Chess, invites her to Italy for the summer, Emily joins her, thinking it will be the reset she needs to write her next book.

The villa in Orvieto happens to be where a brutal murder occurred in 1974. Back then, a famous rockstar invited an aspiring musician and his muses to stay at the villa while they produced a new album. After the murder, some of their careers took off, with one of the guests penning a novel that became a classic feminist horror novel. Another, composed a platinum-selling album.

Emily becomes super invested in this tragedy and begins to think there’s more to the story than previously supposed. Meanwhile, tensions between Emily and Chess thicken.

Review of The Villa

This suspenseful drama has dual timelines and dual perspectives. I would not classify this as a thriller. There are several good twists and the pacing is consistent, if a tad on the slower side, which might not be for every reader but worked for this reader here.

It touches on grown men going after minors and the competitive streak that can sometimes surface between friends.

I enjoyed the author’s last book Reckless Girls, but I liked this one even more. The plot is a bit more complex, and the writing is engaging. Usually, I don’t enjoy rockstar themes, but as this took a different approach, it worked for me. And Emily’s POV became more interesting with every chapter. The tidbits on being a published author and the writing process were insightful.

So, I think it’s safe to say Rachel Hawkins is now one of my go-to authors. I can’t wait to see what else she has in store.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Expected Publication: 03 January 2022

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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