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The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill
Think of lemon trees dotting the landscape, enveloped by that most stunning of flowers, bougainvillea. Surround yourself in the spectacular setting of the wondrous Amalfi coast looking out over the Bay of Naples, with the historic sites of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius in the distance. With the bright and warm sunshine streaming down out of a cloudless sky, you can almost taste the sweetness of a chilled glass of Limoncello on your lips. Yes, the memories of my very first trip to Italy many years back were brought back to the surface as I dived into this charming read by Melissa Hill.
The Summer Villa is the story of three women who find themselves thrown together in an old stone house near Positano on the Amalfi coast, Villa Dolce Vita. Kim, Colette and Annie are all looking for something, all trying to get away from the reality of their lives for a short while. The villa is an old rambling house set in a magnificent location but it’s in need of a little love and affection. Used as a hostel for tourists, it has lost some of it’s former glory but yet still stands proudly overlooking the glorious vista of the Bay of Naples and the Tyrrhenian Sea. During the summer the three girls form an unlikely friendship, helping each other out with their respective problems and over the few weeks developing a very special bond.
As the years pass, each follows a very different path but they continue to stay in contact, with updates on what each is doing. Annie goes back to Ireland and Colette to the UK, but Kim makes a decision that will impact her life forever. She is looking for a new project, a showcase for her talents, so after much consideration she takes on Villa Dolce Vita, with a view to establishing an exclusive retreat, a place of serenity, a calm amidst the madness of life.
Now, with the Villa refurbished and ready for it’s grand re-opening, Kim invites Annie and Colette to join her, to celebrate with her. Kim is rightfully very proud of what she has achieved but her success came at a price, with many personal sacrifices made along the way.
This is a reunion that Kim has looked forward to for a long time, but after a short while of the girls getting back together, cracks begin to appear. There are secrets that have been kept and truths hidden that no longer can be ignored. The relationship between the three girls is tested, as each has to come to accept their new reality. All are looking for the same thing, all want happiness, all want a slice of ‘the sweet life’ but what price will they have to pay?
The Summer Villa is the ultimate summer read. Italy shines through the pages, with scintillating depictions of it’s landscape, food and people. Melissa Hill writes about smoldering romances, jealousy, greed, guilt, relationships and friendships, with the sparkling azure of the Mediterranean sea always in the background.
I thoroughly enjoyed the pure escapism of The Summer Villa. It really is a delightful read that just conjures up sun-filled days, while also reminding the reader of the importance of friendship.
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.