Thursday, April 13, 2023

Friday Focus: Bookish Memes to Start the Weekend




It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:

  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
  • First Line Friday hosted by Reading Is My SuperPower


Today I'm featuring my current read, The Villa by Rachel Hawkins. The excerpts shared are from a hardcover version borrowed from the library.




Book Beginning/First Line:  Somewhere around the time she started calling herself "Chess," I realized I might actually hate my best friend.


Page 56:  It feels a little like one of those nights now, the two of us alone in this quiet house. But instead of the sad little duplex with its peeling linoleum and secondhand furniture, we're in a villa, an Italian villa Chess was able to rent, because despite her kind of dysfunctional and sad childhood, she's done . . . this. All of this.


My thoughts:  The Villa is told in dual timelines, both of which revolve around a house in Italy. In the 1970's, it was the site of a sensational crime. This past history captures the imagination of one of its current summer residents, an author with a case of writer's block, who is sharing the villa with her childhood friend who is a more successful author. I'm one hundred pages in and the suspense is building, with relationship parallels between the two sisters from that fateful summer and the two best friends in the present. The sisters experienced some dark things--will the friends share a similar outcome? Having read other novels by Rachel Hawkins, I'm wondering what is in store for these two friends––and for readers.


From GoodReads:  From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set at an Italian villa with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls' trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.

Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.

As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.

Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.





This Friday Focus: Bookish Memes to Start the Weekend post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, It cannot be republished without attribution.



  1. I have really started wishing I was in a villa in France, Portugal or Italy. This book could help get me ready?!

  2. Sounds intriguing. That opening line definitely grabbed my attention.

  3. An Italian villa sounds like a great setting for a story.

  4. This is on my list!! Happy weekend!