The Island Villa
by Lily Graham
A story of two sisters, living in a time of fear and betrayal, and rumours of a stranger on the island. If you loved The Nightingaleby Kristin Hannah or The Island by Victoria Hislop, you’ll devour this dramatic book-club read set in a beautiful Spanish villa where the walls whisper with secrets.
When Charlotte’s husband James tragically dies, he leaves her an unexpected gift – her grandmother’s beautiful villa, Marisal, on the Spanish island of Formentera.
As she begins to explore her new home, and heal her broken heart in the warm golden sunshine, Charlotte discovers that her grandmother Alba has been keeping secrets about her life on the island. Intrigued by her family’s hidden history, Charlotte uncovers a devastating love affair that put many lives at risk and two sisters torn apart by loss.
Can the heartbreaking truth of the island’s dark history finally be laid to rest? Or will the secrets of the past shake the new life and love that Charlotte is close to finding?
I was kindly given an e-ARC of the book by NetGalley in return for an honest review.
As with some of the other books I was given by NetGalley, I have not had the pleasure of reading the author’s works. However it was quickly obvious that Lily Graham is thoroughly good at what she does.
The books starts with the aftermath of Charlotte’s husband’s death and how Charlotte and her daughter, Sage, are dealing with that loss. We can see that Sage might be able to be distracted by her college, and studies but Charlotte doesn’t have that luxury. However upon learning that her late husband James had purchased Marisal, her maternal grandmother’s villa, she decides to go and check the villa. A part of her had always longed to see the villa since she grew up hearing stories of it. Short and almost curt stories but they were stories that Charlotte loved with all her heart.
It is in Spain, on the island of Formentera, that she finds the much needed peace and quiet she needed to start dealing with her husband’s death. However she gets to know something shocking just as she’s starting to wonder if she should go home. It turns out there’s still some family on the island. Her maternal grandmother’s sister, it is through her, Charlotte comes to know about her family’s turbulent history.
The book actually tells us two stories, one that happened in the 1700s and the one happening in the present times. It’s full of vibrant and truly wonderful characters, their stories will draw you in.
The jumps between the 1700s and the present seem fluid and there is a lot going for this novel if you ask me. In the present, you can see a woman’s journey through grief of her husband’s death, her connecting with her long lost family and making new friends. Turning the new page, as it were. In the past, there are tales of two sisters, pirates, ‘Secret Jews’, forbidden love! All sorts of drama, really.
A thoroughly engrossing and atmospheric book, you can see the research the author put in. The imagery and the lovely writing from the author made it very easy to remain engaged. Overall, a perfect summer read or even a rainy day read if you wanna be reminded of summer or be transported away to sunny weather. I would recommend it to everyone who just wants something lovely to read.