The Villa

By Rachel Hawkins

The bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs returns with a brilliant new gothic suspense set at an Italian villa with a dark history.


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As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But now in their thirties, 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.

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

As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to suspect there’s 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 and 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.

When long-buried secrets come to light, Emily discovers that history has a way of repeating itself, and the villa may claim another victim before the summer ends.

Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle–the birthplace of Frankenstein–Rachel Hawkin’s The Villa invites you into its deadly legacy.

Additional information

Weight 16.7 oz
Dimensions 9.5 × 6.5 × 1.1 in