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Leisurely Pace But A Pleasure to Read,
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This review is from: The Night Villa (Kindle Edition)
Two recurrent themes in Carol Goodman's books are women in academia and stories set in the present day but with echoes of past times. However, Night Villa does not have the supernatural overtones which are present in some of her other work. Although the themes are repetitive, the plots themselves are quite different and do not have a lot in common.
This particular tale involves an archaeological expedition which is investigating the Villa della Notte, which was covered in lava during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, and which buried the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Using new scientific techniques to read ancient damaged scrolls, the story of a young slave girl and an author of the period are gradually being unravelled and the main characters all eventually identify with and get caught up in the fate of these two people two thousand years earlier. Also involved in the mix is a shadowy, secret organisation who are seeking to recover an important historical document thought to be buried in the villa and Sophie, who is relating the story, finds it increasingly difficult to know who, amongst her colleagues, she is able to trust.
The story is told in the first person, current tense which is a particularly difficult way to write, and can easily end up sounding stilted and awkward. However, the author delivers this style so well that after a few pages it sounds quite natural and the reader does not even think about it.
Like all Carol Goodman's work, this is not, in the main, at all fast moving and proceeds at a rather leisurely pace. However, the writing and in particular the description of people and places is a pleasure to read. I am surprised she does not have more of a following in this country.