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The Villa [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Rosanna Ley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,020 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Sep 2012
Set against the rugged coast of Sicily, debut novelist Rosanna Ley creates a lush multi-generational story in The Villa; an epic journey of love lost, family secrets, the road to self-discovery and the meaning of home and family.
When Tess Angel receives a letter informing her she has inherited the Villa Sirena, perched on a clifftop in Sicily—she is stunned. Her only link to the small beautiful island is through her mother, Flavia, who left Sicily during World War II and has not spoken to her family, or of her life there, since.
Initially resistant to Tess traveling to her home country, Flavia begins to recount her youth, told in flashbacks as she writes in a journal to Tess of her journey to independence, as well as leaving her legacy of cherished family recipes and secrets. Secrets including a lost treasure rumored to be hidden in the very Villa Tess is staying at.
Told in alternating points-of-view between Tess, Flavia, and Tess’ teenage daughter Ginny, dealing with her blooming sexuality and filled with questions that she longs to ask her long-absent father.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Windsor; Large type edition edition (3 Sep 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1445828391
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445828398
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,020 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,187,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rosanna Ley works as a creative tutor and has written many articles and stories for national magazines. Her writing holidays and retreats take place in stunning locations in Spain and Italy. When she is not travelling, Rosanna lives in West Dorset by the sea.

Product Description


'Beautifully written, warm and romantic ... The perfect holiday read' Rachel Hore, author of A Gathering Storm.

'The Villa will stay with you long after you've devoured this tale of family feuds, secrets and passion, Sicilian-style ... Romantic, escapist and mouthwatering, it has everything you could wish for in a summer read. Delicious' Veronica Henry, author of The Beach Hut.

'A warm and passionate story that is as beguiling as the aromatic tastes and scents of Sicily itself ... Richly written, always engrossing. The perfect summer read' Kate Furnivall, author of The White Pearl.

'This story about three women of different ages makes a great summer holiday read!' Star magazine.

'Vividly written with a compelling storyline, this is top escapism' Closer.

'Rosanna Ley is a wonderfully talented writer who will appeal to fans of Cathy Kelly, Rachel Hore and Rosamunde Pilcher. I can't wait to read more from this author' Lisa books.

'A gorgeous, mouth-watering dream of a holiday read' Red Online.

'This summer read will keep you enthralled' Bella.

'It is rare to find a book that offers mystery, adventure, romance and self-help, but somehow Ley has managed it perfectly' Chick Lit Club. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

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?

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. 7 Aug 2012
By Jackie.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a while since I have bought a book that kept me reading until the early hours. But this one was it! I admit to having chosen it for it's title and the cover, ( I wanted something 'Sunny' to take me away from our drab weather, and a story about Sicily seemed just the thing.)
I can almost always finish a book and find some little thing that niggled me, but not this time. it was pure escapism without too much sex, too much overworked description and free recipies thrown in. It was just lovely. Well done Rosanna, I shall look forward to your next.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Read! 20 Jun 2012
I picked up this book at the airport and couldn't put it down! One of those books that captures you in from the start. Would highly recommend - I am now longing to visit Sicily :)
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93 of 99 people found the following review helpful
Tess has always known that asking questions about her mother Flavia's early life in Sicily is forbidden; but when she mysteriously inherits a villa in her mothers hometown her curiosity forces her to seek out answers. The Villa weaves together the lives and loves of three generation of women, Flavia, Tess and Tess's daughter Ginny. Exploring relationships across these intertwined lives creates a story accessible for readers of any age.

Tess realises her life has hit a rut, a dead end job and relationship with a married man are taking her nowhere fast. She decides she must go against her mother's wishes and visit Ceteria, Sicily and visit the villa she now owns. As she begins to explore the sun-bleached village and crystal blue sea, Tess quickly realises Sicily is as complex as it is beautiful. Every person she meets has a story and grudge to keep from her. Tess struggles to sift through all the complications and find out exactly why the mysterious Edward Westerman left her his villa.

The narrative jumps between Ginny in England, Tess in Sicily and Flavia reliving her escape from Sicily as a young woman, and all the secrets of her past. I found myself drawn to Flavia, her character felt very real and passionate, and whilst frustrating little detail is given away right up to the end, you just can't help appreciate her strength. In contrast I found Ginny's voice a little more jarring at the start. I wasn't sure if it was just an annoying teenage thing, but for the first section of the book she doesn't come across particularly likable. Although after a few crisis moments her character does appear to grow up and the narrative gets into its stride a little easier.

The book is very much a human story, brimming with emotion, and full of heart.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 21 Jun 2012
By Grahame
Great story, with some good characters and just the right amount of descriptive detail with a story that hooks you in from the first chapter.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Villa 31 July 2012
By Claire
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book; it's both delicate and substantial. The three main leads are vividly drawn and likeable and I felt I knew them well and understood the dynamics of their relationships with one another by the end of the book. I particularly liked the vividness of the setting; both the Sicily of Flavia's youth and that of Tess's now. I also liked how the male characters are drawn; they are physical and their stories matter very much too. Colour and flavour dominate and, after each of Flavia's chapters, I would find myself rootling in the cupboards for something tasty to eat! A really enjoyable read!
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend! 20 Jun 2012
By Lex
I have just finished reading The Villa, an extremely engaging, wonderful read! I would recommend it to those longing for a bit of escapism and mystery, I couldnt put it down...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 10 July 2012
I had this book given as a present and I can't think of a better way to spend 2 days with the rain pouring down outside! Some of the descriptions were lovely and the story was interesting. I wanted to know how the story would develop and end and what would happen to the characters.
If only someone would leave me a villa in Sicily, in the meantime I'll try some of the recipes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely escapist summer reading 3 Aug 2012
By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER
Sigh. Why is it that characters in books so often inherit gorgeous old houses abroad from complete strangers? That just never happens in real life, does it? Needless to say, though the plot of this book is admittedly a bit cliché in places, pick it up and you're guaranteed a great summer read. I mean, the gorgeous cover just screams `sunshine' and a girly romance, and happily, that's just what I got when I gave this a try.

In the novel we meet Tess, a single mum to 18-year-old Ginny, who unexpectedly inherits a Sicilian villa from a complete stranger, though a stranger apparently well-known to her mother Flavia. As the novel unfolds we learn about Flavia's past in Sicily during WWII, a forbidden romance, feuding Sicilian families and the secrets of a hidden treasure...

I found myself absorbed in this novel pretty quickly- the writing is very evocative with its great details of food, the Sicilian coastline and also the rugged Dorset coastline where we initially meet Tess. Character development for Tess and Flavia in particular, is well-done. As the book progresses, it lapses into a two story approach, with flashbacks to Flavia's past as we get to learn more about her life growing up in Sicily. I think that this was carried out successfully and it was well-balanced, with not too much given to either Tess or Flavia's story- equal attention was paid to both. I also found myself interested in the possible romance aspect for Tess in particular- with the apparent choice of two hunky men (one a bit of a pantomime villain!), I was intrigued to see who she would choose.

So, what didn't I like so much about this novel? Without giving away any spoilers, some characters did feel a bit `dropped in' at the last minute and weren't greatly developed.
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