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The Villa Paperback – 31 May 2012

1,513 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (31 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780875045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780875040
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,513 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,649 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.

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?

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Balderdash on 1 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a hard to book to rate and to review. There were factors that made me love it and factors that made me want to give up! The story itself was interesting and exciting enough to keep me hooked. That is despite the fact the story is pretty far-fetched. There was lots going on, and flipped from one timeline to another, and from one person's life story to another. A style that irks some, but I rather like. A couple of the storylines were particularly absorbing, and had me gripped.
Unfortunately, I struggled with the writing style. The repetitive use of '...' drove me crazy! I closed the book and went off to do something else at times, because of this. It ended sentences, began them, and randomly appeared in the middle of some! The author is also fond of using brackets in the middle of a sentence and then going into so much detail within them, that by the time you get to the closed bracket and read the second half of the sentence you have forgotten the first half. Half-finished sentences ending in ..., brackets with too much lengthy detail within, and incorrect comma usage, and lack thereof, makes this a very clumsily flowing book to read. I also hate the fact the teenage girl in it uses exclamations such as "Jumping jellyfish!", "Perishing pelicans!" and "Galloping guinea pigs!" Throughout the book this verges on becoming insufferable! Who says those sorts of things? Certainly not teenagers!
The book also contains a lot of descriptive detail about food, including full recipes with lovingly described methods. I'm not a foodie so this was annoying and boring, and meant having to skip large chunks of text. I wanted to read a novel, not a cook book!
In summary, it's an enjoyable and, at times, exciting story with several tales interwoven. However, it's far-fetched, unbelievable, full of unnecessary cooking recipes and confusingly bad punctuation.
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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Book Keeper on 21 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
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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