“The Summer Villa” by Melissa Hill is the perfect book to take to the pool or the beach… maybe even an Italian beach.
The three women – Kim, Colette and Annie – meet by chance at an old villa in Italy one summer all with their own emotional baggage. They become friends for the few weeks they’re in town together and attempt to remain close when they go back to their respective countries and lives. The book kind of reminded me of the Traveling Pants series. A few girls with not much in common strike up a friendship. No magic pants in this story, but plenty of broken hearts and bumbling through adulthood.
The novel has an interesting set up. The author not only flips back and forth between past and present, but also it’s also divided into three parts to tell the stories of Kim, Colette and Annie. I loved going back and forth in time and I thought the author did a great job of leaving off with one character and picking up with another in a different time just when things were getting good.
My one disappointment with the story was the pretty stereotypical characters: the spoiled and selfish American, the prim and proper British woman and the hardened Irishwoman with a drinking problem. Maybe Ms. Hill will revisit this story and give us an entire novel about Colette. I found her story to be the most well developed and interesting of the three.
Ms. Hill does a great job describing the Amalfi Coast of Italy and makes your stomach grumble with descriptions of classic Italian cuisine. And while it took a bit of time to set up three storylines and have them meet up again, it definitely picked up steam at the end. I thought it was a pity that all the really juicy bits happened in the last chapter or so, but rest assured it was worth the wait to see how it all played out.
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GBC Reader Reviews